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F.B.I. Obtained FISA Warrant For Top Trump Adviser

Trump Russia

The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a warrant to monitor the communications of a top Trump campaign adviser as part of its broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and contact between Trump campaign officials during and after the election:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department might later seek charges against him or others in connection with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections began in July, officials have said. Most such investigations don’t result in criminal charges.

The officials spoke about the court order on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of a counterintelligence probe.

During an interview with the Washington Post editorial page staff in March 2016, Trump identified Page, who had previously been an investment banker in Moscow, as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks later described Page’s role as “informal.”

Page has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with the Trump campaign or Russia.

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He compared surveillance of him to the eavesdropping that the FBI and Justice Department conducted against civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He compared surveillance of him to the eavesdropping that the FBI and Justice Department conducted against civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The White House, FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.

Comey declined to comment during the hearing about any individuals, including Page, who worked in Moscow for Merrill Lynch a decade ago and who has said he invested in Russian energy giant Gazprom. In a letter to Comey in September, Page had said he had sold his Gazprom investment.

During the hearing last month, Democratic lawmakers repeatedly singled out Page’s contacts in Russia as a cause for concern.

The judges who rule on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests oversee the nation’s most sensitive national security cases, and their warrants are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Any FISA application has to be approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI.

While the FISA Courts have drawn criticism over the years due to their secrecy, the law that governs them is identical to that which governs the issuance of warrants by an ordinary Federal District Court. Among other things, this means that law enforcement is required to make at least some showing of probable cause that a crime might have been committed or that the subject of the warrant may be engaged in illegal activity of some kind. The major difference in these cases, of course, is that the evidence that law enforcement relies on is classified and can’t be revealed in the kind of public filing that would ordinarily accompany a request for a search warrant from a Federal Judge. In this case, it appears from the description of what was involved involves Page’s name repeatedly coming up in connection with routine monitoring of the communications of Russian government officials here in the United States and overseas. It should be noted, though, that the fact that a warrant was issued does not mean that Page did anything improper or illegal, or that he is the focus of an investigation at this time. It may well be the case that the deeper search warrant uncovered that there was nothing improper about Page’s conflict, and unless and until he’s charged with a crime and convicted he should be presumed to be innocent of any wrongdoing.

Despite those caveats, his isn’t the first time that Page’s name has come up in stories regarding contact between the Trump campaign and his contacts with Russian officals, which pre-date the time during which he was affiliated with the Trump campaign:

Page’s role as an adviser to the Trump campaign drew alarm last year from more-established foreign policy experts in part because of Page’s effusive praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his criticism of U.S. sanctions over Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

In July, Page traveled to Moscow, where he delivered a speech harshly critical of the United States’ policy toward Russia.

While there, Page allegedly met with Igor Sechin, a Putin confidant and chief executive of the energy company Rosneft, according to a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer and cited at a congressional hearing by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Officials said some of the information in the dossier has been verified by U.S. intelligence agencies, and some of it hasn’t, while other parts are unlikely to ever be proved or disproved.

(…)

Three years before Page became an adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents, who learned that Russian spy suspects had sought to use Page as a source for information.

In that case, one of the Russian suspects, Victor Podobnyy — who was posing as a diplomat and was later charged by federal prosecutors with acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government — was captured on tape in 2013 discussing an effort to get information and documents from Page. That discussion was detailed in a federal complaint filed against Podobnyy and two others. The court documents in that spy case only identify Page as “Male 1.” Officials familiar with the case said that “Male 1” is Page.

In one secretly recorded conversation, detailed in the complaint, Podobnyy said Page “wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back. I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am. Plus he writes to me in Russian [to] practice the language. He flies to Moscow more often than I do. He got hooked on Gazprom thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up. Maybe he can. I don’t know, but it’s obvious that he wants to earn lots of money.”

The same court document says that in June 2013, Page told FBI agents that he met Podobnyy at an energy symposium in New York, where they exchanged contact information. In subsequent meetings, Page shared with the Russian his outlook on the state of the energy industry, as well as documents about the energy business, according to the court papers.

