Under the suspicion of possible hidden communication with Russia, the FBI obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to examine Trump’s former campaign adviser Carter Page.
The FBI claims it has reason to believe that Page was acting as an agent for Russia during the campaign. Page called the warrant “unjustified,” but officials disagree. According to FBI Director James Comey, lawyers must have substantial evidence against a citizen to receive authorization for surveillance. The Washington Post reported his comments about the magnitude of such an undertaking:
“Applications for FISA warrants, Comey said, are often thicker than his wrists, and that thickness represents all the work Justice Department attorneys, and FBI agents have to do to convince a judge that such surveillance is appropriate in an investigation.”
The court documents against Page pointed out he lived in Moscow from 2004 to 2007, was a target of a Russian spy program in 2013, and travels quite frequently to the country. Documents stated that a professed Russian spy even said of Page:
“He flies to Moscow more often than I do.”
The Washington Post reported Tuesday:
“This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.”
Despite the lengthy evidence against him, Page firmly denies any charges. In an interview on Tuesday, he turned the scandal back on the FBI, expressing his disgust for their exposed secretive conduct:
“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance.”
In an interview with CNN, Page goes so far as to state that the FBI’s warrant against him was more impactful during the election than the data collection of Clinton and her advisers. He claims that citizens did not learn much from Clinton’s leaked e-mails, while the “crazy stories” targeting Trump’s campaign had tremendous influence.
Reports are now cropping up that Page was not even closely related to Trump during the election. Although he was mentioned as part of Trump’s foreign policy team, the President denied even knowing the man at a news conference in February of this year:
“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. Now, it’s possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I ever met him.”
Page has called himself a “junior member” of Trump’s campaign team, and admits to having communication with some fellow advisers, but denies ever meeting Trump face-to-face or shaking his hand.