House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise Wednesday said he has "very strong concerns" about whether people involved in alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court during the Russia investigation will be held accountable and called for broad reforms to the process.
"If people go to jail for abusing that court, I don't think we're going to see those (kinds) of abuses again in the future," the Louisiana Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
Scalise said he's concerned that a bill moving through Congress does not include enough reforms and criminal penalities "that need "to be included to make sure that if somebody does abuse the FISA court they will be held accountable."
On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr told Republican senators that he's pledging reforms to the FISA warrant process after surveillance laws are set to expire next month.
Barr said he is making executive changes that will clean up the errors outlined in Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report concerning the use of the FISA court to surveil Carter Page, a former campaign aide for President Donald Trump, as part of the FBI's investigation into Russia and the president's 2016 campaign.
Scalise said it is important to keep current tools in place, rather than revisions that could come through the Democrat-controlled House, as they are "vital to our national security," even if they were abused.
He also criticized House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, for how he's handled proposed changes, accusing him of handling the matter in a "partisan" way, and added he hopes U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a probe of the origins of the Russia probe, will "name names" of people who abused the FISA court systems and will recommend penalties that Barr can enforce.
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