Attorney General Jeff Sessions was right to open an investigation into potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Rep. Pete King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, as there were “clear deficiencies” revealed during his committee’s investigation into the surveillance of President Donald Trump’s former campaign aide, Carter Page.
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“I thought it was totally the right thing to do,” the New York Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“Certainly that’s, to me, a full investigation with [what] the FBI and Department of Justice did with the FISA court on the Carter Page application. I’ve been part of this investigation. To me there were clear deficiencies here. This requires a full investigation by the inspector general and to me the sooner the better.”
Trump early Wednesday tweeted his opposition to Sessions’ asking for an inspector’s general investigation, saying it would “take forever” and wanting to know why Justice Department attorneys could not conduct the probe.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
King said he has “great regard” for Sessions, but at the same time he understands Trump’s point.
However, he said he can’t see why the Department of Justice can’t do its own investigation, but he does know the inspector general does a good job, but “it can take time.”
“To me they can run in parallel but again I would emphasize I have a great regard for Jeff Sessions,” said King. “I believe he means well on this and to me it’s just a question of tactics. I would have no problem with both going ahead on parallel paths.”
King also said he would not have called out Sessions, as Trump did on his morning tweet.
“Jeff Sessions is loyal to the president,” said King. “He is one of the first to support him and often in very difficult positions. I think he is trying to reconcile as best he can. I do think it would make sense to have parallel investigations go forward but again, I would not publicly criticize Jeff Sessions. I know how loyal he is to the president.”
King was also present for the interrogation of White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who appeared before his committee for nine hours Tuesday, and said she showed “no evidence at all” of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
“She answered every possible question regarding everything up to Election Day,” King said. “The White House instructed her as a White House employee not to answer questions after the inauguration. I assume that’s because they want to claim executive privilege and also there was first disagreement over what she could answer between Election Day and the inauguration, but it was worked out.”
King also said he hopes the matter of a Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance can be resolved.
“In my dealings with Jared Kushner he has always been to me extremely efficient and capable,” said King. “I would only assume it’s because he does have such extensive financial background and it’s international. They have to explore every possibility. I hope it can be resolved quickly. He is a very effective member of the president’s team and he is involved in a lot of high-level matters.”