Meadows Says Congress Could Block FISA Court Renewal over David Kris Appointment

Tobias Hoonhout

Representative Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) warned Monday that the FISA Court’s controversial appointment of Obama-DOJ lawyer and Carter Page critic David Kris as a special adviser to help oversee reforms to the FBI could result in Congress denying FISA reauthorization in March.

“I can tell you that a few of us, are not only appealing this to the Judge who has now taken over the FISA process, but we are also looking at this when it comes to renewing the FISA process within Congress,” Meadows told conservative commentator Sara Carter.

“There’s a renewal of a section of the FISA that is coming up,” Meadows added, saying he was in discussions with former representative and House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte — who previously requested a special counsel to investigate FISA abuses — over potential next steps.

“We’re now working very actively with the administration to make sure that no American — not just the President of the United States, not Carter Page, it’s not just a few people — but to ensure that no American’s civil liberties were actually infringed upon, and that’s what happened here,” Meadows said. “Not only did it happen, but it happened deliberately and until we fix it, all Americans are at risk.”

FISA reform has been on the GOP’s radar since the release of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report outlining “at least 17 significant errors” in the FBI’s efforts to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.

Following a hearing with Horowitz in December, Senate Republicans signaled they were willing to work on curtailing FISA abuses, with the office of FISA-critic Mike Lee (R., Utah) telling National Review to “look for new legislation with major reforms to be introduced and hopefully incorporated into the program before it expires in March.”

In his Monday interview, Meadows also slammed the appointment of Kris, saying “when you look at just his politics, there’s no way that he can fix the problem.”

Kris, a frequent contributor to the left-leaning Lawfare blog and a former assistant attorney general in the Obama DOJ’s national security division, has a long history of both defending the FBI’s efforts to surveil Page and criticizing Representative Devin Nunes’s attempts to expose abuses, before the release of Horowitz’s report validated many of Nunes’s concerns.

“When you look at his twitter feed, when you look at the comments he’s made — not only did he go after Devin Nunes, but he’s gone after the President, he’s a contributor for MSNBC at times,” Meadows said of Kris’s record.

“So when you look at just his politics there’s no way that he can fix the problem, if he doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a problem. And I say that, as the most recent IG report when Inspector General Horowitz came out and said ‘there was a problem,’ (Kris) down played it,” he added.

Nunes called Kris a “ridiculous” choice to lead the reform effort given his previous comments about the Russia probe and his defense of the Page warrant.

Kris is “a ridiculous choice. The FBI lied to the FISC, and to help make sure that doesn’t happen again, the FISC chose an FBI apologist who denied and defended those lies. The FISC is setting its own credibility on fire,” Nunes told Carter.

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