As an added sideshow to the FBI’s “unprecedented and misguided” election season raid of former President Donald Trump, there’s the drama surrounding the candidates who might win the job of pawing through all of the confiscated documents.
Both the government and Trump’s lawyers, who are arguing over possessions taken from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home on Aug. 8, announced nominees for the special master to go through Trump’s things.
One candidate, in particular, is causing plenty of pucker for those who support the former president.
One of Trump’s two candidates is Raymond Dearie, a retired federal judge in the Eastern District of New York.
Dearie was on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which makes him qualified to deal with classified documents — if indeed any were found at Trump’s Florida home, an argument renewed by his lawyers in a filing on Monday. He was the presiding judge over the FIFA scandal brought into the United States.
But Dearie comes with baggage. Big baggage.
Dearie was the judge who approved a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
The Page spy warrant gave the feds entree to spy on Trump’s 2016 campaign for president. Using the spy agencies’ two-hop rule, the feds could spy on not only Page but people he talked to and people they talked to.
NBC News’ provided an explanation of the rules and how corrosive they are.
These documents also tell us the FISC routinely includes authorization in their warrants for the government to surveil people in contact with their target, and people in contact with the contact; in a scheme referred to as “chaining,” these authorizations will include 2 or 3 “hops.” While the text of the Carter Page warrant application and court approval, remain a secret, one shudders to think this authority was used to spy upon other members of the Trump campaign team who were in contact with Page. [emphasis added] (The memo of the House intelligence committee’s Democrats about the warrant suggests that some unknown number of Trump campaign advisors were the subject of FBI “sub-inquiries.”)
Unfortunately, the growing number of transgressions against people, like Carter Page, remain hidden behind a veil of secrecy. Officials speak of safeguards, but it’s clear that a secret process, and a complacent judiciary, which has elevated prosecutors and members of law enforcement onto a dangerous perch, provides no safety. The FISC, where the warrant for Page was issued, has grown particularly notorious for granting broad surveillance authority based on little, or in some cases, no evidence. Out of more than 39,000 applications presented to the FISC through the end of 2016, only 51 have been rejected, with the majority, 34, of those rejections coming in 2016. [emphasis added]
Indeed, the feds used the wholly debunked, Hillary Clinton-bought-and-paid-for Trump-is-a-Russian-secret-agent hoax. Her campaign got the FBI, CIA, members of Congress, and willing reporters at all the top news outlets to tout what government officials knew was fake news. And among the “evidence” they used to get the FISA spy warrant, the “Steele Dossier” was nothing more than a collection of scribblings of “bar talk” by “Russians” about hookers peeing on beds and trips to Prague to spy for the Russians.
But instead of asking federal lawyers if they’d been doing whippits while writing down the sophomoric Hillary Clinton glass-ceiling-shattering ideations, Dearie signed the warrant, assuming the feds were telling the truth. If he’d looked at the “dossier,” he might have been more circumspect. But alas, Dearie was not. He was a sucker. Or a toady.
Worse, the lawyer who drew up the document lied about Carter Page being a suspected Russian spy and unleashed the whole government surveillance apparatus against the Naval Academy grad. And by extension — hop, hop, hop — Trump’s campaign.
Indeed, the former Naval officer was an informant to the CIA.
FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith knew this but lied on the spy warrant about Page’s relationship with the feds. For attempting to ruin a man’s life and reputation and drain whatever fortunes he once possessed, Clinesmith didn’t get the old J-6 treatment. Oh, no. He wasn’t put in solitary for trying to sway an election. Clinesmith didn’t get busted in a pre-dawn FBI smash-and-grab in front of his bleary-eyed children. There was no perp walk. He was given probation. As another judge put it when Carter sued the feds: Hey, Dearie would have issued the warrant anyway. No harm, no foul, right?
Instead of being disbarred, Clinesmith is practicing law right now, an officer of the court in good standing.
And cheering on Dearie’s selection as a special master is the man who helped bring the spy case against Trump for Robert Mueller’s special counsel office, Andrew Weissmann.
Weissman wrote, “Going out in a limb here, and taking nothing away from the other judges proposed to be Special Master, but DOJ wd be wise to agree to Judge Dearie on the Trump list – and I bet DOJ will. He is a beloved judge in the EDNY- absolute integrity and fairness.”
Going out in a limb here, and taking nothing away from the other judges proposed to be Special Master, but DOJ wd be wise to agree to Judge Dearie on the Trump list – and I bet DOJ will. He is a beloved judge in the EDNY- absolute integrity and fairness.
— Andrew Weissmann 🌻 (@AWeissmann_) September 10, 2022
Oh, we’ll just bet Weissmann loves this guy.
If Dearie is given the job, things could redound to Trump’s favor. Considering that Dearie was bamboozled by some of the same cast of characters now perpetrating Trump-is-a-Spy, Part Deux, he might do his job. Could he be a fair arbiter of what the former president has a right to possess at his home? The idea of equal justice under the law could use an assist right about now. We’d like to see what that looks like.