California Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat on Intelligence Committee, joins CBS's 'Face The Nation' to talk about his memo rebutting the memo released by his Republican counterpart Devin Nunes alleging abuse of the FISA surveillance authorities during the 2016 election. Schiff says that based on everything he has seen, the FBI did not abuse the FISA courts to surveil members of the Trump campaign.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning.
GARRETT: The president, as you well know and as the nation has learned, declined to release the memo that you and the staff of the House Intelligence Committee on the Democratic side drafted.
The president tweeted about this, as I'm sure you are also well aware, yesterday.
Let me read that for the audience: "The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods and more, would have to be heavily redacted, where upon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to redo and send back in proper form."
Congressman, was the memo improperly drafted and in bad form?
SCHIFF: No, of course not.
And the hypocrisy of this just kind of reaches out and grabs you by the throat. Here, the Republicans write a memo which the FBI quite accurately describes as misleading and omitting material facts. The Department of Justice says it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this.
And what does the president do? He says, I'm going to release it. Before I even read it, 100 percent, I'm going to release it.
This is a president who puts his own personal interests above the national security interests of the country. Now, they claimed when they released the Republican memo that this was in the interest of full transparency, and all the White House people were saying full transparency.
Well, apparently, full transparency only goes so far.
GARRETT: Are there sources and methods problems with the memo you submitted?
SCHIFF: We're going to sit down with the FBI and go through any concerns that they have. And any legitimate concerns over sources and methods, we will redact.
GARRETT: Did you do that before you submitted the memo, Congressman?
SCHIFF: Yes, we did. Yes, we did.
Unlike the Republicans, we gave the FBI and the Department of Justice our memo even before we took it up into committee, and invited their feedback as to any concerns over sources and methods.
But what is really going on here, Major, is the president doesn't want the public to see the underlying facts. What is revealed in our memo are quotations from the very FISA application that really demonstrate just how misleading the Republicans have been.
Their goal here to put the FBI on trial, to put Bob Mueller's investigation on trial. And the president is only too happy to accommodate.
But the president doesn't want to you see these facts from the FISA application, because it completely undermines his claim of vindication. And the...
SCHIFF: Yes, Major.
GARRETT: Congressman, let me ask you, because I think it's a very important threshold question outside of the very intense partisan atmosphere.
You mentioned FISA twice, for our audience, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. These are specialized warrants, secret surveillance. Is it your representation to the nation, sir, that everything that the FBI did in the process of obtaining that surveillance warrant on Carter Page absolutely followed proper protocol, every evidentiary standard was met, and there was nothing askew about that warrant ever?
SCHIFF: Major, there is nothing askew about that warrant that I can see
And if the Republicans were concerned about this, because everything that I have seen, the FBI acted completely appropriately, they would have invited the FBI before our committee, as I urged them to do, and asked them questions, why didn't you specifically identify this?
And the FBI could have said, because we mask identities, as you would want us to mask identities.
Well, why didn't you reveal the political bias? And they could say, we did reveal the political bias, and here is where we revealed it.
They didn't want to do that because they wanted to put out a very misleading memo.
Now, it's very important to look at what the FBI said about our rebuttal and what they didn't say. What they have said is that certain information in it is classified, and of course that's true.
The facts, all of the facts in the FISA application are classified. But the FBI never said that anything in our rebuttal was inaccurate. And that's also important, because our memo does lay out the accurate facts, which we think the public should see.
Now, we will redact it to make sure that we're very protective of sources and methods, but we think the public should see this, because,as the chairman has said, this is only the first phase.
And to be fully accurate, Major, one last point. This is not the first phase. This is the second phase. The first phase began with that midnight run the chairman made to the White House, where he misrepresented where he received information that he had in fact gotten from the White House.
And, here, we see once again the chairman refusing to answer whether this whole memo was cooked up in concert with the White House. And that's really the problem we're dealing with.