Day 549 Sunday July 22, 2018 1,029 Days to Go
Yesterday the New York Times released 400 pages of documentation they received under the Freedom of Information of Act concerning the FBI’s wiretapping warrant application of Carter Page. Page was connected to the Trump campaign and had made numerous trips to Russia before and during the campaign. He made claims of having some sort of access to Russian officials. The FBI had reason to believe he was working for the Russian government either unwittingly or knowingly, and this suspicion went back before the Trump campaign.
At the time of the warrant application during the campaign Republicans claimed that the FBI had acted improperly, that this was an attempt by some to discredit the campaign, etc. etc. etc. Devin Nunes wrote a very controversial memo saying so. Democrats on the committee said that was not true and wanted to release their own memo, which was blocked from being released by Republicans until their was such a hew and cry that it got released too.
What this redacted information reveals is that not only were the Republican claims unfounded, but they did the very thing they accused the FBI and the Democrats of doing. According to Lawfare, a blog started in 2010 by Bush (W) appointee and law prof at UT Austin, a Wash Post reporter, and a Harvard prof I quote their analysis at the time that Nunes wrote his memo. They wrote that the FBI warrant application met the requirements for a wire tap and that the Nunes’ memo:
“tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court.”
Their conclusion now, with the redacted version of the FISA application makes the Nunes’ memo look even worse. How can you look worse than what Lawfare all ready said? Leave it to our elected Republican officials to make a terrible situation worse!
One of the claims Nunes made was that the FBI had started the investigation based on the Steele Dossier (It hadn’t. In fact, the original application for wiretapping Page was made way before the Trump ever considered running for president and way before the Steele Dossier was written. The application that so upset the Republicans was asking for an extension on surveillance.)
Another claim was that the credibility of Steele was outlined in a footnote in the application, as if to suggest that the court wouldn’t read the footnote. The Lawfare folks said they had read many FISA applications and they said they knew that the court read the footnotes. Besides, the footnote took up over a page. It’s not like they wouldn’t see it! But this was a big problem for Nunes and his gang (ie Trey Gowdy.)
It is also worth noting that there is noted that two Russians plead guilty to being unregistered foreign agents and one of them, a banker, spent 30 months in jail. I presume these are the two who were caught talking about Page as an asset and the two were worried that Page might go to someone actually connected to the program the two Ruskies were duping Page into believing he was participating in. (They finally decided that wasn’t a problem because, they concluded, Page was that stupid.)
If you spend anytime studying how the Russian government works in these situation you will discover that they frequently use “private citizens” (ie unregistered foreign agents) to do their work. This gives them a level of deniability. One only has to listen to Vladimir Putin in the Helsinki summit saying that the Russian government wasn’t involved in interfering in the 2016 election. The people who were, they were private Russian citizens. They were bankers. (Bankers of banks that Putin has control over and take their orders directly from Putin.) Some were GRU military officials carrying out a military campaign, but who wants to talk about that? (Me! Me! Me!)
Let us not forget that the judges who signed off on the warrant were all appointees of Republican presidents. Four judges, two appointed by W, one by H.W., one by Reagan.
We have been attacked and invaded by a hostile foreign power. One party is denying it and aiding and abetting in a coverup of that fact. Let us not forget that.
This is not about politics as much as it is about patriotism.
There is little that I have ever agreed with Rick Perry about, but one thing he said that I have always respected him for saying, “Stand up for what you believe in.”
It is time to stand up.
1,029 Days to Go
PS View from the deck, 6:30 a.m., July 5th.