Why Are Republicans Still Squealing about FISA Applications If HPSCI Report Cedes Carter Page Concerns?

Republicans in Congress continue to make fairly breath-taking demands on Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray in what seems to be an attempt to create a bogus claim of non-responsiveness that Trump can use to fire one or both of them.

First there was the demand that the House Intelligence Committee get all of FBI’s non-grand jury records on the Mueller investigation, a demand Paul Ryan backed. Then there was the push to publish the Nunes memo over DOJ’s objections. More recently, after Wray’s doubling the number of FBI staffers (to 54) in an attempt to meet a Bob Goodlatte document deadline for FISA, Hillary investigation, and McCabe firing materials proved insufficient, Jeff Sessions has put Chicago’s US Attorney, John Lausch, in charge of the response. As with Sessions’ selection of Utah US Attorney John Huber to review other GOP demands, Sessions seems to be giving himself and his deputies cover from fairly ridiculous GOP demands.

Nevertheless, such concessions have not entirely sheltered Trump’s main targets from the kinds of complaints that might expose Robert Mueller’s investigation below them. Mark Meadows, one of the lead attack dogs in this congressional obstruction effort, even suggested Congress might impeach Rosenstein for failing to meet a 2-week deadline on a Bob Goodlatte subpoena.

Through it all, the complaints that FBI used the Steele dossier as one piece of evidence in Carter Page’s FISA application, persist. This, in spite of the fact that Page had been under FISA surveillance years before, and in spite of the fact that all sides agree that the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s aides started in response to the George Papadopoulos tip from Australia.

This, in spite of the passage from the Schiff memo (including one redacted sentence) that seems to assert that FBI considered Page an on-going counterintelligence concern.

DOJ cited multiple sources to support the case for surveillance Page — but made only narrow use of information from Steele’s sources about Page’s specific activities in 2016, chiefly his suspected July 2016 meetings in Moscow with Russian officials. [entire short sentence redacted] In fact, the FBI interviewed Page in March 2016 about his contact with Russian intelligence, the very month candidate Donald Trump named hi a foreign policy advisor.

And the Schiff memo is consistent with what Sheldon Whitehouse (among the few other people who had read the application at the time) said.

Whitehouse: I’ve got to be careful because some of this is still classified. But the conclusion that I’ve reached is that there was abundant evidence outside of the Steele dossier that would have provoked any responsible FBI with a counterintelligence concern to look at whether Carter Page was an undisclosed foreign agent. And to this day the FBI continues to assert that he was a undisclosed Russian foreign agent.

Importantly, however, it’s no longer just former prosecutors in the Democratic party who seem to confirm that Page was a real counterintelligence concern, and therefore legitimately a FISA target. At least, that’s what these two passages from the GOP House Intelligence Report suggest.

If you’re complaining that the Intelligence Community didn’t inform Trump about that members of his campaign team were “assessed to be potential counterintelligence concerns,” (and this likely includes Paul Manafort, as well as Page), then you can’t very well complain if FBI obtained a FISA warrant once those counterintelligence concerns left the campaign team. Hell, you’re practically inviting the FBI to obtain such a warrant while the counterintelligence concern is on the campaign, to help warn the candidate.

I know this is a bit to ask, but the GOP should not be able to have it both ways, to try to discredit the Trump investigation by pointing to the use of the Steele dossier in targeting Page, even while demanding FBI should have shared what it knew about Page because he posed a risk to Trump.

23 replies
  1. Rapier says:

    They can have it both ways, or not, depending on if the DOW is up or down a couple of thousand points after the firing and then trends that direction.

    I know it’s an odd lens to view this all.

  2. Rugger9 says:

    The best rule of thumb for the modern GOP leadership on down is that anything will be done to hold on to power. For examples, look to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Wisconsin, etc., where the GOP tried to overturn adverse rulings or election outcomes by unethical (at best) means including trying to impeach justices that ruled against them and not holding special elections required by law. These are not “Americans” at all. So, this hypocrisy does not surprise me at all, it’s who they are.

    Our current national GOP leadership is thoroughly involved with the DNC hacking and possible vote hacking (but the GOP won’t investigate this. also note that McTurtle was the one that prevented Obama from publicizing the hacks before the 2016 election), including confirmed use of DNC material in FL congressional races. Add to that the antics of Nunes’ midnight run and Goodlatte saying that the collusion question wasn’t part of the HPSCI ambit means (to me, IANAL) they are accessories after the fact at least in obstructing the search for truth. The RW noise machine, headlined by Faux News and Sinclair, will ensure the rubes do not find out the details until it’s too late. For example, Tucker Carlson last night went on and on about horny pandas instead of what everyone else covered. Why? Because the RW has nothing they can say until Frank Luntz gives them their daily talking points. Bottom line, they have no way to get out from under this falling anvil without admitting their own crimes under election law. Whether the Faux News noise machine has a sexual fetish issue is a topic best left for the psychologists, but it seems to keep being emphasized in their reporting. Hell, even TX Congresscritter Farenthold didn’t resign until recently when his creepy $84,000 taxpayer-funded payout for harassment (think Handmaid’s Tale) was about to be examined in public. All of these examples should make it clear that shame is for other parties, not the GOP.


