During a CNN interview on Wednesday morning, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) placed Carter Page at the center of the FBI’s alleged anti-Trump plot during the 2016 election. But after host Chris Cuomo pointed out the obvious holes in his conspiracy theory, Jordan was left grasping at straws.
Jordan’s theory is that the FBI took out a warrant against Carter Page in October 2016 as part of then-director James Comey’s effort to throw the election for Hillary Clinton, with help from Obama mixed in. But as Cuomo pointed out, if the FBI was indeed scheming against Trump by quietly surveilling a low-level associate who, by that time, had disassociated himself from the campaign, it would be a very odd strategy — not to mention the fact that Comey was going out of his way that same month to hurt Clinton by publicizing the investigation into her emails.
“What kind of caper is this, that this is what they came up with to hurt President Trump is to put surveillance on Carter Page, a guy that had almost no real connection to Trump… and then do it just for a few weeks before the election, and they think this is going to affect the outcome of the race? It’s preposterous,” Cuomo said.
Instead of dealing with Cuomo’s counterpoints on the merits, Jordan responded by advancing another already-debunked conspiracy about text messages exchanged between two FBI agents who were having an affair in 2016. Jordan claimed a September 2, 2016 text Lisa Page sent Peter Strzok telling him that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing” is evidence of anti-Trump malfeasance.
However, as Cuomo pointed out, there are straightforward explanations that don’t involve deep state plots.
“What about [Obama] meeting with Putin two days later, and has a conversation with him about ‘stop what you’re doing, cut it out,’” Cuomo said, alluding to a September 4, 2016 meeting between Obama and Putin in which Obama reportedly confronted Putin about election interference. “How come you don’t factor that in to why they were saying Obama wanted to know everything? Maybe that’s exactly what it was about Jim, it was exactly about, ‘tell me what I need to know about what their interference is, I’m about to talk to the guy.’”
Jordan didn’t have any good answers. Later, Cuomo summarized the absurdity of his conspiracy.
“Peter Strzok wrote the letter about reopening the [email] case,” he said. “Jim Comey crushed Hillary Clinton. This is crazy unless Dan Brown is writing it and putting it in a book!”
Jordan has spent months pushing the FBI/Clinton conspiracy theory, often with help from friendly Fox News hosts. But he’s had trouble defending himself on CNN. During an interview with host John Berman in December, Jordan couldn’t explain why Comey would go out of his way to publicize the Clinton email investigation just days before the election, and admitted he had been in communication with the White House about the Mueller investigation he continues to work tirelessly to discredit.
Just last week, Jordan joined Cuomo and struggled to account for why he thinks it matters that some of the information the FBI used to take out a warrant on Page came from a political document. The FBI takes tips from anyone who provides them but then works to verify information on its own, and the warrant on Page was reauthorized three times.