How to quiet all this nonsense? Simply say: “As President, with the authority given to me as Commander in Chief I hereby direct that all Memos, including drafts and those of the minority party, be submitted to me post-haste and I will decide if anything can be released to the Public domain.”

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4 comments on “PUT IT TO REST, DONALD

  1. Carter Page, the star of the Nunes memo, explained

    9 questions about the former Trump adviser you were too embarrassed to ask.

    By Andrew Prokop – Feb 2, 2018

    House Republicans have claimed that the “Nunes memo” will reveal “jaw-dropping,” “shocking,” and “sickening” conduct from law enforcement officials in connection with their investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia — conduct that could even be “worse than Watergate.”

    So you may be surprised to hear that the memo, which isn’t yet public, is reportedly mostly, and perhaps even entirely, about … Carter Page.

    Yes, that Carter Page. The rather eccentric former Trump campaign adviser, infamous for his extremely pro-Russia views and strange media appearances, has unexpectedly turned out to be the centerpiece of the GOP’s effort to discredit the Russia investigation.

    Federal government investigators grew suspicious of Page’s Russian contacts and a trip he took to Moscow during the campaign, so they reportedly wiretapped him in the fall of 2016. They continued this surveillance throughout early 2017. However, so far, Page has not been accused of or charged with anything in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

    Now Republicans are angry because the Justice Department’s request for permission to surveil Page partly relied on information from the infamous Steele dossier. That’s the document filled with lurid and scandalous allegations about Trump and his advisers’ ties to Russia that all involved, including Page, have heatedly denied. It’s a problem, the GOP argues, because the dossier project was ultimately funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer — meaning that Page was being surveilled in part because of a campaign’s opposition research (which, it should be noted, hasn’t been corroborated and could be entirely false).

    Yet law enforcement officials and Democrats who’ve seen the underlying intelligence emphasize that the dossier allegations were only part of the justification for the Page surveillance. The FBI, they say, had good reason to suspect Page beyond the dossier. (Indeed, Page drew investigative scrutiny for his contacts with Russian intelligence in 2013, long before the Trump campaign was a glimmer in anyone’s eye.)

    All the while, the man at the center of this firestorm remains an enigma. Again, keep in mind that he hasn’t been charged with anything. For all we know, he could be an ordinary citizen who genuinely thinks the Russian government is great, has a lot of Russian friends and contacts, happened to get in way over his head, and truly was unjustly smeared in the Steele dossier. So let’s dive deeper into the mystery of Carter Page.

    1) Who on earth is “Carter Page, PhD”?

    That is the question much of the Washington foreign policy community asked in unison on March 21, 2016. (Well, some probably used profanity.)

    On that date, presidential candidate Donald Trump sat down with the Washington Post’s editorial board and read out five names of people he said were serving on his foreign policy team. The list included George Papadopoulos, who has since pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians — “excellent guy,” Trump said.

    Trump also read the name “Carter Page, PhD” — and offered no further elaboration on him.

    Within days, though, a few things about Page became clear from a profile by Bloomberg’s Zachary Mider. Page had a whole lot of experience doing business in Russia. He had far more positive views of Putin’s regime than most Americans. And he wasn’t a fan of the US’s sanctions on Russia.

    After growing up in New York and spending a few years in the Navy in the 1990s, Page completed a few graduate degrees in international relations and business. Then for most of the 2000s, he worked at the investment banking firm Merrill Lynch, focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe.

    His work led him to move to Moscow from 2004 to 2007, and it entailed advising Gazprom, the majority Russian state–owned oil firm, on deals. Soon afterward, he moved back to the US, left Merrill, and went into business for himself, advising investors on Russia-related projects.

    Though all this, Page didn’t have a particularly high public profile — until, out of nowhere, Trump dropped his name. Mider quoted a former Merrill executive who’d worked with Page in Russia professing shock at his high-profile new gig. “I could not imagine Carter as an adviser on foreign policy,” the former executive, Sergey Aleksashenko, said. “It’s really surprising.”

    2) So why was this rando on Donald Trump’s foreign policy team?

    If we think hard enough, we can remember a time before Trump was president of the United States and the undisputed commander of the Republican Party. Back then, he was a disreputable outsider whose campaign faced fierce opposition from the GOP establishment and policy elites and who was considered highly likely to lose the general election.

