Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told CNN Tuesday he believed there were “sound reasons” for judges to approve the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, in yet another break between the Republican leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
“I don’t think I ever expressed that I thought the FISA application came up short,” Burr said when asked about House Republican memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses of the FISA process. “There (were) sound reasons as to why judges issued the FISA.”
Burr’s comments once again put him at odds with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who spearheaded the memo on FISA abuses.
Burr and Nunes have been on opposite sides of a number of key issues related to the Justice Department and intelligence community’s handling of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
While Nunes’ committee disputed the “tradecraft” behind the US intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment that found Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump win, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report earlier this month that agreed with the intelligence community’s conclusions and took no issue with its tradecraft.
Burr steered clear of the original controversy over the Nunes memo earlier this year, and the effort from House Republicans to make public the classified material contained in the FISA warrant application on Page. Things got so tense between the panels that Burr’s staff was denied access to the memo by the House Intelligence Committee before it was released.
Nunes used an obscure committee rule that allowed the classified memo on the FISA warrant application to be made public, which kicked off the chain of events that prompted Saturday’s release of the redacted FISA application following Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
Now Nunes wants the rest of the October 2016 FISA application and three subsequent renewals to be made public.
But Burr told CNN he has concerns that the document was released in any form.
“I cease to be amazed by how much stuff we release publicly now,” Burr said.