Republican Judge: Any Judge Would Have Signed Page FISA Warrant

Republican Judge: Any Judge Would Have Signed Page FISA Warrant July 30, 2018

A retired judge who was appointed by the first President Bush has an op-ed in the Washington Post strongly criticizing the attacks on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the FISA warrant that authorized the wiretapping of former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. He said there isn’t a judge on the federal bench from either party who would not have signed that warrant given the evidence.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein has become the latest bogeyman for members of the House Freedom Caucus. As these Republicans see it, Rosenstein is guilty of impropriety in connection with the Justice Department’s application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page based on the untenable assertion that the FBI and Justice Department deliberately misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.

The assertion is false, not least of all since Rosenstein was not involved in the original FISA application (he only became involved when signing the third extension of the application). But that hasn’t prevented members of the Freedom Caucus from calling for Rosenstein’s impeachment this week — a motion that has since been tabled, reportedly because House leadership agreed to hold a vote on whether Rosenstein is in contempt of Congress later in September.

Regardless, the claim that Rosenstein or anyone else involved in the FISA application did something inappropriate is wrong. Having served for 13 years as a federal judge, I can say with confidence that any judge who reviewed the FISA applications would have granted them and that there is no basis to assert that anyone attempted to mislead the court.

This is so obvious to anyone who understands even a little bit about counter-intelligence work. The FBI had intercepts from Russian intelligence agents discussing how they were grooming Page to be an asset. They had Page himself traveling to Moscow to deliver a speech that praised Putin and criticized American policy toward Russia, and meeting with high-ranking Kremlin officials while he was there. Had they not gone and gotten a warrant to track what he was saying and doing, they would have been negligent and failing to do their jobs.

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