    After Trump’s disorganized and not particularly professional campaign managed to win most of the first GOP primaries, he faced increasing pressure to demonstrate that he was a plausible major-party presidential nominee. His aides decided that part of that task entailed putting together something they could call a “foreign policy team.” The task fell to Sam Clovis, a conservative talk radio host and evangelical activist from Iowa who had distinguished himself by joining the Trump campaign relatively early.

    Carter Page didn’t wait for Clovis to find him. According to his later testimony, Page reached out to New York’s Republican Party chair, Ed Cox, in late December 2015, asking to be put in touch with Trump’s team. Cox put Page in contact with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who sent him over to Clovis, who is said to have put him on Trump’s list of advisers.

    The Trump team claims that the main reason they took Page on was that they were taking “anyone … with a pulse,” as a campaign official put it to the Washington Post last year. Indeed, Clovis’s task surely was complicated by the fact that few in the “respectable” GOP foreign policy community were willing to sign on with Trump at that point.

    But by one account, Clovis had something else on his mind too. Papadopoulos was added to the same team as Page, and according to a plea agreement he signed last year, Clovis told him early on “that a principal foreign policy focus of the [Trump] campaign was an improved US relationship with Russia.” With that in mind, Page would seem a perfect fit, considering his job history and policy views.

    3) What did Carter Page actually do when he was a Trump adviser?

    To hear some in Trump’s orbit tell it, he did nothing whatsoever. “Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign,” campaign spokesperson Jason Miller said in September 2016. “He’s never been part of our campaign. Period.”

    Indeed, Page testified that he’s never met or even spoken to Trump himself, and that he missed out on the one meeting the Trump foreign policy team had with the candidate because, he said, he had a conflict that day.

    However, emails and documents made public in connection with Page’s congressional testimony do show that he was in regular contact with several campaign foreign policy advisers in the spring and summer of 2016 — though it’s not entirely clear what, exactly, he was doing.

    On May 16, 2016, Page sent a curious email to two of his fellow foreign policy advisers, J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares. Page wrote:

    As discussed, my strategy in order to keep in sync with the media relations guidelines of the campaign has been to make my key messages as low-key and apolitical as possible. But after seeing the principal’s tweet a few hours in response to the cocky “in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue” quote by the same speaker at Rutgers yesterday, I got another idea. If he’d like to take my place and raise the temperature a little bit, of course I’d be more than happy to yield this honor to him.

    “The principal” here is Trump, and “this honor” Page wants Trump to “take my place” in, he admitted in Congressional testimony, is … a trip to Russia.

    So Page has admitted that he emailed Trump advisers in guarded, roundabout language about an upcoming trip to Russia that was part of a “strategy” previously discussed with others on the campaign.

    Trump didn’t end up going to Russia that year — but Page did, for a five-day trip in July 2016. This raised eyebrows even at the time, since Page gave a public speech in which he criticized US policy as too antagonistic toward the Kremlin. Yet Page and Trump’s team said, then and afterward, that Page took this trip purely as a private citizen and not at all on behalf of the campaign.

    After Page returned, he started to keep tabs on preparations for the Republican convention. And when Trump’s team helped block a delegate’s proposed amendment calling for the US to arm Ukraine, Page was thrilled. “As for the Ukraine amendment, excellent work,” he wrote in an email to several campaign foreign policy officials.

    But rumors soon swirled about what Page might have been up to during his Moscow trip. After a briefing in August, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to the FBI saying “questions have been raised” about whether Page met with “high-ranking sanctioned individuals” during his trip.

    Finally, in September, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reported that the government was investigating Page’s ties to the Kremlin — a revelation that led the Trump campaign to harshly disassociate themselves from Page. (In Page’s own telling, he chose to take a leave of absence. He denied doing anything wrong.)

    After Trump had won the election, Page never appeared to rejoin his team. He took another trip to Russia in December 2016, during the transition, but testified that this trip was also undertaken entirely on his own.

    4) So what happened during Carter Page’s July 2016 trip to Russia?

    There are basically two possibilities.

    The first is that, as Page says, he traveled to Russia on his own initiative, meeting with various business and personal contacts, and that nothing all that significant took place.

