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02 February 2018

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Fool

What's interesting to me is how Fusion GPS, the media, etc. smelled blood the moment Trump mentioned Page as an advisor...
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/the-mystery-of-trumps-man-in-moscow-214283

So why would Manafort hire him? For one thing, he seems dumb as bricks. Moreover, shouldn't Manafort -- who I would imagine could get a meeting with anyone at Gazprom through his relationship with Firtash -- have seen right through Page's bloviating about his dealings with Gazprom?

What I hope is revealed going forward:
(a) who pulled strings to get Page on the campaign.
(b) what was in the FBI's prior file on Page (who, though the media seems to have ceased mentioning it, himself served as a marine intelligence officer).
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-advisers-public-comments-ties-to-moscow-stir-unease-in-both-parties/2016/08/05/2e8722fa-5815-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html?utm_term=.aac45071d96b

Rocketrepreneur

Tacitus,

Peace. Sorry if I came across as a troll. I don't post on here much, but Pat let me post some space technology/policy stuff on here occasionally.

To address your points:

1- Yes, I knew that this was for a FISA warrant not for wiretapping under Section 702. I was just trying to make the point that if the FBI is so corrupt and "deep statey" that we can't trust them even with warranted wiretapping, it seems odds that Nunes was so enthusiastic about expanding the Section 702 *warrantless* wiretapping, which has even less accountability when spying on US citizens. If Nunes had evidence that we can't trust the FBI, even when there are independent checks and balances (like the FISA Court judges, which I note the memo is pretty darned silent on), it seems really odd that he would be leading the charge on giving them more authority with even less accountability. That was my point.

2- My point on the dossier is that we have to be really careful about reading too much into this memo. Sure, it states that the dossier and the Yahoo interview were used as part of the evidence to justify surveillance on Carter Page (who it's worth noting had left the Trump campaign almost a month previous to the first FISA warrant application). But while it talks about how the Steele dossier in general hadn't been corroborated much, most of the Steele dossier had nothing to do with the actual target of the FISA warrant, Carter Page. It's worth noting that the memo is silent on the question of if the *relevant* parts of the Steele dossier for this specific warrant had been independently corroborated or not. I guess its possible that the FBI went to a FISA Judge with just a dossier and a public news article as all of the evidence they brought to bear. Or its possible that they used the tipoff from the dossier, did some digging, and came up with more solid evidence corroborating the fact that there was sufficient probably cause to justify wiretapping Carter. I guess my concern here is that the memo leaves out all sorts of information that if their case was as strong as they make it sound, you wonder why they did that.

3- Just to be clear--as a libertarian, I'm not generally a fan of the FBI, and am totally willing to believe that there are often agents or managers within the FBI with bad agendas. I'm just skeptical of this particular claim of conspiracy. The evidence is thin, the author of the memo isn't exactly an unbiased source (or one with a stellar track record for competence or honesty), and there is lots of other behavioral evidence (like his stance on Section 702) that seem really incongruous with a strong belief that the FBI was filled with criminal conspiracies and coup plotters.

4- In some ways this really reminds me a lot of what's been happening under Erdrogan in Turkey. Claim a deep state conspiracy/coup and use it as a justification for purging people in the government who don't place loyalty to the president over loyalty to their country.

Not trying to offend you with any of this (though I wouldn't be surprised if especially point #4 rubs you wrong), just making my observations. I really enjoy this blog and a lot of the reporting and discussion on here. But I'd feel remiss in not stating my piece here.

~Jon

patrick lang

aleksandr

She - Rosemary Collyer. pl

turcopolier

Dr. Puck

Have patience - everything in good time. This is a congressional paper. The Executive would have to take action to release the underlying documents. pl

Walrus

For the "nothingburger" crowd here, Nunes memo provides factual evidence of the blatant and deliberate use of State investigative powers for political purposes. This is big news because it is fact based. There is no innuendo or dissembling involved. The FISA court was deliberately and wilfully not told of the origins of the dossier despite multiple opportunities for multiple people to explain its provenance.

The reason for this deliberate sin of omission by implication is that the FISA Court would not permit surveillance based purely on this evidence.

The bigger questions now to be asked are what did the rest of the IC know and when did they know it? Were they aware and did they participate in this plot by the FBI?

How can the FBI, if at all, retain the trust of the American people, given its apparent penchant for manufacturing evidence via informers and entrapment, of which the Steele dossier is only the latest example?

Perhaps I am understating the problem; how can the American public and its congree, believe anything the intelligence community, the Justice Department or the FBI tells it?

Clerik

jsn wrote (in part): "The memo is an interpretation of facts so far not in evidence, at least to the public."

I don't think this is correct - the evidence on which this is based has been released to the public in April 2017, unless I'm mistaken.

Perhaps I'm confused here, but in one sense, hasn't this been a fight over whether to issue a summary (arguably an interpretive summary) of a much longer document that the public (or most of the public) is not likely to read, i.e., a fight over the issuance of a document that endeavors to focus public attention on what one side of the committee, Republican, deems most salient and/or damning? The Republicans have gone first - or dared, if you will - and it's possible that the Democrats may follow with their own interpretive summary.

