Since the public release of the Carter Page FISA applications last weekend, Trump’s supporters and his critics have been telling two, diametrically-opposite stories about the revelations therein.
Allies of the president say that the full applications show that Trump and Rep. Devin Nunes were right all along in claiming that the FBI relied primarily on Clinton-purchased opposition research (the infamous dossier) to secure the surveillance warrant. Critics say that the enormous amounts of blacked-out, redacted text indicates that the FBI had much more evidence against Page than is currently available to the public. Supporters claim that a half-page footnote that does not mention Clinton, the DNC, or Fusion GPS was not a sufficient disclosure about the political nature of the dossier. Critics of the president say that the FBI spelled out the dossier’s provenance in plain text.
It is yet another political Rorschach test; we doubt anyone has been swayed off of their already-established views. If you thought the FBI collusion investigation was a witch hunt before, you probably still do. If you thought the FBI had every right to go snooping around the Trump campaign, this document dump only confirmed your opinion.
Nunes, who has done more than any other Republican to shine a spotlight on the Page investigation, believes that much of this problem can be fixed by releasing the application with the redacted parts revealed. In an interview with Fox News on Monday, he urged President Trump to declassify the document in its entirety, which would prove once and for all if the Page warrants were secured under false or flimsy pretenses.
“We want the president to take care of the rest of these redactions, so there is full transparency and sunlight for everyone to see,” he said.
Once again, Republicans find themselves in the position of advocating for increased government transparency while Democrats retreat to their bunker and insist that the GOP is endangering the Mueller investigation by asking for this material to be made public. We don’t doubt that Adam Schiff and the rest of the Obstructionists will be heading to the nearest microphone in the coming days to fight Nunes’s request and hurl a bunch of accusations against him for standing in Trump’s corner. Nothing appears to terrify these Democrats more than the “sunlight” that Nunes spoke of. They know that this investigation, such that it was and is, thrived under cover of darkness; every time its true details reach the public, the weakness of the case against the president stands in stark contrast to the hype.