    The second is that he’s hiding something.

    Rumors of the latter soon reached the ears of Christopher Steele, the former British spy researching Trump’s Russia ties. On July 19, 2016, Steele filed a report for what become known as his “dossier” focused on Page’s Russia trip. Citing Russian sources, he wrote:

    That Page had met with Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the majority Russian government-owned oil company, and discussed lifting US sanctions
    That Page had also met with Igor Diveykin, a Russian intelligence official, and discussed Russian “kompromat” on Clinton (and Trump)
    In a later report, dated October 18, 2016, Steele made an even more astonishing claim:

    That when Page allegedly met with Sechin, the oil executive had offered Page and Trump’s associates “the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatized) stake in Rosneft in return” for lifting sanctions, and that Page “expressed interest” and confirmed that Trump would lift sanctions if he won
    But in the year and a half since, no one has yet managed to confirm any of the claims in Steele’s dossier about Page’s trip. (My opinion is that they should be viewed with extreme skepticism.)

    Page, meanwhile, has furiously denied the claims, saying that he’s never met either Sechin or Diveykin and disparaging what he calls the “dodgy dossier” both in media appearances and under oath.

    Still, Page’s story that the trip had nothing to do with Trump’s campaign doesn’t entirely fit with the evidence either.

    George Papadopoulos was also emailing campaign advisers about a potential Trump trip to Russia around the same time. And according to his plea deal, one senior official forwarded his email to another and wrote, “Let’s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
    Page sent other Trump aides a memo about his trip, in which he referred to himself as “Campaign Adviser Page.” In it, he described a “private conversation” he had with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who he said “expressed strong support for Mr. Trump.”
    Page also wrote an email to two Trump aides saying he’d received “some incredible insights and outreach […] from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here.”
    Also, Page admitted that he did meet with a different Rosneft executive — Andrey Baranov, the company’s head of investor relations, with whom he had a preexisting relationship.
    When asked about some of this under oath, Page sounded evasive. He claimed his interaction with Dvorkovich lasted “well less than 10 seconds,” and that his reference to “insights and outreach” referred merely to speeches he’d attended and articles he’d read during his trip.

    Now, there is a relatively innocent potential explanation here: that Page, in his real-time reporting back to the Trump campaign last year, could have been wildly exaggerating his own connections and what he had achieved in Russia to make himself appear more important and influential. But the documents certainly give reason to suspect there was more to Page’s Russia trip than we know — even if it’s unclear what it might be.

    5) Why did US law enforcement officials start looking into Carter Page’s ties to Russia?

    Well, it depends which time you’re referring to.

    In fact, the FBI interviewed Page because of his contacts with a Russian intelligence operative all the way back in 2013.

    The bureau was looking into a suspected Russian spy ring and learned that one of their suspects, Victor Podobnyy, had met with Page in hopes of finding a potential recruit. In fact, Podobnyy was caught on a wiretap discussing Page:

    He writes to me in Russian [to] practice the language. He flies to Moscow more often than I do. He got hooked on Gazprom thinking that if they have a project, he could be rise up. Maybe he can. I don’t know, but it’s obvious that he wants to learn lots of money. …

    … I will feed him empty promises. … You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go fuck himself.

    Podobnyy said one more thing about Page on the tap. “I think,” he said, “he is an idiot.”

    Page did end up giving some energy business documents to Podobnyy, and the FBI interviewed him about it in June 2013. But they decided Page didn’t know Podobnyy was a spy, and didn’t charge him with anything.

    6) Okay, then why did US law enforcement officials start looking into Carter Page’s ties to Russia again during the presidential campaign?

    According to the New York Times, the FBI opened an investigation into Trump associates’ ties to Russia at some point in July 2016, after receiving a tip that George Papadopoulos had bragged to an Australian diplomat that he knew Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

    Christopher Steele was meanwhile doing his own investigation at the time — and was providing what he found to his own contacts in the FBI (who had worked with him before and viewed him as a reliable source of information).

    So it was apparently some combination of 1) the obvious (Page’s trip to Russia and history of Russian contacts); 2) Steele’s information; and 3) other information the government obtained from other sources that led the FBI to zero in on Page.

