Hallelujah! Can I hear an amen!!
I think the President must have heard us. Trump has ordered the declassification of some of the key documents relating to the so-called Trump/Russia investigation, including portions of the surveillance warrant application and the renewals to spy on one-time Trump campaign associate Carter Page, FBI reports of interviews (“302s”) related to the application, additional interviews of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, and all text messages from Ohr, former FBI Director James Comey, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page that are related to the Russia investigation --- WITHOUT REDACTIONS.
It won’t be just the newly unredacted material that is interesting, but also the apparent rationale the FBI had for making the redactions in the first place. At this point, most of us aren’t naive enough to assume the redactions were done in the name of national security as claimed. When we see the “what,” we’ll probably be able to figure out the “why.”
We’ve had a good idea of what was going on for quite some time, and now these documents should offer confirmation for what we’ve long suspected: corruption and “collusion” at the highest levels of our intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracy, in perhaps the biggest political scandal of our time. These people became what John Solomon of The Hill calls “a political attack machine.” The oddest thing about Trump’s decision to declassify is that there are actually “journalists” (I have to use quotation marks here) expressing their disapproval of it.
Since when do reporters not want newsworthy documents declassified? I guess that only happens when the results are going to politically harm their friends. In a better, less politicized environment, everyone –- on both the left and the right –- would be concerned about this stunning abuse of power.
One thing we’ve learned from Lisa Page’s testimony from July of this year before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees is that nine months into the FBI investigation, at the time Robert Mueller took over the case, no evidence of “collusion” with Russia on the part of Trump or his campaign had been found. “It still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing,” she said in her closed-door hearing. Of course, that fact didn’t stop deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from appointing Mueller as special counsel and giving him free rein to venture into any and all “related matters.”
Mueller was appointed special counsel in May of 2017, taking over the Trump/Russia “investigation” just eight days after Comey was deservedly fired by President Trump. As FOX News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge points out, Strzok texted Lisa Page just two hours after Comey was fired, saying, “We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting.” That’s a reference to Andrew “Andy’s office” McCabe, who as deputy would have been acting in Comey’s place.
Page texted back, “We need to lock in (redacted), in a formal chargeable way. Soon.” I’m really looking forward to seeing that sentence, and all the others, without those thick black bars.
House Democrats reacted to Trump’s announcement in exactly the way we’ve come to expect. (They are so predictable.) California Rep. Adam Schiff called the move “an abuse of power, not about transparency” though it is clearly within the President’s power to do this and it is ALL about transparency. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “The President is potentially risking the lives of our patriots by compromising sources and methods, all so he can advance falsehoods and false narratives that distract from the truth of the Trump-Russia scandal.” Two things about that: First, “the truth of the Trump-Russia scandal” is that there is still no evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia. Second, the “sources and methods” being compromised are sources like Hillary-financed political hack/ex-spy Christopher Steele and methods like the FBI leaking anti-Trump stories to the New York Times and Washington Post.
The declassified documents are expected to show that there was really no basis for the FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page and that important information –- exculpatory evidence concerning Carter Page (who has never been charged with anything despite being accused of being a Russian agent) and George Papadopoulos (who recently pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and was sentenced to 14 days in jail) –- was kept from the FISA court. The warrant applications will be shown to have relied heavily on the unverified Steele “dossier.” Our government had no business spying on an American citizen, but they did, apparently just because it was a “way in” to the Trump campaign.
The declassification is not immediate – it does take some time –- but the White House wants it done as soon as possible. It can’t happen soon enough. Herridge reports that the first documents could start appearing within days and that the first to be declassified will most likely be the FISA warrant application against Carter Page and the FBI interviews with Ohr.
Most major news organizations will dig out their 10-foot poles with which to NOT touch this story, but we’ll be all over it here. In the name of transparency.