Trump blocks release of Democrats' memo on Carter Page investigation

A blatant effort to conceal damning evidence of Russian involvement with his administration:

In a letter to House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the White House said it could not release the Democrats' memo because the Justice Department "has identified portions...which it believes would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests."

That explanation stands in stark contrast to his release of the GOP memo last Friday. The president approved its release over the strong objections of the FBI, which warned that it could jeopardize national security. The president's refusal to release the Democrats' memo also goes against the committee's unanimous, bipartisan decision Monday to make it public.

Trump is playing an extremely dangerous game here, and it's a good bet he doesn't realize it. Mueller is a lot more intelligent than he is, and is likely watching this circus to see which animals might turn on their trainers. Or which animals are performing too well. It's complicated, which means Trump is way out of his depth. In order to understand just how silly and off-topic this dueling memo thing is, you need to grasp the significance of the FBI's target of those investigations, Carter Page himself:

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page bragged that he was an adviser to the Kremlin in a letter obtained by TIME that raises new questions about the extent of Page’s contacts with the Russian government over the years. The letter, dated Aug. 25, 2013, was sent by Page to an academic press during a dispute over edits to an unpublished manuscript he had submitted for publication, according to an editor who worked with Page.

“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” the letter reads.

In January 2013, Page met a Russian diplomat named Victor Podobnyy at an energy conference in New York City, according to court documents. The two exchanged contact information, sent each other documents on energy policy and met several more times to discuss the topic, the documents allege. Two years later, in January of 2015, Podobnyy was charged in absentia — along with two other Russians — with working as a Russian intelligence agent under diplomatic cover.

Court records include a transcript of a conversation where Podobnyy talks about recruiting someone named “Male-1” by making “empty promises” about “connections in the [Russian] Trade Representation.” Page now acknowledges that he was “Male-1.” Podobnyy and one of the Russians had diplomatic immunity and left the U.S. The third Russian was arrested and eventually expelled from the U.S. in April 2017.

The letter to the manuscript reviewer is not the first example of Page touting his relationship with Russia. McClatchy reported last year that in 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan sent a cable to the U.S. State Department describing how Page had met with government officials in the country, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union, about possibly working for their oil companies. The cable described how he touted his work with the Russian-run company Gazprom.

The editor said that Page’s views on Russia were notably different from other scholars. “He wanted to make the argument that we needed to look more positively at Russia’s economic reforms and Russia’s relationship with Central Asia,” says the editor. “I didn’t think it was so weird, it was just contradictory to most mainstream Russian specialist’s views.”

I find it very likely that Carter Page's initial infatuation with Russia was based purely in greed; he wanted to get his hands on some of the billions involved in the oil business. But here's the problem with that: One of the core tenets of the old KGB's approach to subverting and recruiting assets was called MICE. Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego. Which one would be used was tailored to the individual target, and it was very effective. And Money was actually one of the easier approaches, even back in the day when the Soviet Union didn't have a whole lot of rubles to toss around.

Bottom line, Carter Page was an obvious target for FBI counterintelligence efforts, even when he didn't have access to government secrets and influence. But being a close campaign advisor to the GOP's nominee for U.S. President, who might conceivably end up on the Security Council (like Bannon did)? Oh my God. If the FBI hadn't been all up in his business, that's when heads should have rolled. For Republicans in Congress to take the position Page was treated unfairly is such an abrogation of their responsibility it borders on Treason itself.



Just for $hits & giggles...

There were numerous images from which to choose (I love you, Google), but that one is from Fox News, who no doubt were too stupid to realize that Cyrillic (Russian) text completely undermines whatever bullshit apologism or deflection they were trying to pass off as journalism in their attempts to provide cover for Comrade Trump. ;)