If the Democrats do, I strongly suspect this will be diluted and diffused by the media portraying this as "two sides to a story", like, say, evolution or climate change, so let's not let this "controversy" distract us from continuing to pursue and dog Trump.

Account Deleted

Yes, the Transatlantic Deep State's mask has slipped here. This is the true nature of the 'Special Relationship'.

Walrus

Your point #3; do you not understand the "fishing" nature of the warrant? All of Pages communications, phone email, etc. with anyone are tapped and whatever information they contain is extracted. ALL of it! A single chance reference by Page to any "interesting" subject is then enough to start a second investigation, then a Third.

Hopefully in the minds of the plotters the chain of investigation turns up sufficient dirt on Trump to allow impeachment.

DC

Well, bowl me over with a feather. I was expecting some salacious stuff in the memo, but most everything in there is what we already knew, except for some inside baseball details that nobody outside of the beltway and the IC community cares about. The main takeaway: the FBI was continuing to go after a guy, Page, who they'd had their eye on for a long time. Trump? No. Anyone else? No.

What's not in the memo? Nothing on Trump. The Dodgy Dossier allegations concerning Trump are still unverified, to put it mildly. The only leaks we have so far from Mueller's office are that he might have Trump on "obstruction," with no underlying substantive crime. Weak stuff. It sure looks like Trump is going to be our President for the full four years. He will pardon some family members. Good luck with it, Trump.

Joe100

Sundance at Conservative Treehouse has presented the best description I have seen of how the House and Senate Intelligence Committee leads, along with the House and Senate Judiciary lead and the DOJ OIG have what appears to be a coordinated, multi-stage process to eventually flush out the rest of this "iceberg". For example, a recent post suggested that the House memo would likely drive pressure to declassify key evidence that remains classified, etc. and that each of these entities is working (in a coordinated fashion) on different parts of this "elephant" with much more to come.

Thus it appears that the Nunes memo is just an early, and well thought through first step in this process.

Martin Oline

The Inspector General of the Department of Justice's report will be released in March. That is when I expect the process of filing criminal charges to begin.

Greco
Why do you suppose Nunes didn't choose to verify and etch this claim with the stronger evidence likely contained in the underlying FISA rationales and complete picture of the FISA application attached to this memo?

Look at page 4 of the memo: "Our findings indicate [...] that material and relevant information was omitted."

The memo outlines, for example, that the FBI didn't explain to the FISC that the DNC had paid Fusion GPS. They deliberately omitted this fact despite it's implications of partisan bias.

So the better question is: why did FBI and DOJ officials not verify and etch their claim to the FISC with a complete picture and with stronger evidence?

Sylvia 1

In the 5th section of the memo we see this sentence: "The Papadopolus information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strozk." This refers to the claim that a drunken Papadopolus told an Australian diplomat much earlier in 2016 that the Russians had Clinton e-mails. The article claimed that when the diplomat realized the importance of this information, he contacted US authorities. When the New York Times wrote about last December I put it in the category of CYA believing that the investigation had probably been triggered by the dossier. This could end up being a very important point. What did trigger an FBI investigation into the campaign of the opposing candidate for President?

Account Deleted

PT

My overwhelming feeling here is of the Rubicon having been crossed. Other commentators here have expressed the view that the memo alone adds little to what is already known (at least here). The FBI/DoJ take a reputational hit and some may face charges. The Never Trumpers are incandescent with rage at what they see as a partisan act in the memo's release, whilst team Trump now senses blood and will demand more of the same - more evidence of the rot, more coup plotters.

The already dysfunctional, highly polarized political system is now in danger of infecting & fracturing legal and IC institutions. Those implicated are current or former colleagues and bosses to a great number of people. How many previously nonaligned inside the DoJ & FBI are right now feeling they have to choose whose side to be on. For or against Comey, for or against Sally Yates etc. The poison is spreading, but it is also the cure.

Trump has begun the cathartic process - that was the easy part. If he stops now it will be like opening the patient up and failing to remove most of the tumor. Has he the courage and conviction to see this though?

Leaky Ranger

The memo vindicates the FBI. It was Papadopoulus who triggered FISA.
http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/372043-memo-papadopoulos-info-triggered-fbis-russia-investigation

David O White

The interesting thing to me, as a long time libtard, is that my fellow travelers and I have always viewed the FBI suspiciously as a rather right-of-center organization to say the least. How is it that they are now handmaidens to the left??

Jack

Nothingburger? Why do you think hysteria yesterday from media, Democrats, Brennan, Comey, Holder? Will we see same hysteria by these folks to make public FISA applications, testimony, Bruce Ohr communications, Fusion GPS bank transactions, etc?

That would speak loudly.