This news comes at a time during which news about the Russian election meddling investigation has quieted down significantly as attention has shifted to Syria and what appears to be a growing rift between the United States and Moscow over Syria policy. Nonetheless, this news makes it clear that that investigation remains in place, and a reminder that we have yet to even see the beginning of what seem likely to be parallel investigations by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Given that, it seems likely that we’ll be hearing the name Carter Page quite a lot in the coming months.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teve tory says:

    Last week it came out that Kushner also hid his russian connections.

    It would be simpler to make a list of the Trump associates who aren’t hip-deep with Putin.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Yup…
    Then there is Manafort who was forced to resign when the infamous Ukraininan ledger, which allegedly details money-laundering, surfaced.
    At the time Manafort said the ledger was fabricated and there was no proof he received any money.
    Now he says he received money but it was all on the up-and-up.
    Then there is Trumps own history…when he was tanking financially and apparently turned to laundering Russian money for a life-line.
    And of course, Flynn.
    And of course, Roger Stone.
    And of course Felix Sater.
    Where there is smoke, and smoke, and smoke, and smoke, and smoke…there is likely fire.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  3. Gustopher says:

    Again we must ask “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”, and again we must come to the uncomfortable realization that he might still not know, having declared anything that doesn’t agree with him as “fake news.” And that the man is a blithering idiot.

    Those are the two choices — he either was knowingly working with agents of a foreign government (actually, two foreign governments, since Flynn was being paid by Turkey), or he was an unwitting dupe surrounded by agents of foreign governments.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

    You’ll never get an honest answer from Trump, given that he’s now lying about knowing Steve Bannon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  5. Pete S says:

    About time for Trump to do a “Carter who?” tweet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Drip. . . drip. . . drip. . .

    As a story guy this feels on an intuitive level like there’s a story-teller here. The narrative has a rhythm. This source waited until the fauxtaliation news was done and then dropped the next piece of the puzzle on the table. There’s at least one Deep Throat at work, is there an uber-Throat pacing this whole thing, parceling out the minimum necessary to keep the story alive?

    It’s hard to war-game this since the Trump administration is hopelessly incompetent. Have they decided on their ‘John Dean’ yet? Do they have a designated patsy? Manafort is probably going down, Mike Flynn as well. They have Carter Page by the balls, but does he know anything or is he, as the FSB evidently decided, just ‘an idiot?’ Who’s going to roll over for the FBI?

    I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to live through both Watergate, and the scandal that dwarfs Watergate. An embarrassment of riches for a political junkie.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 1

  7. Franklin says:

    “This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said

    Sure it’s politically motivated, if you consider the animosity between the U.S. and Russia as merely a matter of political differences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Actually, there’s now some gossip that the Russians were poking their fingers into the British voting on Brexit. (DOS attacks against the government website to register for voting.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. David Anderson says:

    @michael reynolds: Mind if I steal this comment to highlight over at Balloon Juice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. David Anderson says:

    @michael reynolds: Mind if I steal this comment to highlight over at Balloon Juice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @David Anderson:
    Not at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Pch101 says:

    I’m starting to think that the attack on Syria was motivated in part by a desire to support a PR campaign that is intended to separate the Trump regime from this kind of story.

    I might also be inclined to believe that Putin’s blustering is part of a decoy effort to support the cover story of the so-called president. It would certainly behoove Putin to obscure those connections as much as possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @CSK: I have you – and the SATs – to thank for this thought that I had after reading about Bannon’s position within the White House last week:

    “Bannon is to the Trump family as Trump is to NYC Society.”

    Not a perfect analogy, since the Trumps were willing to use Bannon as long as he was useful. But there’s something there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. James Pearce says:

    Page has not been accused of any crimes

    Having received a FISA warrant to monitor his calls, he’s a lot closer to being “accused of crimes” than Hillary “Lock her Up!” Clinton or Susan Rice ever were.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to live through both Watergate, and the scandal that dwarfs Watergate. An embarrassment of riches for a political junkie.

    “May you live in interesting times.” First time I’ve watched from the inside as a country fell apart.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Eric Florack says:

    @teve tory: the battle lines are being drawn between the Democrats who believe despite all evidence Trump is up to his eyeballs in bromance with Putin, and those who were screaming bloody murder that he’s going to get us involved in a war with Russia.

    The cognitive dissonance is getting more amusing all the time

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 27

  17. Mikey says:

    It is impossible to overstate what a big deal this is for Page. A FISA order against an American citizen is not easy to get. The justification presented to the FISC judge was probably multiple hundreds of pages.

