Rep. Dave Brat On Nunes Memo And FISA The fight in Washington over the Republican memo has called attention back to the FISA surveillance program. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks with Republican Rep. Dave Brat from Virginia.
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Rep. Dave Brat On Nunes Memo And FISA

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Rep. Dave Brat On Nunes Memo And FISA

Rep. Dave Brat On Nunes Memo And FISA

Rep. Dave Brat On Nunes Memo And FISA

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The fight in Washington over the Republican memo has called attention back to the FISA surveillance program. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks with Republican Rep. Dave Brat from Virginia.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The fight in Washington over the Republican memo continues. Some pundits and Democrats have called it, quote, "a nothing burger filled with partisan misinformation." President Trump, though, has said it vindicates him in Robert Mueller's investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the election. At the center of the controversy is the FISA surveillance program, which allows U.S. agencies to spy on foreign citizens living overseas. Republicans who wrote the memo contend it shows the FBI abused the program to get information about a U.S. citizen who worked on the Trump campaign. Joining us now is Republican Congressman Dave Brat of Virginia. Good morning, sir.

DAVE BRAT: Hey. Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell me whether you think the FBI abused its position regards to Carter Page?

BRAT: Well, yeah, absolutely. And the issue is broader. I mean, the American people - I think what the media have missed in this story is it's not just about this story. You have the entire country in a referendum, choosing candidates like Bernie Sanders all the way through President Trump because they know something is rigged up in D.C., right? Every time we get together to compromise, you end up with a trillion dollar deficit that's being, you know, printed in the paper this morning. And the results for the country have been devastating.

And so on the narrow issue with the FBI - when you have five people stepping down, getting fired and getting reassigned - five of the senior political appointees in the FBI - the American people know something's going on, right? And so on both sides, you got - on the Trump side, you got the Russia investigation unfolding. The American people want to know what's going on there. These bots and all this stuff - what's going on? On the Hillary side, you got the email controversy with 30,000 emails gone, the head of the Justice Department meeting on the tarmac with a...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sir...

BRAT: ...Former president, the Clinton Foundation with $2 billion that fades to zero...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sir, but...

BRAT: ...Right after she loses the presidency. So that's...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sure, but...

BRAT: ...People want to know.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, but didn't President Trump win this election? You know, what critics are alleging is that President Trump is attacking the organs of his own security apparatus to protect himself from the special counsel's investigation. Is the government at war with itself?

BRAT: Well, no, I think if you just look at what's going on - right? - unfortunately, folks these days are protecting their own hides and their own jobs and their own institutions, et cetera, instead of a long-run interest of the country. And so that's what's at stake. Is - someone is not telling the truth here. And that's what these emails and tweets reveal - people with animus toward the president of the United States. We can't let this guy win.

And everybody made their bets, right? That's what's wrong with the bureaucrats and the bureaucrat nature in D.C. They say, well, Hillary's going to win. So we can't take her off, right? And this is in the information, right? We think Trump's going to lose, so we're going to put our bets over here. Then we'll look really good. And...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But...

BRAT: ...You know, we'll have more power...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But...

BRAT: ...And the American people see it all.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But even if there was bias. And, you know, investigators often get valuable information from dubious sources. That's why you try and flip mob bosses and gang members. You know, you're talking, obviously, about the dossier and Steele. But, you know, Steele's expertise was quite profound. He was MI6's - the head of MI6's Russia desk who'd been used by the British government in multiple investigations.

BRAT: Well, that's nice. It sounds like you're arguing one side. But the - England doesn't have a constitution. We do. So we got this sweet little thing called the Fourth Amendment that protects American citizens like you and me. And it doesn't matter who the higher ups are and what their assessment of evidence looks like and how bad it is. Your rights are protected under our Constitution and the Fourth Amendment, specifically. And so I don't care, right? Of course, mob bosses are flipped and whatever. But what happened in this case is when they went in to get that warrant to spy on an American citizen, they did not point out the details you just mentioned that this is a political document. It was paid for by the Hillary...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, sir, actually, the Democrats...

BRAT: It was paid for by the Hillary campaign...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Democrats dispute that, though.

BRAT: ...And the D triple C. (Laughter) Right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right, but the Democrats dispute that. And they say they have their own memo, which has yet to be released because, so far, there has - that has not been approved. I mean, the Democrats have a different case.

BRAT: Well, of course they do. They fought and obstructed, as the FBI did, oversight of the Congress. We wanted these documents and information for a year. They blocked it the whole way. I mean, of course, there's partisan politics. And so what were the Democrats saying a week ago that you guys all reported? Oh, this is going to be disastrous for national security. There's nothing about national security in there, right? So your reporting was wrong. The whole mainstream media was putting forth Democrat talking points that were totally false.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right...

BRAT: Part of this is...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have...

BRAT: ...Partisan in nature is you've got to...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Unfortunately, we have to let this...

BRAT: ...Look at the facts.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have to let this go here. But thank you so much for joining us. That was Republican Congressman Dave Brat.

BRAT: You bet. Anytime.

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