It seems Victor Davis Hansen and I are converging in our opinions of The Russian Collusion kerfuffle.
By Victor Davis Hansen, the National Review
Many questions remain, but Democrats, including Obama, are probably not going to look good when we get the answers.
Some things still do not add up about the so-called Steele dossier, FISA warrants, the Nunes memo, and the hysterical Democratic reaction to it.
A Big Deal or a Nothing Deal?
1) Progressives and Democrats warned on the eve of the memo’s release that it would cause havoc throughout the intelligence agencies, by exposing classified means and processes. When no serious intelligence expert claimed that the released memo had done such damage, the official response to the memo was suddenly recalibrated by progressives. It went from being radioactive to a “nothingburger.” The obvious conclusion is cynical: Cry Armageddon to prevent its release, then, after the release, resort to yawns to downplay its significance. An even more cynical interpretation is that Rod Rosenstein, James Comey, and other officials stridently objected to the release of the memo because they are named in it. Comey incoherently mocked the memo’s purported unimportance even while listing all its deleterious effects and the crises that would ensue.
It was entertaining, in a cruel kind of way, to watch the dhimmocrats arguing both those positions at the same time.
Congressional, DOJ, and FBI resistance to the release of most documents connected to FISA-gate apparently originates with fears that information will either reveal Obama-administration efforts to surveille Trump officials during a campaign or will suggest that the impetus for the Mueller investigation came as a result of illegal activities and a concocted dossier — or both.
It seems to this observer that both is indeed the answer, as I posited here on Wizbang on 26 January.
2) Critics scream, “Carter Page is no big deal.” Aside from the easy retort that neither, initially, was a petty break-in at the Watergate complex, or rumors of supplying arms to distant guerillas in Central America, Page is a big deal for a variety of reasons.
Democrats allege that, given Carter Page’s familiarity with Russians, it was logical for the Obama administration to use the dossier’s references to him to substantiate FISA warrants.
But is not the opposite more likely true?
He was apparently known to intelligence agencies for years (supposedly under investigation variously by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), and he may have been the object of a 2014 FISA warrant. But such intelligence agents were never able to bring charges against him, and it appears he even cooperated with American intelligence in gathering info against the Russians. So why would the FBI and DOJ, suddenly in 2016, believe that mention of Page’s name in an unverified opposition-research dossier warranted four FISA warrants to find wrongdoing? After all, if he was so well known to the FBI for so many years, during which they never charged him with being a Russian agent, and if the FBI nonetheless still regarded him as suspicious in 2016, why not simply go to a regular court to obtain a warrant to wiretap him? Such a court, of course, would be less secretive, not known for a 99 percent approval rate, subject to far more deliberation, and less useful for surveilling Trump associates.
A more likely supposition is that it was not Page’s past flirtations with the Russians (who supposedly dubbed him an “idiot”) that abruptly brought him back into the sights of the DOJ and FBI in 2016. Instead, it was his brief and minor relationship with Trump, and his appearance in a bogus dossier, that offered useful pretexts for court-ordered surveillance sweeps and indirect targeting of possible Trump associates.
It has also been speculated that the FISA Chapter 1 Warrant was an ex post facto authorization to legitimize what would otherwise have been nakedly illegal collections against Candidate Trump and his campaign.
Step Aside Richard Nixon and Deputy Director Felt, you got nothing on the faithless feckless former
President and Director Comey.