    But it was reportedly on October 19, 2016, that the Justice Department took the particularly dramatic step of asking for permission to surveil Page’s communications. (Note that this was a month after the Trump campaign disassociated itself from Page and said he had nothing to do with it, which would seem to debunk the talking point that this was an excuse for the FBI to spy on the Trump team.)

    That application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is said to be the central preoccupation of the Nunes memo. The memo reportedly argues that the surveillance application relied on information from Steele’s dossier without proper disclosures — which Republicans find objectionable since Steele’s project was ultimately funded by the Clinton campaign and they believe it to be bogus.

    Yet all sides also admit that the application didn’t entirely rely on the dossier, and that the FBI had other sources of information as well. Law enforcement officials and Democrats who’ve seen the memo argue that it gives a misleading picture of how strong the application to surveil Page was, by leaving out those other sources for political reasons.

    Another angle is that FISA surveillance applications have to be renewed every 90 days. The government is said to have applied for more surveillance on Page at some point in January or February 2017, and then again in late April or May 2017 — with the latter application approved by newly sworn-in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Rosenstein is special counsel Robert Mueller’s boss and ultimately oversees the investigation that Trump hopes to discredit.)

    7) What is up with Carter Page’s media and legal strategy?

    Rather than lawyering up and responding with caution to the Russia scandal, as most others potentially implicated in it have, Page was omnipresent discussing the topic in seemingly nonstop media appearances last year — in a way that both baffled and entertained political observers.

    Throughout these appearances, Page frequently filibustered, went on tangents, and worked himself into a state of high dudgeon while maintaining that he was completely innocent of any wrongdoing and was being unjustly smeared. He also testified before the House Intelligence Committee last November for more than six hours — without a lawyer.

    “The past few months has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life,” he told USA Today last fall. “You don’t fully appreciate the law and a just, functioning legal system until you’ve had your basic civil rights so severely abused based on the lies funded by rich political patrons.”

    “I genuinely hope, Carter, that you’re innocent of everything, because you’re doing a lot of talking,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes told him in October. “It’s either admirably bold or reckless, but I guess we’ll find out.”

    8) How important is Carter Page to Robert Mueller’s investigation?

    For all we know, he isn’t important to it at all.

    The Washington Post reported that in March 2017, FBI agents interviewed Page for a total of about 10 hours over five separate meetings, and asked him about claims made in the Steele dossier.

    But there’s no indication that this led anywhere, and it happened before Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation in May.

    Mueller has held his cards remarkably close to the vest all along. But he’s indicted two former Trump aides already — Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. And he’s gotten two others — George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn — to become cooperating witnesses as part of plea deals. None of the charges that have been brought appear to relate in any way to Page, or (so far as we know) to information learned from the surveillance of Page.

    So it’s entirely possible that investigators eventually concluded Page did nothing wrong and moved on to focus their probe elsewhere. Or not.

    9) That was long. Can I see a picture of Carter Page to close it out?


    • It’s just been revealed in March of 2016 Carter Page was an “employee” of the FBI and was working undercover for them in a case that resulted in the Guilty plea of a Russian…–i.e. it seems that he is the “mole” that the GPSFusion guy referred in his testimony that the FBI had “planted” in the Trump campaign before that statement was covered up as fast as possible….–So in March he is working for the FBI but by the end of the year they are claiming he is working for the Russians, an enemy…lol… so the FBI can use that new designation of their “employee” to spy on Trump–sounds like he was a Deep State plant and is “in on it” with the FBI and, uh a very big liar? Kinda changes how you look at things on your “timeline”….—https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/05/in-march-2016-carter-page-was-an-fbi-employee-in-october-2016-fbi-told-fisa-court-hes-a-spy/

  2. The controversial Nunes memo is out. Here’s what we know.

    What happens after #ReleaseTheMemo.

    By Jane Coaston – Feb 2, 2018

    Over continued objections from the FBI, the White House declassified a version of Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’s four-page memo on Friday, which alleges serious abuses of power by the FBI during its investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

    House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the memo on Monday, giving the White House five days to either release the memo or object, which would have sent the memo back to the House for a full vote on its release.

