House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has considered reaching out to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts because Roberts appoints judges to a covert surveillance court that Nunes believes was misinformed by the FBI to obtain a warrant to spy on a member of the Trump campaign.
“This is something that we have, like I said, we have thought a lot about this,” Nunes told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. “And the answer is we don’t know the correct way to proceed because of the separation of powers issue.”
“I’m not aware of any time where a judge has, for lack of a better term, testified before the Congress,” he added.
Nunes was involved with composing a memo that was released last week which outlines alleged surveillance violations by the U.S. government.
Nunes and other Republicans have asserted that the FBI used information from the unverified “Trump dossier” written by former British spy Christopher Steele to obtain a warrant from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to put Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide, under surveillance.
The dossier was part of opposition research partly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. But according to the Republican memo, the FBI and Justice Department did not disclose that information when attempting to renew the warrant.
Nunes has admitted there was a "footnote" in the application that did acknowledge the political ties to the dossier, but a criminal referral related to Steele that was released this week says the "application failed to disclose that the identities of Mr. Simpson's ultimate clients were the Clinton campaign and the DNC." That is a reference to Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS co-founder whose opposition research firm hired Steele.
Nunes told Hewitt the “next step” would be to send a letter to court, however, he and his staff have not decided whether they will contact the Supreme Court or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for testimony on the issue.
“If, somehow, this case ends up at the Supreme Court, somehow, some way, by sending a letter to Roberts, do you conflict the court?” Nunes said.
Hewitt responded, saying he believes inviting Roberts to sit down to talk behind closed doors would be fine, but compelling him to testify would take the matter too far.
Democrats have complained that the so-called "Nunes memo" is leading to a "false narrative" without the proper context and is an attempt by Republicans to undermine the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller's probe to determine if the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
House Intel Democrats have composed their own rebuttal memo to the GOP memo. The House Intelligence Committee voted in favor of releasing the Democratic memo on Monday. It is now up to Trump to decide what will be released and if any redactions will be made.