“It depends on the circumstances,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified Thursday when asked if he reads every FISA application he signs authoring the government to spy on its citizens.
Rosenstein testified in a House hearing on potential abuses by the Justice Department (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding its investigation of President Donald Trump and potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
When former judge Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) asked Rosenstein about the FISA warrant he signed, Rosenstein looked to FBI Director Wray for the answer – a move that disturbed Gohmert.
Rosenstein eventually admitted that he signed the warrant to spy on Page. But, he told Gohmert that he doesn’t need to read every FISA warrant he signs, that he merely need to understand what’s in it.
Gohmert said that, if Rosenstein had signed a spy warrant and then appeared his court with it, the former judge would have never again trusted anything Rosenstein asked him to approve:
Rep. Gohmert: When you approve a FISA application, in your mind, does that mean you should read it and understand what’s part of it?
Rosenstein: “You should certainly understand what’s part of it, sir.”
Rep. Gohmert: “But, you’re parsing words. So, that doesn’t mean you need to read it, in your opinion – is that correct?”
Rosenstein: “It depends on the circumstances.”
Rep. Gohmert: “Well, telling you, being a former felony state judge, if I had somebody like you come before me and now it was revealed later that the guy that signed and approved an application for a warrant had not even read the application that would allow spying on somebody, I would look at everything he signed from then on with a jaundiced eye. And, I’m telling you, I was a little concerned.”