House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he was “unaware” the Obama-era FBI under then-Director James Comey was abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in seeking surveillance warrants against a member of the 2016 Trump campaign.
Schiff made the claim Sunday despite having seen the same documents his Republican colleagues had seen when they produced a memo in 2018 documenting evidence the FBI withheld evidence from the FISA Court that would have exonerated the Trump campaign official, Carter Page.
“Given what you know now … are you willing to admit that you were wrong in your defense of the FBI’s FISA process?” Schiff was asked on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I’m certainly willing to admit that the inspector general found serious abuses of FISA that I was unaware of,” Schiff responded. “Had I known of them…yes I would have called out the FBI at the same time.”
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI made 17 “significant errors or omissions” in applying to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page and additional errors in following internal guidelines.
In February 2018 memo, House Republicans led by then-Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) noted they had discovered evidence the FBI abused the FISA process in applying to spy on Page.
Afterward, Schiff released his own memo making claims that the recently-released DoJ inspector general report showed to be false.
“FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign,” Schiff wrote in his memo.
“I think it’s only fair to judge what we knew at the time, not what would be revealed two years later,” Schiff said on Sunday. “But yes, there were very serious abuses of the FISA process. They need to be corrected, we need to make sure they never happen again.”
Schiff and his GOP colleagues viewed the same documents regarding the FISA applications.
Republicans have charged that throughout the impeachment process, Schiff and House Democrats change facts and narratives to suit them.