Democratic memo offers hints about Trump-Russia suspects under investigation

“Christopher Steele’s reporting… played no role in launching the FBI’s Counterintelligence Investigation… By [mid-September 2016], the FBI had already opened sub-inquiries into [redacted] individuals linked to the Trump campaign: [redacted] and former campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page.”

In the House Intelligence Committee Democrats’ rebuttal to the Nunes farce, released today after weeks of foot-dragging by Trump, the redaction marker was liberally applied to all of the good parts. Disappointing as that may be, it was to be expected However, the marker did stop a little short in the above passage, when they were blacking out the number of individuals who were already under investigation when the Steele memo made it to the FBI. The tiniest bit of the last letter is showing, and for my money, it’s the end of an “r,” as in “four.” The length of the redaction of the names bears that out.

Before Christopher Steele even had a chance to funnel the “totally discredited dossier” to John McCain, the FBI already had four active targets in the Trump campaign: Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and two as-yet-unnamed others.

Gates and Manafort, perhaps? When his former campaign manager was first indicted, Trump was adamant that Manafort committed the charged crimes before he was “hired” by the campaign, so even though said crimes are public knowledge, it makes sense for the White House to hide that the FBI targeted them specifically for campaign-era malfeasance.

Getting deeper into conjecture, there could be three new names. It’s public knowledge that Papdopoulos bragged to the Australians about collusion in May 2016, and he’s already pleaded guilty. Why waste the ink to redact him? Trump’s reflexive wagon-circling is my best guess, but I’m used to being surprised by this ongoing travesty. As always: there’s more to come, so stay tuned.

Jack Walsh

New York-based freelancer, political junkie, and member of the loyal opposition.