Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told FOX News' Bret Baier the most important pieces of information in his newly released FISA abuse memo.
"Just step back for a moment," Nunes explained. "This is not trying to go after some terrorist. This is about -- they opened, the FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. That's what happened."
He continued: "And then they got a warrant on someone in the Trump campaign using opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. That's what this is about. And it's wrong and it should never be done."
"They wouldn’t have received a [FISA] warrant without the dossier," Nunes repeated. "The dossier was presented to the [FISA] court as if it was true. The court was not told that the Democrats have actually paid for this."
BAIER: The FBI, DOJ, other intel agencies all say there are material omissions in this memo. What did you leave out? Is there -- is there justification for the FBI behavior you detailed in this memo that we have yet to learn?
NUNES: Yes. So, we looked specifically at just FISA abuse. We wanted to keep sources and methods out. If you remember, 10 days ago, we were accused of a lot of things, especially that we were going to disclose our nation's top secrets. I think everybody has learned, that was a total fallacy that was put out by the left and the mainstream media. We didn’t disclose any secrets.
Part of that is we had to take all of this information and reduce it down into a summary with just the pertinent facts about the FISA abuse. The only area that I am familiar with that we left out would be the history of Carter Page. I explained why we left this out to the director of the FBI. The director of the FBI is well aware of my concerns about Mr. Page.
And I don't believe that somebody like Mr. Page should be a target of the FBI, especially using salacious information paid for by a political campaign like this dossier was about Mr. Page and then supplemented by a news story that was -- that was actually created by Christopher Steele himself the author of the dossier. This is -- this is outrageous that this happened.
BAIER: Will you vote to release the Democrats memo?
NUNES: Yes, we will.
BAIER: When is that going to happen?
NUNES: But it has to go through -- it has to go through the same process. So --
BAIER: When do you think it will be released?
NUNES: Hard to say. I don't know yet. We haven’t even -- I have -- I have only read through it once. We will have to go through and scrub it again.
And let's not forget. These are the same Democrats who never wanted to start an investigation. These are the same Democrats who blocked our subpoenas or tried to block our subpoenas back in August. They tried to block our ability to go and get the records from Fusion GPS that led to a lot of discoveries in this investigation.
So, these are not honest actors. They know they are not being honest. And, you know, I get tired of playing whack-a-mole every day with the Democrats on this committee who never wanted to start this investigation in the first place.
BAIER: Democrats are criticizing a lot, as you can imagine. I’m sure you’ve heard. But they’re jumping on one particular part of the memo in particular. Number four, the memo states that then-deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, quote, testified before the committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISA court without the Steele dossier information? Democrats say he never said that, did he?
NUNES: Yes. I mean, it’s a summation of a long interview. And that is definitely what he said. Not to mention, we have other witnesses who said very similar things. So, the fact of the matter is, the main things that were used to go out and get this warrant was the dossier and the story that corroborated the dossier.
BAIER: So, why not put McCabe's quote in there or release the transcript?
NUNES: Well, that would be the whole process that we’d have to go through. Actually, the quotes I think are pretty damning themselves. So, I wouldn’t mind doing that but we would have to go through a whole process to release transcripts.
BAIER: So, you were getting to the point about how much of the FISA applications relied on the Steele dossier. What was it, the characteristic? You said they were integral? Or it was integral?
NUNES: Yes, they wouldn’t have received a warrant without the dossier. The dossier was presented to the court as it was -- as if it was true. The court was not told that the Democrats have actually paid for this.
And just step back for a moment. This is not trying to go after some terrorist. This is about -- they opened, the FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. That's what happened.
And then they got a warrant on someone in the Trump campaign using opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. That's what this is about. And it's wrong and it should never be done.
BAIER: Is it true that the FBI led the FISA application with the dossier?
NUNES: Yes, most of the -- the largest percentage of the entire application has to do with the dossier and then using the news story to corroborate the dossier.