The Trump administration disclosed on Saturday a previously top-secret set of documents related to the wiretapping of Carter Page, the onetime Trump campaign adviser who was at the center of highly contentious accusations by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. had abused its surveillance powers.
[Read the documents here.]
Democrats in February rejected the Republican claims that law enforcement officials had improperly obtained a warrant to monitor Mr. Page, accusing them of putting out misinformation to defend President Trump and sow doubts about the origin of the Russia investigation. But even as Republicans and Democrats issued dueling memos characterizing the materials underlying the surveillance of Mr. Page, the public had no access to the records.
On Saturday evening, those materials — an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Mr. Page, along with several renewal applications — were released to The New York Times and other news organizations that had filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain them. Mr. Trump had declassified their existence earlier this year.
“This application targets Carter Page,” the document said. “The F.B.I. believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.” A line was then redacted, and then it picked up with “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law. Mr. Page is a former foreign policy adviser to a candidate for U.S. president.”
Mr. Page has denied being a Russian agent and has not been charged with a crime in the nearly two years since the initial wiretap application was filed. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
The spectacle of the release was itself noteworthy, given that wiretapping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is normally one of the government’s closest-guarded secrets. No such application materials had apparently become public in the 40 years since Congress enacted that law to regulate the interception of phone calls and other communications on domestic soil in search of spies and terrorists, as opposed to wiretapping for ordinary criminal investigations.
The contents of the documents were the source of the now infamous "Memogate" disaster in February as Republicans wanted to release "proof" that the Mueller investigation was somehow illegitimate because it was started by the "illegal" wiretap of Page. Devin Nunes managed to screw that plan up royally.
It seems however that the Trump regime is trying the plan again by releasing redacted FISA documents, but I'm not sure what they're trying to sccomplish, as the documents make it clear Carter Page was a Russian agent working for the Trump Campaign.
I guess the plan is to try to undermine it, certainly the right-wing "legal eagles" at Power Line, Breitbart and The Federalist will be trying to do so, but the FISA documents are brutally damning.
Page has most certainly been flipped by Mueller already. My guess is that we're about to find out very soon who Page has flipped on, and that the Trump crew wants to get away from Putin and kids in cages and get next week going on attacking the Mueller probe.