Donald Trump is rapidly losing his grip on his failing presidency, and when it comes to fending off the heightening Russia investigation, he’s down to his last few strikes. So why on earth did he waste one of them today on Carter Page? Trump could have had his stooge Devin Nunes pen a memo about supposed FBI abuses of anyone in the Trump-Russia scandal. Choosing a discredited nobody like Page, particularly when there were no real abuses against him, is just… odd. Unless, of course, Trump knows something (or thinks he knows something) specific that we don’t.
Trump could have had Nunes focus the memo on a bigger fish like Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort, which would have given the accusations more visibility. Nunes cherry picked details out of context to create the false appearance of FBI abuse anyway, so he could have faked a memo about anyone in the scandal. And if this really was about trying to discredit Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein specifically, he could have just faked a memo about Rosenstein having abused his power against anyone in Trump’s orbit.
Carter Page, based on his own repeated television appearances, is an unreliable idiot. In addition, Trump has long made the case that Page wasn’t really involved with his campaign anyway. So his new argument, that the FBI abused him by abusing Page, is weak and tangential and weird. But let’s stop and think about what this memo specifically focuses on about Page: the FISA warrant against him.
Very early on in his campaign, Donald Trump announced that Carter Page was one of his major foreign advisers. After Page’s Kremlin connections were exposed, Trump claimed Page had played no role in the campaign. This was never believable. It seems likely that Trump and Page were in regular communication during the campaign. Trump also has a habit of regularly calling up former advisers for advice, after he gets rid of them. Is Trump targeting the FISA surveillance warrant against Page because he knows or thinks he’s been caught on that surveillance? It may be the only explanation that makes sense.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report