The facts arguing against this assessment are so overwhelming that it is difficult to view the Fox coverage as anything but an attempt to deceive the American people. Here are some of the facts omitted by Fox News and by Nunes' GOP memo: (1) In 2013, 3 years before Trump announced he was running for President, Carter Page came to the attention of the FBI because he was meeting with (and perhaps being recruited by) Russians who were later deported for being spies.. The FBI has a tape of Russian "diplomat" Victor Podobnyy calling Page "an idiot" and stating that he wanted money. Podobnyy, who was working at the Russian consulate, was eventually deported for espionage. (2) In March, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump identified Carter Page as one of his advisors on international affairs. (3) In July, 2016, Page spoke (on invitation) at the Economic School in Moscow, criticizing US and European policy towards Russia and praising Putin. He met with senior Russian government officials and allegedly asked for ownership of a Russian company in exchange for eliminating sanctions against Russia. (4) Carter Page left the Trump campaign in September, 2016, after controversy erupted over his July activities in Russia. Since then, the Trump campaign and administration have sought to distance themselves from Mr. Page. (5) In October, 2016, the first FISA warrant authorizing monitoring of Carter Page was approved. It has been approved on three subsequent occasions, including once by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the fellow who wrote the memo Trump used to justify firing James Comey.
So now Devin Nunes wants to assert, in this "controversial" memo, that, even though there was sufficient reason for the Trump campaign to break ties with Carter Page in September, there was not enough evidence to justify monitoring his communications in October? Even though Carter Page was a person of interest related to Russian espionage three years before he became a Trump advisor, the FBI request to wiretap him was politically motivated? It just doesn't make sense.
The facts are clear: By his own admission, Carter Page met with Russians high up in business and government in July of 2016, while serving as a named "foreign policy advisor" to the Trump campaign. He was alleged to have asked for something of financial benefit in exchange for doing something of benefit to the Russian government (getting rid of sanctions). Regardless of the source of the last allegation, the fact that a group of Russian spies independently identified Page in 2013 as someone who wanted money, coupled with his behavior in 2016 seems to provide reasonable grounds for the FISA warrant. I think most Americans, at least those of us who lived through 9-11, will feel the same way. It seems pretty clear that monitoring Page would have been reasonable, regardless of which campaign he supported, based on his own behavior.
The repeated assertions by President Trump that there was no collusion and no obstruction on the part of him or people working for him are completely contradicted by an overwhelming volume of evidence. The evidence against Trump's assertions includes the fact that two former Trump campaign and Trump administration officials have already pled guilty to lying about their ties and communication with Russia. When two of the four people initially indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller plead guilty to lying about their communications with representatives of the Russian government, that is evidence that the investigation is necessary and urgent. Given the COMPLETE set of facts regarding the FISA warrant and the Mueller investigation, I find the assertions that the investigation is politically motivated are just a smokescreen. When we go to the polls next November, the American people would do well to remember which of their elected representatives are trying to use a partial set of facts to deceive them.