    The FBI doesn’t go to the FISC with an application on an American citizen unless they are already well into building a case. Page is in trouble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Pch101:

    I’m starting to think that the attack on Syria was motivated in part by a desire to support a PR campaign that is intended to separate the Trump regime from this kind of story.

    This makes perfect sense when you consider that Comb-over Donnie told Putin about it before-hand, and Putin was sure to inform Assad.

    “Hey Vlad buddy, I need a distraction so I’m going to lob a few Tomahawks at an airstrip. Make sure you and Assad get your planes out of there, first.

    Of course the airstrip was back in action the very next day…so we know damage was minimal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    who believe despite all evidence Trump is up to his eyeballs in bromance with Putin

    Bromance? No.
    Who said much about a bromance?
    Does Putin have his thumb on Comb-over Donnie? Fvck yes.
    Take your straw-men back to your racist hovel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Good lord. There is roughly a thousand times more smoke coming from the corrupt Trump administration than ever issued forth from Obama or Clinton. These people are up to their eyeballs in Russia. Flynn, Page, Stone, Manafort, Jared, Prince – all with direct contact either with corrupt Russian oligarchs, dirty banks, or FSB agents. And sometimes all three.Your boy is dirty. The only question now is whether he survives his term or goes to jail.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    They’ve got Page dead to rights, Russian agents discussing him and laughing. And Manafort is neck deep in money-laundering. Trump’s people knew about Flynn at least two weeks before he was fired allegedly for lying to Pence. But by then Trump knew Flynn had borscht all over his Brooks Brothers suit but left him in place. Why? The answer that suggests itself is that Trump didn’t care that Flynn was chatting with Russian spies and then lying about it because Trump knew full well Flynn was taking dirty rubles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They’ve got Page dead to rights, Russian agents discussing him and laughing.

    Even that probably wouldn’t rise to the level of a FISA warrant application. The FBI has to have something that indicates probable cause Page was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power. They have to have evidence he’s actually done something, or conspired with others to do something. Meetings might be enough to raise interest or suspicion, but to actually put up surveillance on him? There’s something significant that wasn’t leaked, because leaking what he actually did would compromise the overall investigation.

    Anyway, the guy’s toast, no matter what. He’ll either go to trial or flip on whoever else is involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  23. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    So, when did The Narrative flip from “Trump is crazy to think he was wire-tapped by the feds” to “Trump is crazy to think he wasn’t wire-tapped by the feds?”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    Nice try, no sale.

    There is zero evidence that Trump was tapped. Zero.

    Unless you want to conflate Page and Manafort and Flynn with Trump. Is that what you mean to do? Because I have to tell you, Trump has already distanced himself from Flynn and Manafort. So I’d be careful who I conflate.

    It’s the special challenge you face in attempting to defend an idiot – you never know what he’ll say or allege next.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. CSK says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    You’re welcome. There are, of course, differences. I don’t think Bannon was ever desperate to be accepted in the uppermost levels of NY Society, which Trump was, and never would be. Not just because he’s a buffoon/oaf/vulgarian (the qualities that endeared him to his base) but because you have to be born into those circles.

    I think Trump made two very bad decisions: He thought Bannon could be discarded once he’d outlived his usefulness, and he thought that Bannon, Ivanka, and Jared could occupy the same playpen.

    Now Trump’s in a bad way. If he dumps Bannon to keep Ivanka and Jared happy, Bannon unleashes the wrath of the base on him.

    I couldn’t be happier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: So, you’re willing to go on record that there was absolutely zero possibility that Trump was recorded in a conversation with Flynn or Manafort or Page? Completely and without reservation?

    That’s the way it’s heading. It may not get there, but that’s where it’s heading.

    Here’s a possibility that won’t even be entertained here, but I’ll toss it out anyway.

    We know that the Russians hacked Hillary and the DNC.

    We know that the Russians attempted to hack the RNC, and were detected — the FBI confirmed this.

    So, here’s the notion: the Russians attempted to hack all parties, but succeeded with the Democrats because they didn’t take cybersecurity seriously. (We know this because Hillary was more worried about domestic political opponents and legal oversight than actual foreign enemies, and John Podesta is a cybermoron who clicked on a phishing email.)

