Schiff: Hey, how could I know that the FBI's FISA applications were so bad?

Another fun gas-biscuit leftover from yesterday, in which Adam Schiff also claims vindication from Michael Horowitz’ report and claims that it debunked Devin Nunes. After Nunes wrote a memo in February 2018 detailing allegations against the FBI of abusing the FISA process, Schiff issued a detailed rebuttal and went on a national tour to defend the FBI, claiming that he knew “the FBI acted appropriately in seeking a warrant on Carter Page.” Schiff insisted that the FBI did nothing wrong right up to the moment in which Horowitz made it clear that there was serious misconduct in the warrant applications — and that it was basically just as bad as Nunes had warned all along.

Chris Wallace asked Schiff on Fox News Sunday to explain how he could have gotten this so wrong. “I think it’s only fair to judge what we knew at the time,” Schiff replied, “not what would be revealed two years later.” What who knew at the time?

Chris Wallace: Finally, I want to switch to the Inspector General report, because you have weighed in on that. In 2018, you were the ranking member, the top Democrat in the minority in the Intelligence Committee. Devin Nunes, the then-Republican chair, issued a report talking about all the problems with the FISA warrants and the FBI case. You defended the FBI’s use of FISA warrants to surveil Carter Page in a lengthy memo. …

After reading the IG’s report, which discusses 17 serious errors of omission — some would say misconduct — on the part of the FBI, do you still think that the FBI acted appropriately, as you said there?

Adam Schiff: Well, I think this is consistent with the IG report. They were right to seek a FISA on Carter Page. And there wasn’t some Deep State conspiracy. There was no spying on the Trump campaign. There was no effort to — based on political bias — open the investigation. It was properly predicated. But there were, nonetheless, serious abuses of FISA which were not apparent two years ago, but which have become apparent now, with 170 witnesses interviewed and two million documents reviewed by the IG. And I am glad that the IG made the recommendations that he has made, and the FBI is going to follow them. But that wasn’t apparent to us two years ago. But the most significant things, I think, are that corrective steps will be taken, in terms of the FISA process, and that the IG debunked these claims by the president, by Mr. Nunes and others, of this deep state conspiracy, this improper investigation. It would have been negligent for them not to conduct this investigation.

It takes a lot of cheek to claim that Horowitz’ report debunks Nunes’ criticisms. Even the Washington Post threw cold water on that revisionist history. The Nunes memo turned out to be vindicated, not debunked, Aaron Blake wrote at the time. The only thing debunked was Schiff’s attempt at debunking Nunes.

It takes even more cheek for Schiff to tell Wallace that he’d have gladly called out the FBI at the time had he only known of these issues:

Chris Wallace: I’ve just got a minute left — because at that time, in 2018, you said the FBI and Department of Justice did not — quote — “omit material information.” Apparently, you did not know at the time that, in fact, Steele’s main Russian sources had told the FBI that he had misrepresented what that Russian source had said and that the FBI knew, at the time, that Carter Page, in fact, was acting as a contact, as an unofficial source for the CIA. Given what you know now — we talked earlier to Director Comey, and he basically said, “I was wrong in what I represented back in 2018.” Are you willing to admit that you were wrong in your defense of the FBI’s FISA process?

Adam Schiff: Oh, I’m certainly willing to admit that the Inspector General found serious abuses of FISA that I was unaware of. Had I known of them, Chris, yes, I would have called out the FBI at the same time. But I think it’s only fair to judge what we knew at the time, not what would be revealed two years later. But yes, there were very serious abuses of the FISA process. They need to be corrected; we need to make sure they never happen again.

This is nonsense on stilts. Nunes knew enough about these misrepresentations and omissions to write a detailed memo warning that the Page FISA warrants had been secured on false premises. How did Nunes know about this “two years earlier” and not Schiff? Was it because Nunes actually did his job and Schiff was only concerned about pursuing a nonsense conspiracy theory in an effort to reverse the 2016 election?

We certainly know what Nunes thinks. He sent Schiff a letter recommending “rehabilitation,” but that requires an admission of having a problem in the first place. Good luck with that as Schiff’s latest impeachment rationalization wends its way through the House of Representatives.