In a Monday interview with Rep. Adam Schiff, MSNBC 'All In' host Chris Hayes tries to unravel conflicting partisan claims about the FISA warrant which enabled spying on 2016 Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page (and everyone Page contacted).
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: HAYES: Joining me now, the top Democrat in the House Intelligence
Committee, Representative Adam Schiff of California. I'm not sure where to
start mu start. Maybe we'll start with this that the chair of your
Committee Devin Nunes despite the fact that I think independent folks who
have read through this who have followed this story say this sort of knocks
down a lot of his series. He released this statement, the newly released
documents confirm the Intelligence Committees long-standing argument than
unverified information from the Steele Dossier formed an essential part of
all the FISA application to Carter Page. It proves the FBI used outright
political propaganda to spy an American citizen during the election. What
do you say to that?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, there were
certain fundamental claims that Nunes made in the now discredited memo
which we can see in the FISA application were simply not true. They
claimed first of all that the investigation began with this FISA warrant.
It all goes back to the taint of this FISA when of course the investigation
began with Papadopoulos, began with the FBI learning that the Russians had
approached one of the campaign foreign policy advisers and told them that
they had the stolen e-mails, that they prepared to release them anonymously
as they would later do.
But they also went on to challenge whether the FBI revealed to the court
that Christopher's Steele disrespected British intelligence officer, former
officer, whether his bias had been disclosed to the court that he had been
doing this work on behalf of the law firm retained by the DNC. They
claimed that there was no disclosure to the court when in fact now you can
read the application and you can see they did disclose this bias. So point
after point, basically the Nunez memo has been discredited but that doesn't
stop either Nunes or the President from saying otherwise.
HAYES: I want to just hammer on that point because it's been such a key
part of this sort of counter-narrative The idea is that this
sort of deep state conspiracy gets the dossier goes to the court and
doesn't tell them the origin at all. It's a -- it's a hustle, it's a con.
If they have this political oppo document, they go to the judge and say
well, we just found this you should really surveil this guy. Here is what
the FISA shows from Charlie Savages' New York Times piece. The application
contains a page length explanation that does alert the court that the
person who commissioned Mr. Steele's research was -- and I quote here --
likely looking for information to discredit Mr. Trump's campaign. That was
like the whole thing. That was hours of television programming.
SCHIFF: Well, you're absolutely right. And you know, of course, they
embellish it by saying there's no mention of Clinton, there's no mention of
the DNC. Well, that's because in FISA applications you minimize the names
of U.S. persons and organizations so as it appears in the FISA application
its candidate one and candidate two but there's no disguising the fact that
court was informed of court of the political bias and you know judge after
judge, four judges appointed by three Republican presidents, all four have
found probable cause for the original warrant and the extensions and that's
-- that speaks to the support of the evidence supporting those
HAYES: There's this weird through the looking-glass arguments about
disclosure through all this in which you have House Intelligence Committee
members from the Republican side sort of kind of you know collaborating
with the White House to push for certain kinds of disclosure. They want
access to certain documents. They want to see stuff at DOJ. There's a
concern from DOJ and I think from House Democrats that will compromise the
investigation. In this case, my understanding is that you were opposed to
release of this document but I have to say as a reporter or someone who's
followed FISA for a long time, it seems to be a good thing Americans have
access to this document and sunshine is a good disinfectant.
SCHIFF: Well, look, you know, at this point, after you had the Nunes memo
essentially cherry-pick information, mislead the public and we had to issue
our corrective a memo, then there's little additional damage that's done in
issuing a redacted version of the FISA. But we should have never gone down
this road, to begin with. It was all a bogus trumped-up effort to validate
something Donald Trump said in a tweet, that is I was illegally surveilled
by the Obama Administration at Trump Tower. Now that is nonsense and has
been declared to be nonsense by both the former director of the CIA as well
as the Director of National Intelligence, Director of NSA, but nonetheless,
this effort by Nunes and Gowdy and others has been an attempt to try to
somehow justify that blatantly false statement by the President.
HAYES: Your colleague Jerry Nadler was straightforward today, he's said
Devin Nunes lied. Is Jerry Nadler correct? Did Devin Nunes lie?
SCHIFF: Well, yes. I mean, this is a false -- patently false, provably
false statement but not just by Nunes. Others signed off on it too like
Trey Gowdy and indeed the entire majority signed off on that Nunes
memoranda. Now, Nunes hadn't read the FISA so he signed off on it blindly,
but Trey Gowdy had read it. Trey Gowdy knew it was false these arguments
they were making but nonetheless pushed forward. Now he sounds a bit
different now that he wants to be a judge but that's no forgiving those
misrepresentations and the denigration of the Justice Department, of the
Intelligence Community all in this misguided effort to defend the President
whatever the cost may be.