In Tweets, Trump Baselessly Asserts Carter Page FISA App Shows DOJ, FBI Misconduct

US President Donald Trump salutes as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival in Morristown, New Jersey, on July 20, 2018. - Trump is spending the weekend at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Ph... US President Donald Trump salutes as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival in Morristown, New Jersey, on July 20, 2018. - Trump is spending the weekend at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
July 22, 2018 11:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump on Sunday baselessly asserted that the newly-released, highly-redacted FBI application to surveil a former campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, “confirm[s] with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts.”

The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” the application says.

It adds: “[T]here is probable cause that such activities involve or are about to involve violations of the criminal statutes of the United States.”

Page, meanwhile, claimed on CNN that some of the claims made in the application were untrue, calling it “ridiculous” and “misleading.” 

However, the warrant to surveil Page was successfully renewed three times after its initial approval, which itself was signed by four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges all appointed by Republican presidents. The surveillance was also approved by law enforcement officials from both the Obama and Trump administrations.

And the documents, which were released in response to lawsuits from various news organizations, fly in the face of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) claim in a memo earlier this year that the FBI had misled the FISC.

Among other things, Nunes asserted that the application had not properly informed the court of the political nature of former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele’s work in compiling a dossier on Trump, information from which was included in the application for a warrant to surveil Page.

Steele was hired by a research firm, Fusion GPS, which in turned had been hired by a lawyer, Marc Elias, who was representing both the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. 

Contrary to Nunes, as Lawfare’s David Kris noted, “the footnote disclosing Steele’s possible bias takes up more than a full page in the applications, so there is literally no way the FISA Court could have missed it.”

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday, Page disputed certain assertions found in the application, echoing his past denials of being a Russian agent. No charges have been brought against the former campaign aide.

“No, I’ve never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “I may have, back in the [2013] G20 when they were getting ready to do that in St. Petersburg, I might have participated in a few meetings that a lot of people including people from the Obama administration were sitting on, and Geneva, Paris, et cetera, but I’ve never been anywhere near what’s being described here.”

“I sat in on some meetings,” he said separately. “To call me an adviser is way over the top.”

The New York Times and Washington Post both noted that they hadn’t found another example of a FISC warrant application that had been released publicly since the enactment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act four decades ago.

The TPM Journalism Fund: A New Way To Support TPM
We're launching the TPM Journalism Fund as an additional way for readers and members to support TPM. Every dollar contributed goes toward:
  • -Hiring More Journalists
  • -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism
Are you experiencing financial hardship?
Apply for a free community-supported membership
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: