If you’re a political figure caught up in a scandal, the best strategy is often to simply lay low. The public forgets about you, so the media stops bothering to dig. Half the time it’s the media, and not the federal investigators, who uncover the most damning evidence. Donald Trump’s memo gambit didn’t merely fail to achieve its goal this week. It put a nearly forgotten Trump campaign adviser back into the spotlight, prompting the media to resume digging, and now that’s had disastrous results for Trump.
Trump had Devin Nunes release a memo highlighting the FBI’s supposed FISA warrant abuses while investigating former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. It was a bizarre ploy, both because the memo doesn’t highlight any actual wrongdoing by the FBI, and because the public has largely written off Page as a dishonest idiot, making it difficult to sell him as a victim. Trump’s decision to push Page back into the spotlight also had another effect: it made him relevant again.
Sure enough, once it leaked out that Carter Page was going to be the centerpiece of the Nunes memo, the media promptly began focusing on him again. It only took Time Magazine a few days to uncover a letter that Page wrote in 2013 in which he stated he was an adviser to the Kremlin (link). Okay, so now there’s really no chance of Trump being able to sell Page as a victim. Of course the FBI was surveilling him. But it gets a lot worse.
Because Donald Trump pushed Carter Page back into the spotlight, we’re now learning that Page was a self admitted Kremlin adviser at the time Trump hired him for the campaign. This makes Trump look like more of a Russian puppet, not less of a Russian puppet, in the court of public opinion. And now that Page is back in the spotlight, what else will the media dig up about him and Russia that’ll blow back in Trump’s face?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report