    So, the Russians, already owning Hillary through her server, the DNC server, The Podesta Group taking millions from Russia, the Clinton Foundation through massive donations, Uranium One, and a bunch of other ties, focused on Trump because they didn’t need any more efforts to get their hooks into Hillary.

    Plus, they — like so many others, including pretty much everyone here — figured Hillary had it in the bag, so they weren’t so much boosting Trump as weakening the inevitable President Hillary. And they, like pretty much everyone here — were completely blindsided by Trump winning.

    Plus, so far Trump’s done quite a bit that has been to Russia’s detriment. Is he trying to secure his cover, is he showing that he’s a really bad investment, or is this whole “Trump is Putin’s puppet” complete BS, fabricated by people who can’t accept that they got their asses handed to them by the American electorate, who got fed up with their crap and said “screw you, here’s Trump?”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 22

  27. al-Alameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, when did The Narrative flip from “Trump is crazy to think he was wire-tapped by the feds” to “Trump is crazy to think he wasn’t wire-tapped by the feds?”

    Yes, it certainly appears that many people in federal intelligence agencies knew that Trump and/or many of his associates had business and possible campaign dealings with Russians.

    A very good question might be: “Did Trump actually think that if he won the election, and Republicans controlled Congress, none of this would become public news?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  28. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @al-Alameda: “Yes, it certainly appears that many people in federal intelligence agencies knew that Trump and/or many of his associates had business and possible campaign dealings with Russians.”

    And it appears that they have no problems with breaking the law regarding unmasking identities to get that information out, either.

    Wasn’t it convenient that, just before Trump’s inauguration, Obama relaxed the rules on distributing raw, unredacted intelligence across a whole bunch of people? I’m sure that the consequence of increasing the possible pool of leak suspects from a handful to a couple hundred or more was an unforeseen, unforeseeable consequence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Let’s start here. Tell me if you comprehend the difference between:

    a) There is zero evidence that Trump was tapped. Zero.

    and,

    b) So, you’re willing to go on record that there was absolutely zero possibility that Trump was recorded in a conversation with Flynn or Manafort or Page?

    There is zero evidence that I enjoy eating candied ants.

    That is not a statement that there is zero chance I will enjoy eating candied ants should I ever be drunk enough to try one.

    The rest of your reply was fever swamp gibberish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  30. teve tory says:

    Trump said Obama wiretapped him. He wasn’t wiretapped, and it wasn’t by Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: There was zero evidence that Flynn or Manafort or Page were tapped — until there was.

    I strongly suspect that if I were to peruse the archives here, I’d find plenty of declarations that it was ridiculous that any people close to Trump were being surveilled by US intelligence agencies, and anyone asserting that was paranoid and projecting.

    Here’s another fun thought: Trump won the electoral count, was certified the winner, was voted for by a majority of the electors, the electors’ vote was accepted by Congress, and he was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But the majority here says he’s “illegitimate.”

    Justice Gorsuch was nominated by the president, confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate, and sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But the majority here say he’s “illegitimate,” too.

    Congratulations! You’re the new Birthers!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    There was zero evidence that Flynn or Manafort or Page were tapped — until there was.

    So. . . assume everything exists until its non-existence can be proved? Can I assume that Scarlett Johansen thinks I’m hot? Can I assume leprechauns will fix my shoes?

    I’m sorry, I would waste an hour or so of my time in a back-and-forth that would only confirm that you’re punching way above your weight, but I did not get my pages done, so I think I’ll go do some paying work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  33. An Interested Party says:

    So, the Russians, already owning Hillary through her server, the DNC server, The Podesta Group taking millions from Russia, the Clinton Foundation through massive donations, Uranium One, and a bunch of other ties, focused on Trump because they didn’t need any more efforts to get their hooks into Hillary.

    Hmm…so the response to the idea that Trump and Putin are cozy is to try to make up a relationship between Hillary and Putin? I thought the “I know you are but what am I?” argument lost its effectiveness on the playground…apparently not for some people…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Here’s another fun thought: Trump won the electoral count, was certified the winner, was voted for by a majority of the electors, the electors’ vote was accepted by Congress, and he was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But the majority here says he’s “illegitimate.”

