GOP skips national security hearing because they're still mad about Russia probe

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The lawmakers are demanding Democrats hold hearings about FISA warrants for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee boycotted a hearing this week on how new technologies could impact national security because they were upset about issues stemming from the nearly two-year-long Russia investigation.

In a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff on Wednesday the GOP lawmakers said they wouldn't be attending Wednesday's hearing because Democrats have yet to hold hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant that was used on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Republicans have wrongly claimed that the Russia investigation was illegitimate because Page was illegally surveilled. An Inspector General report issued late last year, however, showed the investigation was legitimate and that, while there was overreach in the FISA process — specifically misconduct by one lawyer who omitted key information that may have made Page look less suspicious — the FBI still had sufficient reason to open a deeper investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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The GOP lawmakers said this week that a hearing about the FISA warrant on Page was still more important than the scheduled hearing on emerging technologies — such as artificial intelligence — and their potential impact on national security.

"Until the Committee prioritizes oversight activities related to urgent and critical concerns, Republican Members cannot support distractions from our core responsibilities," they wrote in their letter, which was signed by the GOP committee members including Devin Nunes (R-CA).

The lawmakers also demanded that the Intelligence Committee hold more hearings in secret, rather than public hearings like the one on Wednesday.

"Given this Committee's access to highly sensitive information, it is concerning that you prioritize publicity events rather than the more productive work that occurs in the Committee's classified space," the letter stated.

Republicans infamously stormed a secure room in the Capitol last October where an impeachment inquiry deposition was taking place, risking national security in the process. The lawmakers were upset at the time that impeachment hearings were taking place in a classified setting.

Democratic lawmakers on the committee called out their Republicans colleagues for skipping the security hearing on Wednesday morning.

"This morning the House Intelligence Committee is holding a hearing on national security. Notice the half-empty dais? Republicans are skipping it bc they say the House has been mean to Trump," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) tweeted, along with a photo of the empty Republican seats.

"This is the Republican Party. Trump pity parties over US national security."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.