Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is denying allegations by federal investigators that he was being recruited and targeted by the Russians.
‘This is ridiculous it’s just beyond words,’ he said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday morning.
‘It’s literally a complete joke. It’s so sad,’ he added. ‘I’ve never been agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination.’
Carter Page: ‘I’ve never been agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination’
Documents released on Saturday show that President Trump’s former campaign adviser was being surveyed as agents believed he had been recruited by the Russians
Carter Page has not been charged with any crime
Page was responding to new documents released Saturday that show the FBI sought permission to surveil him one month before the 2016 election because, they allege, he had been recruited by the Russian government.
‘The FBI believes the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Trump’s] campaign,’ the application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said.
The highly-redacted documents also indicate that the FBI ‘believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government … to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.’
The Justice Department released the more than 400 pages of documents in response to lawsuits by media organizations. It marked the first time the government has released applications seeking wiretaps of an American under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Trump declassified the documents last year.
Page call the charges ‘totally false.’
‘It’s so misleading going through those 400 pages documents,’ Page said on CNN.
He was asked about and played down a letter he wrote in 2013 in which he described himself as “an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin.”
‘It’s really spin. I’ve sat in some meetings but to call me an adviser is over the top,’ he noted.
Page has not been charged with any crime.
The released documents 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 2017.
The warrant on Page has been a major point of contention between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Republicans claim Page was the victim of the FBI, which was abusing its powers, and the warrant was part of a pattern of abuse from the FBI and Justice Department in their targeting of the Trump campaign.
Democrats, however, argue the warrant on Page was justified because of his contacts with Russia. They also point out the proper procedure was followed in obtaining the warrant.
Each side made their case in dueling memos released in February that were written based on information in the documents released on Saturday.
Trump defended himself and his campaign vigorously on Twitter Sunday morning
Trump claims Democrats wanted to discredit him
The president tweeted repeatedly about the released documents on Sunday morning, reiterating his charge he is the victim of a witch hunt
Trump wrote in a Sunday morning tweet that the FISA documents ‘confirm with little doubt,’ that the Justice Department and FBI ‘misled the courts,’ despite the fact that the document itself acted as legal justification for the FBI to obtain the 2016 warrant.
He also charged that his campaign was illegally spied upon.
‘Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,’ he wrote.
Trump tweeted heavily about the documents on Sunday morning and quoted some of the speakers on ‘Fox & Friends,’ the morning news show of whom he is a regular viewer.
The president, in a tweet, quoted prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who appeared on Fox and advised people to look at the judges who signed off on the warrants. All of those judges were appointed by Republican presidents.
Trump charges the ‘FISA scam’ led ‘to the rigged Mueller Witch Hunt!,’ referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s role in the election and allegations of obstruction against the president.
The documents released on Saturday did nothing to clear Trump of either the collusion or obstruction allegations being examined by Mueller.
The documents seem to discount claims made by some Republicans that the FBI failed to properly disclose the sources of information it used to seek the warrant on Page, and it shows that agents used other sources besides the Steele dossier to press for the warrant.
The warrant also shows the FBI did notify the judges of where some of the information came from — Christopher Steele, the former British spy who drafted the unverified dossier about Trump.
Carter Page, a former adviser to Trump’s campaign, denies he was a target of Russia
The documents released on Saturday did nothing to clear Trump of either the collusion or obstruction allegations being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller
President Trump claims the documents show the FBI misled the court
The president also charged he was spied upon for political purposes
Steele’s work was funded by a law firm connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill have claimed the FBI used material from Steele’s dossier to obtain the warrant on Page without telling the court the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, by name, had funded Steele’s research.
But the warrant application shows the FBI did tell the court it believed the person who hired Steele was looking for information to discredit the Trump campaign but also believed his reporting about Page was credible.
Trump, on Twitter Sunday morning, quoted an allegation by a host on Fox News that one source was the Steele dossier.
‘.@PeteHegseth on @FoxNews ‘Source #1 was the (Fake) Dossier. Yes, the Dirty Dossier, paid for by Democrats as a hit piece against Trump, and looking for information that could discredit Candidate #1 Trump. Carter Page was just the foot to surveil the Trump campaign…’ ILLEGAL!’ he wrote on Twitter.