Friday, July 20, 2018

Lisa Page: The Next John Dean?

This article first appeared in New English Review.

Rumors are buzzing around Washington this week that Lisa Page, the ex-paramour of disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok, was much more forthcoming than Strzok when she spoke with a Congressional panel last week behind closed doors. This is leading to speculation that Page may cut a deal to tell all she knows about how the FBI whitewashed the Hillary Clinton email investigation while, at the same, time, opening up a dirty investigation into the Trump campaign, using unverified information (Russian dossier) to obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap Carter Page.

One important question is whether (Lisa) Page is an appropriate person to "flip" (in law enforcement jargon, to turn into an informant or witness). In my opinion, the answer is an enthusiastic "yes".

When I was a DEA agent (1973-1995), we used the conspiracy statutes under Title 21 of the US Code (Narcotics laws) to prosecute higher ups in drug organizations, people who normally never touch the drugs. If we have a criminal conspiracy here, and I believe we do, having an inside person to testify against higher ups is usually essential. The question is, who would be the ideal witness?

When I was doing a tour of duty with DEA training in the 1990s, I taught classes on conspiracy law. This aspect was one of the issues we dealt with. For example, if you "flip" someone way down at the bottom of the group or organization engaged in a criminal conspiracy, that person generally cannot testify (with direct knowledge) as to the involvement of higher-ups. Of course, if you use someone at the very top of the conspiracy as a witness or informer, you defeat the very purpose of the law-that is, to  prosecute the leader(s). It would be sort of like using Nixon to testify against John Ehrlichman. The ideal witness would be someone near, but below the top.

But if there was a criminal conspiracy within the top ranks of the FBI to let Hillary skate and influence the election, Page was in the ideal position. She was the paramour of Strzok, and she exchanged many damaging emails with him regarding the Clinton case and keeping Trump out of the White House. In addition, there were references to "Andy", no doubt Andrew McCabe. Can she elaborate on that? What first-hand knowledge would Page have about Strzok's interview of Michael Flynn? What did she hear from Strzok about how the Clinton case was going to be closed? For example, what did Strzok tell her about how the exoneration letter was drawn up, including that infamous revision from "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless", a change that had direct legal implications? What did Strzok tell her about the Russian dossier and how it was going to be used against Carter Page (no relation)? What conversations did she have with Andrew McCabe, possibly even James Comey? What about those references in the emails to the effect that the White House was being kept fully informed on the Trump investigation

Could Lisa Page be the next John Dean?

I think Page was ideally placed to know the inner workings of what was going on vis-a-vis the Clinton investigation and the investigation into Trump. She was not the decision maker, but her position as FBI lawyer and paramour to one of the prime co-conspirators puts her in a place of having access to a ton of information. Some of it may be hearsay, but those leads can be pursued.

The final question is...does anyone in Washington care enough beyond the Republicans in Congress?

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