    The release of Nunes’s memo raises the stakes in a fight between House Republicans and the president on one side and House Democrats and the FBI on the other. Releasing the memo, which was rumored before its release to discuss classified information in depth, fulfills a demand by Trump supporters and many Republicans (and, allegedly, Trump himself).

    These Republicans argue that the release of the Nunes memo will permanently damage special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation. Experts say it could also be used as a pretext for Trump to clean house at the FBI — in particular by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation.

    The story behind the memo

    Devin Nunes, a Republican member of Congress and chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, authored the memo. It argues that during the 2016 presidential election, the FBI used the so-called Steele dossier, a largely unconfirmed opposition research document alleging collusion between Trump and Russia, as the basis for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

    The Steele dossier was created by the research firm Fusion GPS and was funded in part by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It’s unclear how much of the dossier’s claims (including those involving Trump’s sexual activities) are accurate, though a January 2017 report indicated that four US intelligence agencies took the dossier’s allegations seriously.

    The Nunes memo also contains allegations that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved an application to extend the surveillance of Page through the spring of 2017.

    “It’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign,” Nunes wrote in a statement on Wednesday afternoon regarding the FBI’s objections to the memo’s release.

    The basic argument behind the memo is this: Clinton’s presidential campaign funded the creation of the Steele dossier, and the FBI used the dossier as the flimsy basis for a warrant to surveil Page. With Rosenstein signing off on continued surveillance of Page in 2017, this somehow proves that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties is entirely based on support for Clinton within the FBI and anti-Trump animus.

    But the memo isn’t the whole story

    The release of the Nunes memo did not include the release of the underlying materials used in the FISA warrant application for Page. That’s important. As my colleagues Zack Beauchamp and Alex Ward explain:

    [T]he memo’s claims are impossible to evaluate without seeing the underlying intelligence it was based on. Nunes could have highlighted the FBI’s citation of Steele without mentioning other, more concrete sources the agency listed.

    “The memo won’t actually answer the underlying question, which is whether there was sufficient independent evidence to support the underlying FISA application,” Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said. “Only the application materials can conclusively shed a light on that.”

    A FISA warrant application for Page would have included any and all information the FBI felt a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge should see in order to grant a warrant in the first place. In the case of Page, that may have included information from the Steele dossier, but also more details on Page’s existing relationships with Russian officials, which have been known to the FBI since at least 2013. To get a warrant to surveil Page, the FBI would only have needed to prove that Page was an “agent” of a foreign entity, even if that did not entail illegal activity.

    And historically, it hasn’t been difficult for intelligence agencies to get FISA warrant applications approved by a judge. Warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are rarely denied — in fact, from 1979 to 2013, a FISC judge denied warrant requests just 12 times (with 533 requests for modifications to the warrant). In 2013, Slate reporter Brian Palmer found, “Despite receiving more than […] 1,000 requests every year since 2002, the court has never denied more than four applications in a single year.”

    What comes next?

    It’s unclear what the impact of the Nunes memo will be, as Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, who have already seen the memo, strongly disagree on its implications. House Republicans argue that the memo is evidence of an anti-Trump conspiracy within the FBI.

    House Democrats on the committee, on the other hand, say that the memo is merely part of Trump’s strategy to discredit Rosenstein, replace him as deputy attorney general, and ultimately end the Mueller investigation. They also point to the fact that Nunes was a member of Trump’s presidential transition team and has an extremely close relationship with the White House.

    Rosenstein is the person in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal. Rosenstein has defended Mueller in the past, telling Congress that he had “no good cause” to fire him from his role as special counsel.

    Before Rosenstein testified before Congress in December, Trump reportedly asked Rosenstein if he was “on his team.” That in and of itself isn’t necessarily unusual, but combined with an ongoing war of words among House Republicans with regards to Rosenstein, it points to an effort to delegitimize the deputy attorney general within the GOP and among Trump’s supporters, an effort that Trump himself has engaged in on Twitter.

    In theory, Trump firing Rosenstein would allow him to put in place a new deputy attorney general more amenable to Trump’s position — and more likely to either curtail Mueller’s investigatory powers or end the investigation altogether. In an interview with the Washington Post, former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said, “Rosenstein is in charge of the Mueller probe. He picked Mueller and has testified under oath that he won’t fire him absent clear misconduct. So if Rosenstein goes, Trump would pick a new deputy attorney general who would no doubt be much more compliant to Trump.” But as my colleague Andrew Prokop wrote in December, any effort to stop Mueller’s investigation or fire Mueller himself would be politically risky for Trump.

