There is a key scene in the movie of the Tom Clancy thriller “The Hunt for Red October.”
A hot-headed Russian sub captain, hot on the trail of the Red October, a fictional ballistic missile submarine, and its defecting Captain Ramius, fires a torpedo over the objections of his lieutenants. Instead of hitting the Red October, the torpedo boomerangs and winds up heading straight for the sub that fired it. The last words of one angry lieutenant: “You arrogant ass! You’ve killed us!” And . . . boom.
The scene came to mind while reading this story in The Washington Post. The headline: “FBI has questioned Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at length in Russia probe.”
The story began this way:
FBI agents have repeatedly questioned former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page about his contacts with Russians and his interactions with the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Over a series of five meetings in March, totaling about 10 hours of questioning, Page repeatedly denied wrongdoing when asked about allegations that he may have acted as a kind of go-between for Russia and the Trump campaign, according to a person familiar with Page’s account.
What was missing from this Post story? And a successive Post story found here?
What was missing was proof. Proof of Trump’s collusion with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. There is a reason there was no proof. It never happened. After months of this fake news charade, there is zero evidence of this so-called Trump collusion.
So instead the focus is on, in this case, Carter Page. As it happens, I have heard directly from Mr. Page. Note well that he sat down with these FBI agents without a lawyer. Hardly the mark of a guilty man who has something to hide. Mr. Page has sent me his full statement on his time with the FBI, which he described as “too punchy” for the Post. The full statement reads this way:
During my extensive discussions with the FBI agents just weeks before Comey’s departure, they acknowledged that I’m a loyal American veteran but indicated that their ‘management’ was concerned that I did not believe the conclusions of the fake January 6 intelligence report. I told them that I learned the lessons from the intelligence failures of the original Dodgy Dossier from 2003 which cost this country thousands of service members lives and over a trillion dollars. Our frank and open conversations gave me confidence that there are still logical, honest individuals at the Bureau who respect civil rights and the Constitution, despite the recent devastating impact on our democracy by self-centered politicians at the top of the Clinton-Obama-Comey regime.
Mr. Page also shared his letter with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Senator Mark Warner, D-Va. That letter is dated June 8, 2017, with subject “People in glass SCIF’s shouldn’t throw stones – Response to James Comey’s testimony,” reads in part:
I am writing in response to the most recent misleading testimony by James Comey, before SSCI today. As previously indicated with my extensive prior correspondence providing evidence in voluntary support of your ongoing investigation, it is highly unfortunate that Clinton-Obama- Comey regime officials have once again been afforded yet another chance to provide your Committee with highly inaccurate and severely defamatory testimony. In contrast to today’s third showing of Comey on Capitol Hill in as many months, a true liberal democratic system should instead follow basic principles of common decency in allowing self-defense from those of us who have continued to be attacked by self-serving politicians such as him. Asking Comey to speak on Russia-related “matters” despite his limited knowledge of that country and lack of legitimate professional contacts there, does little more than reinforce age-old stereotypes by once again producing the type of inaccurate testimony we saw today.
There’s more in the letter, but you get the flavor. So what to make of it all?
Carter Page is adamant. He did nothing — zero — wrong. He has repeatedly asked for the opportunity to testify in public. When asked to meet with the FBI, repeatedly, he not only willingly complies but he shows up without a lawyer, instantly putting himself at risk.
This is the mark of an innocent man. By his own account, the sum of his contact with then-candidate Donald Trump was to show up at rallies. He has not even had a handshake from him. All of which says the obvious to any normal political observer who is awake. Not only did Page do nothing wrong — or we would surely have had that leaked long ago — but even if he wanted to, Carter Page had no ability whatsoever to “collude” and change the election.
As a Pennsylvanian who has spent a long time crisscrossing this state successively with a congressman, U.S. senator, and president, I know that the notion that Carter Page had the ability, much less the opportunity, to derail the Pennsylvania election system to his candidate of choice is not simply wildly wrong, it is bizarre. If this were doable, rest assured some conniving Pennsylvania Republican or Democrat running a campaign here would have done this years ago. The fact is that it can’t be done. Pennsylvania has 67 counties, with elections run by the individual counties and the precinct officials within those counties. It is preposterous to believe that Carter Page or anybody other than the voters of the Commonwealth delivered Pennsylvania into the Trump column on election day.
So now what? Next up in the headlines is onetime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Full disclosure, I worked with Roger as a colleague in the 1984 Reagan re-election campaign. Roger is many things. Controversial for sure. Smart. Very politically savvy. He too is not being allowed to testify in public in spite of his repeated requests. And what applies to Carter Page applies to Roger Stone. As smart as he is, there is no way Roger Stone could possibly have manipulated the elections in 67 Pennsylvania counties to make it swing to Trump. If Roger Stone knew Vladimir Putin as a lifelong poker playing buddy, he could not have gotten this done.
If any more proof is needed about Carter Page, Roger Stone, and ultimately President Trump’s non-collusion with the Russians, look no further then this statement from President Obama, as reported back in October 2016 by Reuters.
…Obama was asked about Trump’s voter fraud assertions on Tuesday at a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden following meetings with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
He responded with a blistering attack on the Republican candidate, noting that U.S. elections are run and monitored by local officials, who may well be appointed by Republican governors of states, and saying that cases of significant voter fraud were not to be found in American elections.
Obama said there was ‘no serious’ person who would suggest it was possible to rig American elections, adding, ‘I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.’
Well said, Mr. President! That is exactly right.
So. Again. What do we have here?
As my CNN colleague Van Jones said the other day when asked about the Russian “collusion” charge, this is a “nothingburger.” Carter Page could spend twice the time he has now quite voluntarily spent with the FBI, and the results would still be the same. There was no collusion with Donald Trump and the Russians.
But to recall again that scene from “The Hunt for Red October,” what these multiple investigations have started to reveal is that it was the Obama administration — in the person of Attorney General Loretta Lynch — that tried to steer FBI Director Comey away from using the term “investigation” when talking about the FBI looking into the Clinton email fiasco and instead use a word acceptable to the Clinton campaign: a “matter.” They have also now revealed that President Obama himself was in fact concerned about Russian interference and, in the word of an Obama official, “choked” when it came to doing anything. Why? Because, apparently, he didn’t want to taint or impede what he thought was Hillary Clinton’s sure-thing victory.
In other words, the torpedo intended to sink the Trump presidency is now bearing down on the Obama presidency.
Sometimes you just can’t make it up.
Jeffrey Lord is a former White House political director under Reagan. He writes from Pennsylvania and is the author of “What America Needs: The Case for Trump.” Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.