If you needed any further evidence that we were in uncharted waters, let this be the last signal you need. In his quest to shine the bright light of truth on the FISA court abuses of the FBI and Justice Department, Rep. Devin Nunes said Thursday that he was thinking very seriously of doing something that had never been done before: Asking the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to testify in front of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Nunes said the unprecedented step may be necessary because as the top man on the nation’s high court, John Roberts is responsible for appointing all judges to the FISA court. Nunes stressed that no final decision had been made about bringing Roberts to testify, but the mere suggestion of the possibility shows you how serious this investigation has become.
“The chief justice appoints the FISA judges,” Hewitt noted. “Have you had a chance to chat with him or any of the FISA judges about what went on at the FISA court with regard to the Page application?”
“This is something that we’ve been grappling with all through this investigation,” Nunes said. “We decided that we wanted to complete the FISA abuse portion before we approached the courts. Our next step with the courts is to make them aware, if they’re not aware already, so we will be sending a letter to the court.”
“I would encourage you to do that, because I would like to see if the chief justice would inform you of their reactions,” Hewitt said.
In the total pantheon of possible “next steps” in this investigation, the likelihood of Roberts testifying before the House Intelligence Committee feels rather low. It’s clear that Nunes could not compel Roberts to appear and there’s little chance the chief justice would respond to an open invitation. Even if he did, it’s likely that he would not have much to add of any worth. While he is in charge of appointing the judges, he is not their ongoing supervisor. Certainly, he would not comment on their decision to authorize a warrant in this or any other instance.
Still, this is interesting simply because it shows you how determined Nunes and the House Committee is when it comes to tracking down all possible leads. With a bulldog like him at the head of the committee, you know there have to be people in the FBI, the Justice Department, and the former Obama administration who are starting to sweat. Profusely.