Still desperate to find any way to discredit the Mueller investigation, Trump is now ordering the release of some of the documents related to the Russian investigation, particularly parts of the FISA court order for surveillance on former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. It will fall as flat as the infamous Nunes memo did because, even if every single thing they say is true actually is, it wouldn’t change the fact that this surveillance was entirely justified.
President Trump on Monday ordered the Justice Department to declassify significant materials from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, including portions of a secret court order to surveil one of his former campaign advisers and the text messages of several former high-level FBI officials, including former FBI director James B. Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe…
Specifically, the president ordered the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify sections of the secret court order to surveil former campaign adviser Carter Page, along with FBI reports and interviews of him.
Trump also ordered the department to declassify interviews with Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr, who worked in the deputy attorney general’s office and had conversations with the author of a controversial dossier alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
He also ordered the release of text messages written by FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Strzok and Page were both involved in the Russia probe, as well as the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Here’s what they’re actually trying to do. They want to argue, as they’ve been arguing, that the FISA order authorizing surveillance on Carter Page was based entirely on the Steele dossier, which they somehow think discredits the entire investigation. But it doesn’t. Not even close. First of all, the FBI has confirmed many of the claims in the Steele dossier, including the claim that Page was being groomed as an asset by Russian intelligence agents. They got the surveillance order and then recorded numerous conversations between Page and known Russian intelligence agents. Those recordings where then used as evidence to extend the surveillance three more times (it has to be renewed every 90 days and they have to show that the surveillance is producing important and useful intelligence in order to get a renewal).Think about it. The entire job of the FBI’s counter-intelligence department is to keep tabs on intelligence agents — spies — operating in the United States. They find credible information to suggest that Page has been in contact with Russian spies who are grooming him as an asset. That evidence included not only information from the Steele dossier but also intercepted communications between those agents and the Kremlin back home talking about how they were grooming him. It would have been a clear dereliction of duty for the FBI not to get a surveillance order to find out more about the actions being taken, especially when the targeted asset was an adviser to the man who would potentially be the next president. How on earth could they not follow up on that in exactly the manner they did?
But they’re trying to argue that since the Steele dossier was paid for by someone close to the Clinton campaign — it was actually initially ordered by a Republican operative, then Fusion GPS picked it up — that taints the entire investigation. But that’s simply nonsense. Does that magically make all of the evidence that the Mueller team has gathered since then vanish into thin air? Does it magically make all of the crimes that Paul Manafort just pleaded guilty to disappear? Or the evidence he is now handing them? Of course not.
The same is true of the text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. Even if they hated Trump with the fire of a thousand suns and slagged him continuously, that does not change the evidence in the investigation one iota. It is utterly meaningless. And Bruce Ohr is just plain getting railroaded here. He is the DOJ’s foremost expert on the Russian mafia, so of course he was in contact with Christopher Steele, who was basically his counterpart in the British intelligence community as an expert on Russia. That fact changes absolutely nothing about the evidence the investigation has gathered.
This is just an attempt to throw a bunch of shit at the wall and hope some of it sticks. They’re desperately looking for scapegoats to build a conspiracy around. But they can’t answer one simple question: If the FBI and the DOJ wanted so badly to prevent Trump from becoming president, why did they keep this entire investigation a secret in the months leading up to the election? Why did they instead make public statements that damaged the Clinton campaign in the final weeks of the campaign? They can’t answer that question and all the confetti they throw into the air to distract attention from it doesn’t change a thing.