House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte is pushing the chief judge of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reveal more information behind investigations into the Trump campaign, documents obtained by CNN show.
The request, a rare demand to the surveillance court, mirrors issues spotlighted in the memo released last week by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, which alleged that the FBI abused its authority in its request to monitor a member of the Trump campaign.
Goodlatte’s letter, sent last month and provided Tuesday to CNN by his office, asks for any court records related to the application for surveillance of Carter Page, the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser whose ties to Russian officials have become a flashpoint in the ongoing debate over the special counsel probe into 2016 election meddling.
“I am shocked by media reports that the FBI may have relied upon an unsubstantiated ‘dossier’ which makes ‘salacious and unverified’ claims against President Trump,” Goodlatte wrote in his January 16 letter to Judge Rosemary Collyer.
“As the Presiding Judge of the FISC, you must be similarly concerned that the Executive Branch allegedly used an unverified dossier as evidence showing probable cause that someone connected with the Trump campaign, Carter Page, was an agent of a foreign power,” Goodlatte wrote.
Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, also wrote that he has “serious questions” about whether any other surveillance requests against Trump campaign officials were made before the court based on allegations in the dossier.
The FISA court’s rules authorize it to share its classified records with members of Congress, but under the government’s separation of powers, the court would not be required to produce any documents.
Goodlatte sent a similar request for documents last Thursday to the heads of the Justice Department and FBI, at the same time as the Nunes memo was being reviewed for a public release by the White House.
President Donald Trump later said that the Nunes memo “totally vindicates” him in the ongoing special counsel investigation, though prominent lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who was a proponent of its release, have sought to distinguish between the memo and Robert Mueller’s probe. A Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo is currently being scrutinized by the White House before a potential public release.
Details of the Goodlatte letter, which had not been disclosed until Tuesday, were first referenced in a separate letter sent to the heads of the DOJ and FBI by New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member.
In his letter, Nadler wrote that Goodlatte did not consult with the minority before sending the letter to the FISC presiding judge. “Had we been consulted,” Nadler wrote, “I would have advised the chairman that the committee does not ordinarily demand information from the judicial branch in this manner.”