Who is Carter Page? Fortunately not me
I had not yet had my first cup of coffee on Sunday morning. Suddenly, I was jerked alert by the sound of a C-SPAN radio discussion of whether I, "Clarence Page," might be indicted.
As it turned out, the talk show host had slipped. He meant to say "Carter Page" but accidentally said my name instead.
At least I wasn't accidentally called "Clarence Thomas," which also has happened.
But I'd rather be mistaken for the Supreme Court Justice these days than for Carter Page, a key figure at the center of the Nunes memorandum, the contentious four-page document written by aides to Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Approved for release in a party-line vote, the document claims that the FBI and Justice Department abused their powers to wiretap Page, who candidate Trump had identified in a meeting with Washington Post editors as one of his foreign policy advisers.
Last weekend, Trump claimed incorrectly that the memo "totally vindicates" him in the continuing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Everyone who read the underlying classified application for a warrant to surveil Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) calls the memo incomplete and out of context.
Nunes, a strong supporter of President Trump, produced a highly partisan document that makes a mockery of his own committee's duty to provide oversight. It mostly offers support to the president's efforts to delegitimize Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and to demonize Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Yet, even as a Democrat-produced rebuttal approved unanimously by the Committee awaits President Trump's release, the supposed vindication Trump sought in the Nunes memo falls flat.
The Nunes memo mostly makes three arguments:
One, that the Steele dossier -- a collection of reports much vilified by the right and filed by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele -- as a "biased" document out to "get" President Trump.