Two House Republican chairmen are calling on the Trump Justice Department to fully unredact the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications the FBI used to get surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told Fox News on Sunday that he has seen the unredacted applications, and that the American people should see them, too.
“It is critically important that the American people have the opportunity to see most of the rest of those documents,” he said.
He said sources and methods used in investigations should be protected, but that most of the information “should easily be seen by the American people.”
“They can judge for themselves, but I will tell you it does not support the issuance of a warrant against Mr. Page,” he said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) tweeted Monday: “btw time to eliminate rest of redactions!!!”
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) July 23, 2018
The Justice Department on Saturday released the applications that were used by the FBI and the DOJ to submit to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get four consecutive surveillance warrants on Page.
The applications — which were heavily redacted — show that the FBI indeed used the unverified dossier to support its surveillance applications, and obscured from the FISA court who paid for the dossier or ordered its research, as House Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Republicans have alleged.
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had, through their law firm Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS, who hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele, to produce opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
Yet some Democrats and others critical of the president are arguing that the redacted portions of the released applications show that there was other information – besides the dossier, news reports, and Page’s previous background – that warranted surveillance.
But Goodlatte characterized the redactions as part of the FBI’s unwillingness to be fully transparent on how it has handled the investigation into the Trump campaign.
The FBI has argued that sharing more information would jeopardize the ongoing special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.
Goodlatte dismissed that argument:
The FBI has objected to our looking into this matter b/c they claim it’s part of an ongoing investigation and we have said all along we are not interested in looking at the substance of anything that Mr. Mueller does find in his investigation, we don’t want to interfere with that, but we do want to see how this investigation was launched, and how it contrasts with the shocking way that they handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“The Congress has subpoena power and has issued subpoenas with regard to both documents and witnesses is entitled to have answers to our questions, and I think this is a major boost to that effort,” he added.
This story has been updated.