Transparency, bipartisanship and redaction are set to become the new buzzwords in American politics as the Congress in a rare moment of bipartisanship - by a vote of 420 to 11 on 14 March – called on the Mueller investigation report into Trump-Russia collusion to be released to both the public and the Congress.
This welcome call for transparency should now be extended by bipartisan resolutions in Congress to procure the release to the public and Congress of all FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) reports and decisions not to prosecute:
- Hillary Clinton: for alleged breaches of 18 U.S. Code 793 - Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information in relation to classified information - found on her private server and on the personal computer of Anthony Wiener – the husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
- Carter Page: following FBI surveillance under suspicion of acting as an agent of a foreign power.
The release of the Clinton documents could be expected to be heavily redacted by the FBI and DOJ – leaving President Trump with the final decision of what to unredact in the interest of transparency and the right of the public and Congress to be informed as far as is possible without impacting national security.
The release of the Page documents should not be expected to be so heavily redacted since nothing was apparently uncovered that would constitute grounds for his prosecution.
Carter Page was allegedly interviewed by the FBI in June 2013 after it heard a Russian agent discussing his potential usefulness.
In March 2016, Page joined then-candidate Trump's foreign policy team – leaving that campaign in September 2016.
On October 22, 2016, the FBI obtained a warrant to surveil Page for three months – extended by three further periods of three months after three more FBI applications made in secret to the FISA Court.
The FISA applications have been released in a heavily redacted form and calls have been made for President Trump to have them unredacted and released. Now the Mueller investigation has been completed it is confidently expected that Trump will set about doing just that.
FBI surveillance would have certainly extended to all Page's emails sent or received from at least June 2013 until the fourth FISA warrant expired in September 2017.
Whilst the emails and wiretapping apparently disclosed no evidence to prosecute Page – those emails between March 2016 and September 2016 – and possibly beyond until Page was removed from the Trump campaign mailing list - would have delivered a treasure trove of information bearing on the Trump election campaign and strategies.
The public and Congress needs to know whether any copies or extracts of those Page emails from March 2016 on were communicated by persons in the FBI and DOJ to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton or even the White House.
The Watergate scandal began early in the morning of June 17, 1972 - when several burglars were arrested in the office of the Democratic National Committee - located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington, D.C. This was no ordinary robbery: The prowlers were connected to President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign - and they had been caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents.
Page's surveillance could be the Democrat Party's Watergate – illegally acquiring Republican Party campaign information obtained under four FISA warrants – themselves based on an unverified dossier allegedly paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
Transparency and bipartisanship must equally apply to the release of the Mueller, Clinton and Page investigations – and the possible leaking of Republican Party campaign material to the Democrats obtained during the Page surveillance.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
9 posts so far.