‘Little doubt’ FBI & DOJ misled courts in Carter Page probe – Trump on FISA files
President Donald Trump has claimed files about his former campaign adviser Carter Page confirm that the Department of Justice and FBI had misled the courts. Separately, he suggested his campaign was “spied upon illegally.”
Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at the FBI and the Department of Justice, which released over 400 pages of its initial and renewed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests pertaining to Carter Page, Trump’s ex-foreign policy adviser.
Praising Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation that studied the files, the president tweeted: “As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”
In a subsequent message, Trump suggested his 2016 presidential campaign has been under unlawful surveillance orchestrated by his Democratic contender. “Looking more and more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” the angry tweet said.
Trump also alluded to the Democratic primaries, which he had previously called rigged in favor of Clinton and against Bernie Sanders: “Ask her how that worked out – she did better with Crazy Bernie. Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!”
Page departed from Trump campaign in September 2016 after reports of his links to Russian officials have surfaced in the media.
The trove of heavily redacted documents with some of the pages completely blacked out reveals that the FBI filed its first request under FISA a month after Page formally relinquished his duties as Trump’s advisor. A series of subsequent follow-up requests have all been granted by the FISA court, with the last one approved in June 2017.
The FBI has justified its motion alleging that Page “has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government” which allegedly enlisted his services to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election.”
The agency further claims that Page did “knowingly engage in clandestine intelligence activities…for or on behalf of such foreign power” noting that it believes the Russian government “coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1’s [Trump’s] campaign.”
The release of the papers sparked a ruckus on Twitter, with Trump opponents rejoicing that one of his former associates have been supposedly caught red-handed in collusion with the Russians. The FBI has produced a list of damning accusations against Page that include meeting with two Russian officials as part of his supposed “coordination” with Moscow. During one of such meetings, Page, the FBI alleged, discussed a possibility of receiving compromising materials about Clinton from Russia.
The report claims that Page allegedly met with Igor Sechin, CEO of the state-run oil giant Rosneft, with whom they allegedly “discussed future bilateral energy cooperation” and the prospects of lifting western sanctions imposed on Russia following its reunification of Crimea in 2014.
The FISA request also argues that Christopher Steele, whose salacious Trump dossier was in part paid for by Fusion GPS that received funding from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s Campaign, was “never advised as to motivation behind the research” into Trump’s ties to Russia.
Page himself has slammed the FBI accusations against him as ungrounded, telling the Hill on Saturday that he is “having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity.”