One of Donald Trump’s picks for special master could spell trouble in his campaign to hinder the federal investigation into his handling of classified documents.
On Monday, the Department of Justice agreed to one of Trump’s choices—and it may backfire on him.
Judge Raymond Dearie—a Ronald Reagan nominee—has been a federal judge for nearly four decades and approved the warrant to wiretap former Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the Russia investigation.
During his seven-year tenure as a judge on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), Dearie oversaw national security cases. But Trump wants him as his special master. Alrightey, then.
As a member of then-candidate Trump’s foreign policy advisory team, Page was believed to have acted on behalf of Moscow. The FBI and Justice Dept. obtained a FISA warrant—approved by Trump’s special master nominee. According to CNN:
The FBI and Justice Department obtained the warrant after convincing a FISA judge there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign government (Russia), the report says. The warrant presents the strongest information to date that the FBI had reason to believe a Trump adviser was in touch with Moscow and met with foreign operatives during Trump’s presidential campaign.
Page made several trips to Moscow, living in the city for three years as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch and forming a company with Gazprom executive Sergei Yatsenko.
Of course, Trump denied knowing Page:
“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him,” Trump said. “I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. Now, it’s possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I ever met him.”
The former Trump adviser filed a $75 million lawsuit against the FBI and Dept. of Justice for damages resulting from their surveillance. Former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, and counterintelligence expert Peter Strzok were also named—it was dismissed.
After unsealing of the warrant, affidavit, and release of the inventory list related to the August 8th FBI search of Mar-a-Lago revealed a potential threat to national security, a judge with FISA experience and who has previously ruled to surveil someone in his camp isn’t looking good for the beleaguered ex-President.
But considering Trump once criticized FISA and accused the top-secret court of being part of the “deep state” maybe that was his plan all along?
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