Top Secret documents have been revealed confirming that the FBI asked a judge to spy on Donald Trump’s former campaign advisor Carter Page because they believed he was ‘the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian Government’.
The FBI on Saturday publicly released 412 heavily-redacted pages of warrant applications to wiretap Page, following a lawsuit filed by the New York Times and several other news outlets.
The materials include an October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page as well as three 90-day renewal applications.
The first three applications were signed by then-FBI Director James Comey, and the fourth by his deputy Andrew McCabe, after Trump fired Comey in May of 2017.
Newly released documents show that the FBI claimed that former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page (above) was ‘the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian Government’
The first three FISA applications were signed by then-FBI Director James Comey (above), and the fourth by his deputy Andrew McCabe, after Trump fired Comey in May of 2017
The original FISA warrant application (shown in part above) and three renewal applications were released by the FBI on Saturday after a court battle with news organizations
Unredacted portions of the documents show the FBI telling the intelligence court that Page ‘has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government’
It is highly unusual for documents related to FISA wiretap applications, which are top-secret requests to conduct domestic surveillance, to be released.
While the documents were heavily redacted in places, visible portions of the documents show the FBI telling the intelligence court that Page ‘has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.’
The agency also told the court that ‘the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.’
Page has denied being a Russian agent. He had been named as a foreign policy advisor to Trump’s campaign, but resigned following news reports in September 2016 that he was the target of an FBI investigation.
After a redaction, the the application to wiretap Page included a partial sentence: ‘… undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.’
The surveillance of Page became a contentious matter between Republican and Democratic lawmakers earlier this year.
Republicans alleged the FBI had abused its surveillance powers and improperly obtained the warrant by relying on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s Democrat-funded ‘dirty dossier’ in the warrant applications.
British ex-spy Christopher Steele (above) is referred to as Source #1 in the documents. He was hired by Democrats to dig dirt on Trump, and produced the infamous ‘dirty dossier’
The FBI added the bolded footnote seen above to its renewal applications, noting that it had terminated its relationship with Steele (Source #1). Candidate #1 refers to Trump
Democrats rebutted that charge, as both sides characterized the FISA documents in different ways. The documents, meanwhile, remained out of public view.
The newly released documents show that the FBI revealed in a footnote that ‘Source #1’, as it refers to Steele, had been hired by an opposing campaign to dig dirt on the Trump campaign, but noted he had a history of providing ‘reliable information’ to the FBI.
The renewal applications include a footnote in bold saying that the FBI had severed its relationship with Steele because he had shared some of his claims with a news organization in October 2016.
That organization is believed to be Yahoo News, for the same article that is cited elsewhere in the FISA application and renewals.
Republicans had argued that the application used the Yahoo article, sourced from Steele, to bolster Steele’s own claims in the dossier.
House Democrats were quick to say that the newly released documents bolstered their argument that the FBI had ample probable cause to surveil Page.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (above) quickly released a statement saying that the newly released documents clearly prove ‘Russia’s coordination with Carter Page’
‘Despite President Trump’s repeated claims, these documents provide clear evidence of “Russia’s coordination with Carter Page,” a high-ranking Trump campaign official, “to undermine and improperly and illegally influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,”‘ House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
‘For more than a year, House Republicans have bullied the Department of Justice and FBI to release highly sensitive documents to derail the Special Counsel’s and other legitimate national security investigations and cover for the President,’ Pelosi said.
‘For the sake of our national security and our democracy, these vital investigations must be allowed to continue unhindered by Republican interference. The GOP must cease their attacks on our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and finally decide where their loyalty lies.’
Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, said the documents underscore the ‘legitimate concern’ the FBI had about Page’s activities.
Yet Schiff said the materials shouldn’t have been released during an ongoing investigation because of national security.
He blamed Trump for making public House Republicans’ initial memo about the FISA applications, a move by Trump that the congressman called ‘nakedly political and self-interested, and designed to to (sic) interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation.’