House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told Republican colleagues in two closed-door meetings this week he has seen evidence that shows clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to three sources familiar with the conversations, raising more questions about whether the controversial anti-Trump dossier was used by the Obama administration to authorize surveillance of advisers to President Trump.
The California Republican made his comments in private meetings with GOP colleagues as he tried to round up votes in favor of renewing a key section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as Section 702, which eventually passed in the House on Thursday.
That part of the law specifically gives the U.S. government the power to get access to communications, such as emails or phone calls, of foreigners outside the United States who may be plotting a terrorist attack but does not allow the government to target Americans.
Before the vote, Nunes told GOP lawmakers they could trust him that he has not seen abuse of that section of the law dealing with foreigners, but that other sections of the law have in fact been misused by government officials to conduct surveillance of Americans. Nunes vowed that he plans to address his concerns by trying to share the evidence with the entire House later this month, after the debate over Section 702 is complete, according to the three sources familiar with the conversations.
Nunes said he would “read all 435 members of Congress into major abuses with other areas of FISA and will read members in ASAP” on those problems, according to one of the three sources familiar with the conversations.
House investigators will get access this week to “all remaining investigative documents” – in unredacted form – that they had sought as part of their Russia inquiry, under a deal between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
The letter, from Nunes to Rosenstein, summarizes an “agreement” reached on a phone call Wednesday evening and also says key FBI and Justice Department witnesses in the probe will be provided for interviews later this month.
“It is my hope that this agreement will provide the Committee with all outstanding documents and witnesses necessary to complete its investigations,” Nunes wrote.
The agreement comes after the DOJ and FBI faced a Wednesday deadline to comply, under the threat of new subpoenas and even contempt citations. Under deadline pressure, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Rosenstein met Wednesday with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to discuss the demands from the intelligence committee.
Nunes’ letter outlines the terms of the deal reached, as he seeks information that could shed light on whether the controversial anti-Trump “dossier” was used to open the Russia probe and justify surveillance on Trump campaign officials.
Nunes wrote that the committee is “extremely concerned by indications that top U.S. Government officials who were investigating a presidential campaign relied on unverified information that was funded by the opposing political campaign and was based on Russian sources.”