Three weeks ago, House Republicans publicly released a much-hyped memoranda written by representative Devin Nunes of California. It alleged, through a series of allusions, tangential realities, and seeming misdirections, that law enforcement officers had abused their power in obtaining a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Now, in a 10 -page memo of their own, House Democrats are attempting to set the record straight.
The Democratic memo, though redacted in part, fills out the partial portrait Nunes had painted. And while it’s worth reading in full–especially for any fans of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s inner workings–a few sections stand out as particularly illuminating. It doesn’t tell us much, if anything, about the inquiry into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. But it says everything you need to know about the Nunes memo’s sophistry. Here are the key points.
The Carter Page Timeline Comes Into Focus
While redactions hide a few specific, the Democratic memo demonstrates clearly that the FBI had interest in Carter Page long before he joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Russian agents “ve been trying to” recruit Page at some phase prior to 2013. And then, per the new memoranda: “In 2013, lawyers indicted three other Russian spies, two of whom targeted page for recruitment.”
The FBI also apparently interviewed Page about its communications with Russian intelligence agents “multiple times, ” including in March 2016, the month Page joined the Trump campaign. In fact, the FISA application includes information about Page’s activity prior to joining the Trump campaign at all. All of that previous interest and activity helps dispel the idea that the focus on Page amounted to a “witch hunt” targeting Trump; “its been” surveillance into an individual with business ties to Russia whom the two countries had also spent times trying to recruit.