HOUSE INTEL CHAIRMAN CLAIMS DEMS “COLLUDING DIRECTLY WITH RUSSIANS”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 18, 2018) — On this week’s “Sunday Morning Futures” (10:00 a.m. Fox News Channel), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA22) told host Maria Bartiromo that although Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which he will chair until early January when political leadership changes, have completed their investigation of alleged Russia “collusion” on the part of the Trump campaign, they continue to seek declassification of “four buckets” of information gathered from their nearly-two-year probe.
“The president has called for three of those four to be declassified,” Nunes told Bartiromo.
The committee investigated the conduct of the FBI and its parent agency, the U.S. Justice Department, in the FBI’s opening of a counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign for alleged “collusion” with the Kremlin. Nunes has previously said that no actual “intelligence” exists to form the basis of such a probe and closed the committee’s probe in March.
As he has previously, Nunes insisted that the Intelligence Committee found “no evidence” that anyone in the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian operatives to win the 2016 election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
During a review of FBI and DOJ actions in the run-up to the 2016 election, the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered politically-charged text messages between two highly-placed FBI individuals as well as other evidence of politically-tainted activity. Inspector Gen. Michael Horowitz ultimately referred those two individuals, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, plus a number of others, to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for review of their conduct.
Last August, Strzok was fired from his position as FBI Deputy Counterintelligence chief, which followed Page’s resignation in May. Other high-ranking FBI figures such as Chief Counsel James Baker; his boss, former FBI Director James Comey; and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe are no longer at the agency as a result of either resignation or having been fired.
“This begs an investigation by the Department of Justice,” Nunes told Bartiromo, “so either the Department of Justice, under new leadership, can actually go in and investigate these cast of dirty cops [sic]…and their connections to the Russians and their connections to the Clinton campaign — either it’s a Special Counsel or the DOJ has to do that — that’s the way that this is going to be solved.”
On behalf of the committee, he took credit for having “unearthed all of this information. The American people now know that the Trump campaign was unmasking American citizens; they know that many of the Trump campaign people were targeted; they know that they used a dossier that was paid for by the Clinton campaign to go after and use it in a FISA warrant against the campaign. So we’re really proud of what we’ve done. We want the American people to see these four buckets of information that need to be declassified, and if the president would do that, I think it would give some finality to our investigation.”
It is likely that Nunes misspoke when he said, “The American people now know that the Trump campaign was unmasking American citizens…”
“FISA” refers to the law which allows the FBI or DOJ to apply for a surveillance warrant on a suspected terrorist or other bad actor and which can, inadvertently, capture the conversations of U.S. citizens. However, in this case Nunes was invoking the four warrant applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to collect the communications of Dr. Carter Page, a volunteer, short-term Trump campaign advisor who had conducted business in Russia.
The court granted the warrants without having been informed that the bulk of the evidence the DOJ and FBI submitted as justification consisted of a “dossier” compiled at the request of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The fourth warrant application was signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Nunes revealed that the first “three buckets” of information was approximately 20 pages of information Trump said he would declassify in September but which Rosenstein reportedly convinced him to reconsider. Three days after Trump ordered them declassied, he tweeted that he changed his mind and decided to have Horowitz’s office review them first.
Bartiromo asked for clarification on the “new information” she said Nunes divulged. Nunes confirmed that the first three groups consist of information given to Horowitz. “But that’s not a workable solution,” he said of that decision. “We have let the White House know that…”
After Bartiromo asked what the “fourth bucket” consisted of, Nunes responded, “…we have been reviewing emails between FBI and DOJ and others that clearly show that they knew about information that should have been presented to the FISA court. It is real evidence that people within the FBI withheld evidence from the FISA court.”
He then said that “even though we know what’s in those emails, they’re still redacted” because the DOJ allegedly refuses to turn over the originals. Nunes has long said, without expounding, that “exculpatory information” was not provided to the FISC along with the Clinton-commissioned Russia “dossier” so the court could make an informed decision.
After Bartiromo played a recording of Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI1) from last week in which Cicilline said there was “no evidence of any abuse whatsoever” regarding the FISA court, Nunes responded, “They’ve been in denial for a long time; their party was colluding directly with Russians; their entire party and the Clinton campaign should be investigated, because if you’re going to open up a secret investigation on the Trump campaign when you have no evidence into them colluding with Russians, when you — in fact, the FBI used the evidence that the Clinton campaign paid for – it was coming directly from Russians -…”
A press release dated November 16, 2018 appearing on Cicilline’s website states that he and a number of other House Democrats introduced legislation to “curb government corruption” and specifically, “the Trump Administration’s culture of corruption.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.