Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Trump tries to spin Justice Department documents outlining Carter Page’s Russian Federation contacts

Carter Page Modal Trigger Carter Page Getty Images
Leonard Rios | 25 July, 2018, 23:08

The FBI's applications for FISA warrants against Page were released on Saturday.

Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.

King said he also thinks the United States' intelligence agencies and government abused its privilege by using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain the warrant against Page, and that Trump did not have any idea who Page was.

Trump on Sunday used the document release to criticize the Justice Department's handling of the Russian Federation investigation, which he once again described in a tweet as a "witch hunt" against his administration.

But Trump's tweets did not address the fact that the FISA application revealed its sourcing at length and was approved by a judge, before being renewed three more times by three other judges.

Judicial Watch now is arguing "to date, no transcripts of hearings regarding applications for or renewal of FISA warrants related to Page have been released to the public".

In a subsequent message, Trump suggested his 2016 presidential campaign has been under unlawful surveillance orchestrated by his Democratic contender. Trump quoted Fox News as saying, "Source #1 [for the FISA warrant] was the (Fake) Dossier".

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"This is so ridiculous, it's just beyond words", Page told CNN's Jake Tapper when asked if he was an agent of a foreign power.

Nunes' memo, which was cited by President Donald Trump in his attacks on the Mueller investigation, alleges that the author of the dossier, ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, harbored anti-Trump motivations that were not disclosed in the FISA application. Information included in the request had been largely reported through two declassified memos released separately by Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, but Saturday's disclosure put the FBI's own argument in black and white for the first time. The FBI said in the application that Steele wasn't told who had hired him to conduct that work, but that Steele "was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit" Trump's campaign.

Trump spent days trying to reassure the country that he accepts that the longtime foe interfered in the 2016 election after his public undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies in Helsinki while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mueller, formerly director of the FBI, was appointed special counsel in May 2017 to continue the FBI's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Mr Page has denied being an agent of the Russian government and has not been charged with any crime. "I also don't believe it proves anything about collusion or anything like that". The Justice Department released the heavily redacted documents after newspapers filed Freedom of Information Act requests. "Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!"

Page himself has denied the allegations, describing the FISA application as "spin" and a "complete joke" in an interview Sunday on CNN. But Clinton's closest aides said they didn't learn about the research until after the election, which is probable considering they never raised the allegations publicly.

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