    He did lose the popular vote…in that way, he can be seen as illegitimate…

    Justice Gorsuch was nominated by the president, confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate, and sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But the majority here say he’s “illegitimate,” too.

    Umm, Mitch McConnell’s actions regarding Merrick Garland were unprecedented…no Democratically-controlled Senate ever did anything like that to a Republican Supreme Court nominee…the seat that Gorsuch now sits in was stolen from the last president…so yes, he very much is illegitimate…

    Oh, by the way, neither of these things is anything like saying that Barack Obama wasn’t born in this country…try again…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  35. Grumpy Realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I still don’t think Trump has the intelligence to actually plan this all out. I can see him getting into the hooks of the Russian klepto-mafia because nobody in NYC finance would lend to him any more. And I see him getting deeper and deeper into the sleeze because Trump couldn’t care less about whether what he was doing was legit or might possibly cause problems down the line. As long as you dangle the possibility of building a large phallic building with TRUMP on it before him, Trump will happily sign up to anything. The Russians, being no dummies, decided Trump would make a great Useful Idiot and decided to let loose their army of trolls and see what they could provoke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  36. Mikey says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, you’re willing to go on record that there was absolutely zero possibility that Trump was recorded in a conversation with Flynn or Manafort or Page?

    Don’t try to pull this goalpost-moving bullshit. Trump didn’t allege incidental collection. He alleged direct surveillance at Trump Tower ordered illegally by Obama, and these are all allegations for which there exists no evidence whatsoever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  37. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: It is the company Trump keeps…and btw, Trump could be in some kind of perverse bromance with Putin and still get us into a war. That is how crazy he is. In fact, he might do a lot of chest pounding just to cover up for all the butt kissing he has been doing for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Mencken, thou shouldst be living at this hour. He called it back in 1925:

    “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  39. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: Boy, is my face red. It literally never occurred to me that a world-renowned fabulist would resort to pedantic tricks in an argument.

    So, let’s try that again.

    There was no publicly-accessible proof that Flynn or Manafort or Page were being recorded by US intelligence agencies for quite some time — until there was.

    There is currently no publicly-accessible proof that Trump was recorded by US intelligence agencies. I am open to that changing.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  40. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: So, you’re only “Interested” in a partisan investigation into Russia’s role in the election? You want to only look at their efforts vis-a-vis the GOP, and what they did with Camp Hillary needs to be swept under the rug?

    Thanks for making that clear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So, when did The Narrative flip from “Trump is crazy to think he was wire-tapped by the feds” to “Trump is crazy to think he wasn’t wire-tapped by the feds?”

    Bob, I think you have a pretty basic misunderstanding as to what is going on. Trump-kins claimed Obama was spying on them for political advantage. There’s been no evidence raised to that effect. But it turns out that in trying to prove that, it’s been revealed that one of Trump’s advisers is under investigation for the FBI for colluding with the Russians. You seem to think that that’s some kind of vindication? Donny boy is in big trouble. It’s not a vindication, it’s a revelation that, at the very least, there is probable cause to believe his administration is infested with traitors to the nation. Why is it that you think this helps your boy Donny?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  42. An Interested Party says:

    So, you’re only “Interested” in a partisan investigation into Russia’s role in the election? You want to only look at their efforts vis-a-vis the GOP, and what they did with Camp Hillary needs to be swept under the rug?

    Not at all…but the GOP Circus in Congress has had plenty of time to come up with some dirt on Hillary and have they found anything of substance? Meanwhile, I’m sure that James Comey is no friend of the Clintons and yet he doesn’t seem to have anything to throw at them either…so where’s all this dirty laundry on Camp Hillary? Perhaps you’ve completed a personal investigation and have some evidence to offer…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  43. al-Ameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    And it appears that they have no problems with breaking the law regarding unmasking identities to get that information out, either.

    Who broke the law with respect to unmasking?
    No one that I’m aware of. Susan Rice? As you may not know, Rice was an NSA to the president, and requesting unmasking is what NSA’s are authorized to do. There is no evidence that she subsequently leaked that information. I know that doesn’t fit the Republican distraction tactic Talking Points but … sorry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  44. rachel says:

    Bob The Arqubusier is not exactly a sharpshooter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  45. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @al-Ameda: Susan Rice? The woman who was the Obama administration’s biggest liar?

