FISA Court Selects Fmr Obama Official Who Argued for Removing Trump to Oversee FBI Reforms

President Trump fumed on Twitter after the FISA Court appointed David Kris, a staunch Trump critic and former Obama admin lawyer to oversee the FBI’s surveillance reforms.

David Kris has been a defender of the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page

In October, Kris called Trump “profoundly corrupt…reminiscent of Nixon” and argued for removing Trump, asking “do we want to be a country in which elected officials can use their governmental power to attack political opponents? If not, it’s pretty simple: Trump has to go.”

Devin Nunes (R-CA)  told The Daily Caller called the appointment of Kris “inexplicable.”

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside Comey, McCabe, or Schiff.”

Carter Page reacted by saying “You appoint Kris for only one reason: you don’t want the system fixed. You just want it to look like you do.”

Trump tweeted:

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

Early December, David Kris shared his view of the IG report in a 9-part tweet. 

Here are my two big conclusions from the IG’s report, as revealed in the 20-page executive summary. 1/9

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

The IG found no improper purpose, political bias, or First Amendment concerns with the conduct of any of the investigations or with the FISA applications. 3/9

In particular, the investigations:

* had an authorized purpose and proper predication;
* were not based on political bias or improperly on free speech;
* properly began with less intrusive techniques before graduating to more. 4/9

Given the immense seriousness of these claims – the idea that our security services might exert political bias to undermine a political campaign – and the vigor with which they have been promoted, this is the most important take-away from the IG’s report. 5/9

But second, the report finds multiple and significant errors in the conduct of the FBI investigation, and in the FBI’s handling of the FISA applications, as well as areas for improvement in FBI procedures. 6/9

These errors are very serious, although again they don’t support any claim of deep-state conspiracy or political bias. 7/9

Among 17 significant errors, the FISA applications:

Overstated prior corroboration of Steele’s reporting;
Omitted critical assessments of Steele himself and a sub-source;
Omitted some denials of guilt from Page & others. 8/9

These FBI errors weren’t political, the IG concluded, but neither are they acceptable, particularly in an investigation involving a presidential campaign. 9/9

Per FoxNews, in a March 2018 article, Kris argued on Lawfare, a leftist blog run by Comey friend Benjamin Wittes, that Nunes’ memo had “tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court.”

Additionally, Kris claimed that “had the FBI done in its FISA applications what Nunes did in his memo, heads would have rolled on Pennsylvania Avenue.” He asserted, “It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent.”

“The Nunes memo was dishonest,” Kris charged. “And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.”

Kris was a former assistant attorney general for national security who worked at the DOJ from 2009 to 2011, and served as an associate deputy attorney general under George W. Bush from 2000 to 2003. He later criticized Bush’s justifications for warrantless wiretap surveillance.

But, as the political winds changed, Kris became more of a proponent for government surveillance in other contexts. He appeared on MSNBC’s left-wing “The Rachel Maddow Show” in 2018 to offer a spirited defense of the FBI’s FISA practices.

“FISA applications are typically quite long — they’re big enough that you don’t want to drop one on your foot,” Kris told Maddow. “They contain a lot of information and detail, because the statute is quite exacting in what it requires the government to establish to get the warrant granted.”