‘How can he fix a problem he doesn’t even understand?’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump and his congressional allies hammered the FISA court for appointing an Obama official who had downplayed FBI misconduct to oversee the reforms recommended in inspector general Michael Horowitz‘s recent report.
You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP! @DevinNunes @MariaBartiromo @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
David Kris, an assistant attorney general who served under Eric Holder, was named amicus curiae to help the secretive court assess and implement the reforms, as mandated in December by former presiding FISA judge Rosemary Collyer in a four-page opinion that, nonetheless, glossed over the court’s culpability in the FBI’s Russiagate scandal.
Horowitz’s report identified a litany of troubling concerns, including the deliberate altering of an email and the failure to address questions surrounding the now-debunked Steele dossier, commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
A recent analysis of the report argues that, despite ample red-flag warnings, the FBI used disgraced former British spy Christopher Steele‘s salacious innuendo as its sole source of evidence in justifying the domestic surveillance of Trump adviser Carter Page and other top campaign staff.
While Collyer claimed to have been oblivious to the abuses orchestrated by leading FBI officials during and after the 2016 presidential election, new presiding FISA judge James Boasberg made clear in his appointment of Kris that the deep state had no intention of effecting meaningful change in the damning report’s aftermath.
Boasberg—who was an Obama appointee to the US District Court for the District of Columbia—had recently been appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to fill the open FISA spot.
The controversial appointment, at a critical time for the FISA court, helped add fuel to existing speculation from some conservative media that Roberts may be compromised.
Likewise, the appointment of Kris cast aspersions over whether current FBI director Christopher Wray was truly committed to the task of reforming the rank corruption that enabled his predecessor, James Comey, and top surrogates to weaponize the investigative process in their effort to wage political warfare against Trump.
But Kris, now tasked with overseeing the plan’s implementation, is known to be a vocal critic of former House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who led early congressional probes into the FBI conspiracy.
Conservative investigative blogger Mike Cernovitch was among those who highlighted other examples of Kris’s hyper-partisan rhetoric.
Kris doubled down in December with a series of tweets claiming that Horowitz’s report largely exonerated the FBI—contrary to the widely accepted interpretation, which Horowitz himself reaffirmed during Senate testimony, that it did nothing of the sort.
First, the report repudiates the claims of a coup and related deep-state conspiracies in the FBI as advanced by President Trump and his supporters. 2/9
— David Kris (@DavidKris) December 9, 2019
Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, one of Trump’s top congressional allies, denounced the “completely unacceptable choice” in a tweet of his own.
There need to be answers for why David Kris was picked to oversee FISA reforms. He’s repeatedly downplayed blatant FISA abuse in the past and dismissed the damning IG report’s findings. How can he fix a problem he doesn’t even understand?
Completely unacceptable choice.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 12, 2020
And Nunes told Fox News on Monday that appointing Kris was “like the fox guarding the hen house.”
A lack of commitment to overseeing the reforms could prove costly for the FISA court.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned during Horowitz’s testimony in December that even though he was a staunch defender of FISA’s role in fighting international terrorism, its rubber-stamping of approval that allowed the FBI to spy on Trump campaign officials had caused him to reassess the court’s benefit.
“I’d hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most,” Graham told Horowitz, “but after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there’s fundamental reform.”