    KellyAnne ConArtist has some explaining to do:

    Rudy has surfaced, watch this story line for hints, noting also that the South America trip was just abruptly canceled right after Kudlow said the Kaiser could handle the scandals and do his job. Rudy’s note was only that the raid was a little “heavy handed” but like Napolitano before him, also did not say it was out of line either. Welcome to the 2018 version of Kremlinology, something the Cold Warriors know well.



  3. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Meadows chairs one subcommittee (Government Operations) for OGR. He’s not a member of Judiciary or HPSCI. He has no seniority, no insight, no expertise. And yet he gallivants around making pronouncements like some kind of deputy prime minister.

  4. Bob Conyers says:

    I suspect there are three main schools of thought in the GOP about how to respond. One is to deny and stonewall, the second is to spin a narrative of a few bad apples, and the third is to go for the Reddit Trump fan conspiracy takes.

    I don’t think anyone is able of enforcing a consensus view, so you get people like Rep. Matt Gaetz convinced that there is a meaningful line of attack elevating Carter Page’s importance, when the other two camps would prefer to fend off Mueller in other, smarter ways.

  5. Trip says:

    At what point do we call Dershowitz out, and dispense with the nonsense of the disinterested/dispassionate constitutional scholar moniker? He is continuing to advise Trump on firing someone to kill the Mueller investigation (as reported on cable, last night). He also helped to craft the Muslim ban, is associated with the lunacy that is Gatestone, is a compadre of Bolton, and a staunch advocate of hard right Bibi.

    Prominent author and Harvard Professor Emeritus of Law Alan Dershowitz sharply criticized President Barack Obama in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper on Friday, saying he believes “Obama will join Jimmy Carter as somebody who will always stand against Israel, but who will be tossed into the dustbin of history when it comes to the Middle East.”

    Dershowitz said he believes once U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, there would be nothing left of the hostility of the current administration toward Israel…”I was not surprised [that Obama allowed the resolution to pass], but I was disappointed because President Obama personally promised me in the Oval Office that he would never abandon Israel and that he had Israel’s back,” he told Israel Hayom, adding, “I didn’t realize that what he meant by having Israel’s back is that he would aim a knife at it and stab Israel in the back. And the resolution is simply stupid. That is the best word I can come up with.”


    Why would Obama OWE anything to Dershowitz, as to US policy? Why is everyone pretending that he doesn’t have a dog in the race and that he issues ‘neutral’ legal opinions?

    • Trip says:

      @Avattoir, @bmaz: If Dershowitz is not in any official foreign policy capacity of the US, and he has not been hired by Trump as a personal attorney, there is no attorney/client privilege and there is no formal classification of their conversations, couldn’t Mueller question him as to his “legal” maneuvering and slanted thesis, with advice to Trump on how to fire someone in order to stop the investigation?
      Wouldn’t that potentially make him a party to obstruction? He is having private meetings with Trump, and not simply stating ‘neutral’ opinions on the boob-tube, he went directly to the boob for an assist.

    • Rayne says:

      I think the key question is exactly “why is everyone pretending that he doesn’t have a dog in the race and that he issues ‘neutral’ legal opinions.” Special Counsel’s investigation into Trump and Russia may veer into territory in which Dershowitz is at risk — looking into relationships between Trump, Soviet-born real estate developers and business magnates Tevfik Arif and Tamir Sapir, as well as Felix Sater, Jeffrey Epstein and Dershowitz. Dershowitz may be trying to save his own ass.

    • bmaz says:

      Hmmm, you seem to be stunningly consistent with your 18 comments here since January. Always saying something uninformed about FISA and or Clinton. Both may suck, but not to the extent of your Fox News trollery. Today you ride the idiotic Strzok/Page train. But you be you Mr. Keenan. We’ll know who you are.

    • Rayne says:

      1) In the future, please strip out tracking information in links you share here. I’ve taken care of it this time.

      2) Hannity dot com? Really? Do you have an opinion about that content at all or are you just trying to help support Marcy’s point?

        • Rayne says:

          LOL so needy. Sorry, I only have some crappy Chivas or even crappier Yuengling Ale on hand. I promise I’ll pick up more options next trip to the wine and spirits store. I could use some Everclear right about now. One never knows when one might need a handy solvent or accelerant or just a pick-me-up.

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