Flavius

Initial thoughts and key points of which to be mindfull:
The memo asserts that McCabe testified that the FISC warrant would not have been sought without the Steele information. This strongly suggests that the Steele info was critical, if not necessarily the only, probable cause adduced. Steele himself is a foreign national. The reliabilty and credibility of the information appears to have been claimed on the basis of Steele's prior relationship with the FBI, not on the reliability and credibility of Steele's alleged sources in Russia. This is a critical and inexplicable failing. It is incomprehensible that the Agents handling Steele, and paying Steele, would not have insisted on learning the identities of his sources in Russia so that they could verify their existence, at least, and determine the circumstances as to how they came by their information, their motivation, whether they were being paid, etc, so that the information could be properly assessed.
The memo is unclear on what constituted the probable cause for the extensions. If the extensions were applied for on the basis of the continuing Steele inquiries, this also would be a problem.
Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein were signing off on these applications. These were extraordinary applications and by no means routine: what were they thinking about? Were they completely incurious as to the ultimate sourcing of the information? Inexplicable incompetence? This wouldn't pass muster in a stolen car case.
Trump and Sessions need to figure some way to get this plumbed and out of the media covering political cat fights and competing tweets because it is their DoJ and their FBI that is going down the tubes in the public estimation

turcopolier

David O White

I am quite sure that your fellow libtards are correct about the rank and file. It is the politically appointed or advanced at the top that are the chekist wannabes in this. pl

Fredw

"Largely is not entirely, black is not completely white, tyranny is freedom and so."

It's not that hard. No human affair is ever all one thing. Iran may qualify as a tyranny, but it is not the same kind of tyranny as Saddam's Iraq or Putin's Russia. You have to understand how the pieces fit together to have any useful knowledge.

Not believing the some of the contents of the Steele dossier doesn't mean that they are all wrong. "Largely based on" or even "critical to" does not exclude the existence of other reasons for follow up. It is almost impossible to prove that there was no Russian election project (your apparent conviction) without actually examining people events. Russian involvement is consistent with everything I know about their attitudes and actions in Europe. The Trump cmapign's conscious involvement is a different question entirely, and seemingly much less plausible. The best argument I have seen for their "innocence" is the probing nature of the purported meetings. They seem to have been looking for something, not exploiting something they already had.

I take it as the FBI's job to check these things out. That doesn't in itself make them "unfair" or "biased". Would you really want them to ignore such "information"? The difficulty comes in when they cross the line into "unreasonable search and seizure". They may have. They certainly have at times in the past. But that question is certainly not settled by this memo. Or even much addressed. What I read is plaintive crying that "people who don't like me were looking at me!" Possibly true. But you won't get much intelligence or law enforcement if that is the standard that cannot be crossed.

Using such "information" as the basis of public accusations would cross the line. And there were people doing that. But not, so far as I know, the FBI. All they are accused of is following up on data deemed to unreliable. Quietly following up. Very quietly. Scarily quietly for some people, but that's a different issue.

Account Deleted

"pressure to declassify" - yes a phrase we are going to hear a good deal of in the coming weeks/months. But anyone who thinks this will lead to a Dem rout and Trump's team coming up smelling of roses will likely be disappointed. We are well into MAD territory here.

Sid Finster

"...the stronger evidence likely contained in the underlying FISA rationales...."

You assume facts not in evidence.

iowa steve

Perhaps they're be handmaidens to the neoconservatives, but they're not "handmaidens to the left".

Nor do I think that the dems who embrace such as Kristol or From bear any resemblance to what I would consider leftwing. Liberals yes, but not left or progressive in any meaningful sense of the term.

Rhondda

Well, if it was Manafort who brought Page in, the question would seem to be who brought in Manafort.

There’s been a lot speculation that it was Roger Stone. Certainly they knew each other, but Stone hasn’t confirmed that, so far as I can tell.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/roger-stone-convinced-trump-to-hire-paul-manafort-former-officials-say

So, maybe Stone…but consider this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hes-better-than-this-says-thomas-barrack-trumps-loyal-whisperer/2017/10/10/067fc776-a215-11e7-8cfe-d5b912fabc99_story.html

“It was Barrack who persuaded Trump to hire political operative Paul Manafort — whom Barrack first met in Beirut 40 years ago — for the presidential campaign. Trump never publicly criticized Barrack for the advice, even as Manafort came under investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in a probe examining whether the campaign colluded with Russia.”

Thomas Barrack. Certainly someone I had never heard of, a real behind-the-scenes guy, but quite the powerhouse, it seems. And very close to Trump, per the article. Involved in all kinds of things in the Middle East. What a very interesting person. He seems like exactly the sort of person one would think would probably be an intelligence asset of some kind.

I also find it pretty interesting what sort of things Mr. Manafort was involved in. Ukraine. Beirut. He gets around. And then Mr. Page is ex Navy intelligence, too. As was Bannon, correct? Humdeedum. Quite the conclave of IC-connected folks.

Dr. Puck

That would speak loudly. But, my completely inexpert sense is that the underlying picture and documentation of the Page surveillance will not be in the sunlight, ever.

However, I'd like the whole package released, and Trump could do it yesterday. Alas, if it doesn't support his claims, it would be stupid to air it all out.

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