    But no matter what happens, the release of the Nunes memo only serves to escalate the conflict between the FBI and the Department of Justice and Trump’s Republican allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House itself.

  3. Special Report: From Publishing the Pentagon Papers to Suppressing Nunes’ Memo

    GEORGE NEUMAYR – February 1, 2018

    What happened to the media’s love of releasing government secrets?

    In anticipation of the release of the Nunes memo, the media’s servile and sanctimonious treatment of objecting government agencies grows more and more absurd. Suddenly, the admirers of Daniel Ellsberg are shills for suppressing government secrets. These are the same pundits who told everyone to go see The Post, Hollywood’s nostalgic tribute to the release of the Pentagon Papers. Have they changed their minds? Do they now think the real villains in the movie were the publishers and leakers of classified information? To hear the anchors and pundits today on MSNBC and CNN — hysterically itemizing all the potential damage to the functioning of the FBI and Justice Department the release of the Nunes memo might cause, quoting reverentially government officials censuring the memo — perhaps the real hero of the film should have been John Mitchell.

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored, of course. If the release of government secrets hurts Republicans or some cherished conservative cause, journalists support it. If the release hurts Democrats or some cherished liberal cause, they oppose it. Daniel Ellsberg, good. Devin Nunes, bad. But unlike Ellsberg, Nunes has broken no laws. No matter; the media will treat him as a traitor while exonerating real ones.

    In the New York Times, retrospectives on the Pentagon Papers will often appear, invariably portraying government officials as self-interested crooks or boobs and concluding with a windy quote or two from Hugo Black about the supreme importance of publication. Don’t let “national security” or other stated government interests trump the people’s right to know about government misdeeds — that’s the upshot of these pieces. But that’s the argument the Times is using against the Nunes memo. It quotes very piously and uncritically the “grave concerns” of FBI officials who argue “not to publish.”

    The ostensible scourges of stonewalling government officials are acting in this case as apologists for them. Journalists who wax nostalgic about the Church Committee now say intelligence agencies can do no wrong. Academics who affect a “question everything” skepticism on campus appear on TV and argue for docility. Trump’s mere disagreement with this or that government assessment is treated as automatically irrational.

    The long and the short of it is that the FBI and Justice Department have been caught out working with Hillary’s presidential campaign against Trump’s, and they don’t want the public to know it. Hillary bought a dossier and the FBI and Justice Department drew upon it to wiretap the Trump campaign. The media will spend the ensuing days telling its audience that such espionage is perfectly normal and that the real scandal is its exposure. The propaganda has already started up: Christopher Steele was a “trusted source,” the FBI had “other” reasons to spy on Carter Page, it had investigated him before, and so on.

    Every story peddled in recent days — Rosenstein doesn’t want the memo released, Wray may quit over its release, this or that white-hatted ruling class darling “fears” compromised sources and methods — is in service to the memo’s suppression. But the media, sensing that it needs a plan B, has hit upon another line of attack: the memo proves nothing. It is “underwhelming,” say reporters, citing anonymous White House sources. The media’s favorite word these days is “reportedly”: the memo “reportedly” reveals too much, it “reportedly” reveals too little.

    It is amusing to see all the old Nixon haters in the press sanitize and excuse political espionage and defend the FBI’s year-long attempt to hide it. ACLU-style liberals, usually so attentive to FISA warrant abuse, tell us to give the government the benefit of the doubt and stop whining about the civil liberties of goofball campaign volunteers.

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    Watergate started with a third-rate burglary; Obamagate originated in third-rate “intelligence.” Hillary partisans such as John Brennan and Loretta Lynch, assuming the worst about the Trump campaign, sent the FBI down the sorry trail that led to Steele and Hillary’s financed dossier. From this debacle came the next outrage, an outgoing administration spying on an incoming one, which in turn produced another one: an embittered campaign by the ruling class to hobble and impeach a president. To unravel it all would require a study as unsparing as the Pentagon Papers. But if it ever came, Ellsberg’s acolytes in the media would be the first to bury it.

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