    And considering her competition was Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Obama himself, that’s a hell of a high (or, rather, low) standard.

    But why not a full-blown investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election? Why did the Democrats have such crappy cybersecurity that let the DNC and Hillary’s server be so easily hacked? Just how must separation did John Podesta maintain from his brother and the Podesta Group, who took at least seven figures from Putin’s Russia? How much money did Putin funnel to the Clinton Foundation? Why the hell did Hillary sign off on Russia getting its hands on 20% of the US uranium supply, and just how much did they give to the Clinton Foundation before that deal?

    And yes, I’m not mentioning the alleged connections between Russia and the Trump campaign — you’ve got that thoroughly covered. Don’t think of my comments as a rebuttal, but an expansion of your issues.

    Let’s get the whole picture, shall we?

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  46. teve tory says:

    After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.

    Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump’s allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the “unmasking” of US individuals’ identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a “massive story.”…

    One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as “normal and appropriate” for officials who serve in that role to the president.

    But Benghazi!!!!!1111

    Some people seem to like getting played for fools.

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  47. wr says:

    @CSK: “Not just because he’s a buffoon/oaf/vulgarian (the qualities that endeared him to his base) but because you have to be born into those circles.”

    Been to Lincoln Center lately? Stopped by Avery Fisher Hall? Because it’s got a new name. And David Geffen didn’t get that hall named after himself because he was a scion of New York society. He gave them a hundred million dollars.

    Trump could have broken in. Sure, all the best families pretend it’s not the case, but if Trump had simply been willing to spend, he’d have been at the top of Manhattan society. But he’s both needy and cheap.

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  48. al-Alameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Susan Rice? The woman who was the Obama administration’s biggest liar?

    Susan Rice as “liar”? I’m taking that response as “yes, I did not know that she was within her position duties and responsibilities to request unmasking in an intelligence report.”
    and …

    And yes, I’m not mentioning the alleged connections between Russia and the Trump campaign — you’ve got that thoroughly covered. Don’t think of my comments as a rebuttal, but an expansion of your issues.
    Let’s get the whole picture, shall we?

    I’m not sure that Republicans are especially excited about the whole story concerning Russia, our campaign, and influence peddling, primarily because 99% of the story leads to Trump and many of his associates and advisors. But, Republicans have the numbers in Congress and they control the agenda for any investigation therein.

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  49. dmichael says:

    @Mikey: There are several comments to the effect that getting a FISA warrant is difficult. I don’t claim to be an expert on the FISA court (no one who isn’t in the DOJ criminal division should be able claim that they are). The FISA proceedings are secret, including the information in declarations and affidavits in support of a warrant for surveillance. However, my reading suggests from the statistics I have seen, is that the FISA court has been a rubber stamp for the DOJ, granting the vast majority of applications for warrants. Now, the DOJ will claim that this is because they were all “warranted,” (pun intended). And as much as I would like to see the dominos start falling and as much as I delight in Michael Reynold’s comments, I am far less optimistic that we will see any perp walks from the Mango Mussolini crowd any time soon.

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  50. Mikey says:

    @dmichael: Warrant applications don’t go up to the FISC until they’ve been worked to death, with the objective being not getting kicked back.

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  51. CSK says:

    @wr:

    Geffen (I’m aware he ‘s gay) didn’t want to marry a Duer or Van Rennselaer or Livingston girl. Trump did.

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  52. MarkedMan says:

    News today: Carter Page changes his story and now says he may have discussed US sanctions when he met with the Russians. You remember, the meetings that Trump initially denied took place? Oh, and Paul Manafort is retroactively registering as an agent of at least one foreign government.

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  53. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @al-Alameda: I’m not sure that Republicans are especially excited about the whole story concerning Russia, our campaign, and influence peddling, primarily because 99% of the story leads to Trump and many of his associates and advisors.

    OK, since we’ve established that all statements made must be 100% factual and backed up with actual citations (I normally accept hyperbole and approximations as a part of normal human dialogue, but that’s not the rule here), please cite your source for “99% of the story” leading to Trump and company.

    Which means for every mention of the Podesta Group and their actions as an agent for Russia (registered or not), every mention of Russian donations to the Clinton Foundation, every mention of Uranium One and Rosatom, you better be able to find 99 mentions of Trump ties. And no fair counting stories that repeat the same basic facts.

