The Washington Post’s latest “bombshell” on Donald Trump’s alleged Russia connection, and the claims that his campaign was monitored, were published last night, and some from both sides are claiming victory.
Their report did find, for instance, that former Trump aide Carter Page was monitored by the FBI, who obtained a FISA warrant to do so. California’s Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu sees this as a victory, because he thinks that surveillance implies guilt on the part of those surveilled.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2017
As does Maxine Waters, who thinks this report uncovered Page’s membership in the “Kremlin Klan.”
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) April 11, 2017
Below is the relevant part of the WaPo’s report. See if you can spot the “bombshell.”
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.
Well, the bombshell that Lieu and Waters see is unclear.
Best case scenario, this proves the FBI had a reason to be suspicious of a Trump/Russia connection – and didn’t find anything. As one blogger put it, ” the resistance is jazzed because it’s becoming ever more clear that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia, and that elusive proof is just within reach; and Trump supporters are claiming victory because they can say that Trump was right all along about being surveilled by the Obama administration.”
But with no evidence of Russian collusion found, could the case have been flimsy to begin with? “It will be interesting to see what comes out when the unjustified basis for those FISA requests are more fully disclosed over time,” said Page in reaction to the report. He also said he was “happy” that the court order was revealed, and blamed the Obama administration for “trying to suppress dissidents who did not fully support their failed foreign policy.”
If Page had committed a crime, you’d think the evidence of it would’ve come out by now. What Lieu and Waters see this proving remains a mystery.
Time to put this nonsense to bed.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]