Weeks ago, Donald Trump took a desperate last swing at stopping Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation when he released a memo from his sock puppet Devin Nunes. The memo claimed to expose FISA warrant abuses against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but it fell flat, and Trump gained nothing from it. Trump no longer talks about the memo, but now Mueller has just blown up the memo in Trump’s face.
The central premise of the memo was that Carter Page had no legitimate connections to the Trump-Russia scandal, and was therefore being unfairly victimized by being secretly surveilled. This was ridiculous on its face, as Page has admitted to having associated with Russian spies in recent years, and he met with Russian officials in Moscow while he was working for the Trump campaign. But now things have just gotten really ugly when it comes to Page’s involvement with the scandal.
Mueller sent a grand jury subpoena to an unnamed witness in the Trump-Russia scandal which demanded information about every conversation that the witness had ever had with ten key Trump-Russia figures. Among the ten: Carter Page. We still don’t know if Page is being targeted as a criminal suspect or an uncooperative material witness. But now Mueller has managed to obtain a subpoena from regular federal court, not FISA secret court, regarding Page’s involvement in the scandal.
So much for the notion that FISA court was wrong for having focused on Carter Page. Whatever his involvement was in the Trump-Russia scandal, it was clearly relevant enough that he’s now right at the center of Trump-Russia grand jury proceedings. Again, this doesn’t mean Page is guilty of anything. But it means the Department of Justice did nothing wrong by targeting Page to begin with. That means Donald Trump’s Nunes memo is even more illegitimate than we thought.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report