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by Sharon Rondeau

Rep. Devin Nunes is chairman of the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence, which has been investigating alleged abuse of power within the DOJ and FBI

(Jul. 7, 2018) — On Saturday night, Judge Jeanine Pirro hosted House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes in lieu of the customary “open” of her weekly show.

Nunes has been a key figure in attempting to obtain documents the Justice Department and its subsidiary, the FBI, have been unwilling to turn over in connection with several congressional committees’ investigations.  At least three committees are examining possible abuse of the FISA law, when the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the 2016 Trump campaign began, and who among government operatives — and others — might have been involved.

Pirro began by asking Nunes about three letters he wrote containing the names of “up to 42” individuals he would like to see questioned in the ongoing Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation.  Two of the letters went to the House Judiciary Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, respectively.

Pirro said that “some of” the 42 are from the Obama administration.

On Saturday The Washington Times reported that Nunes’s “first letter contained 17 former and current FBI and Justice officials,” including the now-infamous FBI Assistant Deputy Director Peter Strzok and former FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page.

Last week Strzok, a prominent figure in the Clinton email server and Trump-Russia “collusion” probes, was deposed behind closed doors for approximately 11 hours by members of Congress.  After Strzok’s attorney said his client might not appear to testify publicly despite a subpoena for Tuesday, July 10, Fox News reported Saturday morning that Strzok agreed to appear publicly on July 12.

According to The Times, Nunes’s second letter names ten State Department employees or former employees.  Nunes has previously said that his subcommittee has been scrutinizing the Department’s possible role in the launch of the FBI’s Trump-campaign investigation.

The third letter identifies non-governmental figures such as FusionGPS founder Glenn Simpson; longtime Clinton confidant, Sidney Blumenthal; and former 2016 Clinton campaign chairman, Robby Mook, according to The Times.

FusionGPS was paid to commission former British spy Christopher Steele to assemble the Trump-Russia “dossier” in 2016.  The compilation document was submitted as evidence to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in October that year when the FBI and DOJ first sought a warrant for the communications of then-volunteer Trump foreign-policy adviser, Dr. Carter Page.

The Clinton campaign and DNC provided funds to the mega-law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn paid FusionGPS for commissioning the dossier through Steele.  A British citizen, Steele has been reported to have remarked that he was “desperate” to prevent Trump from winning the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In 2011, Perkins Coie was involved in allegedly procuring from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) the purported “long-form” birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011 and found to be fraudulent by a 5+-year criminal investigation.

The surveillance request on Page was granted and renewed three successive times, allowing the collection of his communications through June of last year.  He has not been charged with a crime and has filed two lawsuits against members of the media, alleging defamation.

Nunes, along with many others in Congress, has expressed concern that the FISC was not informed that the dossier was a politically-funded document.  He has also said that after viewing the “Electronic Communication” (EC) allegedly used to launch the FBI’s Trump counterintelligence probe, he saw no “official intelligence” justifying the decision.

Democrats have largely supported the continuation of the FBI’s Russia probe and threatened to draft legislation to “protect” Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, who has assembled a team of majority Democrat prosecutors who Trump claims have undisclosed “conflicts of interest.”

“How did this dossier get from the Clinton campaign and Steele to the FBI?” Pirro asked Nunes at one point, to which he responded, “We think it could have come from many directions.  So we know that one of Senator John McCain’s staffers did it; we think that many people in the press had this and actually also gave it to the FBI.  At the time Christopher Steele was supposedly working with the FBI, so there’s lots of ways that it made it through.  What we’re really asking for, though, is for these 42 people to be interviewed in public…”

Nunes opined that congressional interviewers might opt to hold the hearings in private, although he would like to see it “done in public.”

A former New York state prosecutor, Pirro expressed frustration that enough detail is not provided from closed-door depositions.  She also asked Nunes if members of Congress “feel impotent” given that a number of DOJ/FBI “deadlines” to produce subpoenaed documents have come and gone without consequences.

“It’s Congress that’s helped uncover the dossier, the dirt, who paid for it,” Nunes responded in part.  “The FBI and DOJ didn’t want the American public to know any of this.” He said that the House could still hold agency officials withholding documents “in contempt,” an option which has been floated for months.

Nunes called upon Trump to “declassify” the documents his committee and others have not yet received from the DOJ and the FBI.  At the same time, he called the “FISA” “fraudulent.”

Video of the show is here (starts at 1:12):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnkl8jZZNms





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