    Just as a refresher, people with ties to Uranium One (which controls 20% of the US uranium) donated over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation while they were seeking permission to sell out to Rosatom, which is fully owned by the Russian government (i.e., Putin Inc.) And Hillary, as one of the members of the committee that ultimately told Obama “yeah, it’s no big deal if Russia controls 1/5 of our uranium. Let it slide.”

    Come on. You said “99%.” You gonna back that up, or are you a bigger liar than Susan Rice?

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  54. al-Alameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Just as a refresher, people with ties to Uranium One (which controls 20% of the US uranium) donated over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation while they were seeking permission to sell out to Rosatom, which is fully owned by the Russian government (i.e., Putin Inc.) And Hillary, as one of the members of the committee that ultimately told Obama “yeah, it’s no big deal if Russia controls 1/5 of our uranium. Let it slide.”

    Come on. You said “99%.” You gonna back that up, or are you a bigger liar than Susan Rice?

    Oh no! The Rice bogeyman, again.
    Yes, I’m the worst. I lie 99% as much as Trump does.

    Really, are you seriously saying that the “Podesta/Russia” and Uranium Sales” stories are currently in the mix with the ‘Trump and his associates/Russia’ story? By far the biggest concern is the Trump story, no matter how hard the alternative.fact conservative media wants to deny it.

    Podesta/Russia? Yeah, gatewaypundit, dailycaller, and breitbart, even FoxNews, are all over that one, with nothing substantive to support their conspiracy. They’re all pimping the Podesta/Russia story in order to deflect attention from Trump, who is clearly worried.

    Feel free to move the goal posts back to 1960 and show us how Khruschev collaborated with Democrats JFK and Mayor Daley to deliver Illinois to Jack Kennedy.

    We all know why Republicans want to pull the plug on this. If this was Obama of whom it was alleged had done what Trump et al are accused of, Republicans would have initiated impeachment hearings by now.

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  55. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @al-Alameda: Oh, grasshopper. Just because you have managed to avoid acknowledge the facts regarding the Podestas, the Clinton Foundation, and Russia, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When you stick your head in the sand, it doesn’t block other people’s senses.

    Keep up your carefully-maintained ignorance on John Podesta and all the money he took from Rusnano. Keep pretending that the Clinton Foundation didn’t take in hundreds of millions from people who had business before Hillary’s State Department, and then managed to get Hillary’s approval. And keep avoiding any recognition that John Podesta’s brother (and frequent business partner) Tony, through The Podesta Group), lobbied on behalf of Putin’s bank to get sanctions lifted. (Tony probably should have registered as a foreign agent, but he was too busy depositing Putin’s checks to bother.)

    Like I said — let’s open this whole can of worms. Let’s make sure we root out all those Russkie-loving SOBs.

    Why is there so much insistence on making this a partisan issue? Is it bad when Putin buys Republicans, but good when he buys Democrats?

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  56. al-Alameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Oh, grasshopper. Just because you have managed to avoid acknowledge the facts regarding the Podestas, the Clinton Foundation, and Russia, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When you stick your head in the sand, it doesn’t block other people’s senses.

    Thanks for the recitations of shocking (!!) information about the Podesta comrades and the KGB-Pravda associated Clintopn Foundation. The non-Trump side of the current Russian involvement situation exists primarily in the fever swamps of the alternative fact conservative media, where “Democrats did it first and worst’ is the rule.

    So, open the investigation up to scrutiny of both Democrats and Republicans?
    Sure, why not? But let’s be clear, Republicans are going to do their best to make this a “who leaked the information” rather than a ‘Trump and Associates collude with Russians” issue. Re

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    every mention of Russian donations to the Clinton Foundation

    I still have to laugh (more in sorrow than in humor) every time I hear this idea that giving money to the Clinton’s charitable foundation somehow works as a bribe. The first rule of quid pro quo is that you have to personally get something you value out of the quo. What’s the discount rate on “supporting my charity” vice “paying me under the table”, in the on-the-take world?

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  58. ...Ig'nint... says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Or it could be just a barbecue joint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  59. ...Ig'nint... says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Wow! What have you been smokin’, and where can I get a container load of it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0