In early 2018, a pair of competing memos were released about alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the FBI in 2016. The memos were issued by the two top members of the House Intelligence Committee, then-Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and then-ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA), with Nunes calling out the abuse, and Schiff defending the FBI — and now, we finally know who was in the right.
Just a week ago, Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz released his report on the alleged FISA abuses, and he made it clear that Schiff was sadly mistaken: the IG revealed the FBI made at least 17 “significant” errors in their warrant applications to spy on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team, according to the Washington Examiner. As such, Nunes took the opportunity on Sunday to send a humiliating letter to his successor as Intelligence panel chairman — even suggesting that Schiff may be “in need of rehabilitation,” Fox News reported.
In his letter to Schiff, Nunes didn’t hold back in calling out his fellow California lawmaker for the clear inaccuracies in his 2018 memo.
“After publishing false conclusions of such enormity on a topic directly within this committee’s oversight responsibilities, it is clear you are in need of rehabilitation, and I hope this letter will serve as the first step in that vital process,” Nunes wrote to Schiff.
He went on to point out that notating all of Schiff’s inaccuracies would require an “extremely long letter,” so he listed off just seven of the most egregious “false claims” as highlights.
According to The Washington Times, those highlights included Schiff’s assertions that the FBI had not omitted key information from their FISA warrant applications, that only “narrow use” had been made of the debunked Christopher Steele dossier in such proceedings, and that the warrant was ultimately used by the FBI to obtain “valuable intelligence.”
“The IG report has exposed all these declarations as false,” Nunes said.
The Republican said Schiff was also wrong in his claim that the Justice Department had “repeatedly informed the [FISA] Court about Steele’s background, credibility, and potential bias” and his assertion that Steele’s reporting had been used in previous criminal proceedings, among other things.
Schiff has been willing to admit that the IG uncovered misconduct by the FBI in what Nunes called “a valuable first step — a baby step, but a step nonetheless — in [his] rehabilitation.”
But according to Nunes, the now-Intel chairman is still “dramatically downplaying” the scale of FISA abuse and remains highly critical of Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who are conducting a broader probe into the origins of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
“This makes it clear your rehabilitation will be a long, arduous process,” Nunes wrote to Schiff, according to the Examiner‘s Byron York. “As part of your rehabilitation, it’s crucial that you admit you have a problem — you are highjacking the Intelligence Committee for political purposes while excusing and covering up intelligence agency abuses.
“I understand taking action on this issue will be difficult for you, as it will be an implicit acknowledgment that you were wrong to deny these abuses and that you were complicit in the violation of an American’s civil liberties,” Nunes concluded. But, he told Schiff, “I refuse to believe you are beyond redemption.”