Rep. Jordan: 'Scary' That Comey Doesn't See a Duty to Give FISA Court Complete Information

Susan Jones | December 11, 2018 | 6:38am EST
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Then-FBI Director James Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on May 3, 2017, just days before he was fired. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

( - Former FBI Director James Comey told Congress last week that he remembers signing a FISA court application relating to Carter Page in October 2016, but he said he doesn't remember if the application stated that the information had been verified.

Comey also told the House Judiciary Committee he never met nor spoke with Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier; he doesn't know how Steele's information reached the FBI; and he doesn't know "in particular" how the FBI went about investigating the information Steele provided.


Comey told an incredulous Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) he did not know, while serving as FBI director, that the law firm Perkins Coie hired Fusion GPS at the behest of the Democrat National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

And scariest of all to at least one congressman, Comey said he didn’t see a “legal duty” to present exculpatory evidence to the FISA court.

"Martha, here's what's scary, here's what absurd," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News’s Martha McCallum Monday night.

Congressman Ratcliffe asked him, should exculpatory information be given to the FISA court? And his response was, we have no legal duty to do that.

Stop and think about that a second. You don't have a duty to give all the information to the FISA judge when you're going to go and get a warrant to go spy on a fellow American citizen? That was his response and he is the top guy at the FBI?

That was scary when we saw that. I thought that was a great question that John asked and that was his first response. I don't think there's a legal duty.

He said, certainly, we should do it, that we should give the information. But the fact he doesn't believe there's a legal duty to present all evidence to the FISA court, so he didn't really think there was a legal duty to tell the court who paid for the document, he didn't think there was a legal duty to tell the court that the guy who wrote the darn thing had been terminated because he was out leaking information to the press?

I mean, that is a scary thing that we learned from our conversation with Mr. Comey on Friday.

Jordan said he'll have more questions for Comey when he returns for a second round next week.

During last week's hearing, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) asked Comey if the FBI and the Department of Justice have “a duty to present exculpatory evidence to the FISA Court.”

Comey responded: “I don’t know whether there’s a legal duty. We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting.”

“You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths,” Comey added.

Here are more snippets of Comey's testimony relating to the FISA warrant and the author of the anti-Trump dossier paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign:

Rep. Trey Gowdy asked Comey: "While you were the Director, you never knew that the DNC hired a law firm that hired an oppo research firm that hired Christopher Steele?

"No, I don't think so," Comey replied. "I don't have any recollection of being told that or reading that or learning that while I was Director."

"Is it relevant to you who was paying Chris Steele?" Gowdy asked him.

"Yes, in the sense that I thought it was important to understand that it was politically motivated effort, first by Republicans, then by Democrats," Comey responded.

Comey added that the "particulars" of who paid "would be important to people working the case," but that the FBI director didn't need to know the details.

Later, Comey told the committee there's no obligation to "turn over your entire file" to the FISA court. "You have a general duty of candor to the court," he said, "so you try to make them generally aware of the state of evidence that they're relying upon."

Comey said it "made sense" for the Justice Department to tell the FISA court that the information in the FISA application had "politically motivated financial support."

"And the particulars of which Democrats, which Republicans, I wouldn't think would be important to the court," Comey said. "They'd want to be aware of the general bias, and that's my reaction."

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