Carter Page downplays information in surveillance applications as 'spin'

Carter Page downplays information in surveillance applications as 'spin'
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Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Sunday pushed back against claims in newly released Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that he was recruited by and had relationships with Russian officials.

"This is so ridiculous it’s just beyond words," Page told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union."

Page during the interview repeatedly sought to cast information laid out in the documents as "spin," and often dodged direct questions about his connections to Russian officials.

"I’ve never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination," Page said.

He acknowledged that he attended the Group of 20 summit in Russia in 2013, but suggested his involvement with Russian officials was overblown.

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“It’s really spin. I mean, I sat in on some meetings. But to call me an adviser, I think, is way over the top,” Page said.

However, Tapper noted that Page called himself an "informal adviser" to the Kremlin in a 2013 letter written leading up to the summit. 

"This is really nothing," Page responded. "Just an attempt to distract from the real crimes that are shown in this misleading document."

Pressed later on whether he has relationships with Russian government officials, Page cautioned that he wanted to "see what they're referring to specifically," noting the DOJ warrants had been largely redacted.

The Justice Department late Saturday released documents related to surveillance warrants on Page. The materials laid out, in part, the FBI’s belief that Page had established relationships and was collaborating with Russian government officials. 

The heavily redacted materials indicated 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 DOJ released the materials after months of furor on Capitol Hill over the matter, which is likely to continue.

Republicans have repeatedly claimed that the surveillance warrants relied on the so-called Steele dossier, which partly contains salacious and unfounded allegations about President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s ties to Russia. GOP lawmakers also asserted that the DOJ did not properly disclose the origin of the dossier to the judges signing off on the warrant. 

The application shows that the FBI told the court that it believed the person who hired Steele to compile the dossier was seeking information to damage Trump. However, officials told the court it found the information to be “credible.”

Additionally, the application was based on information beyond what was in the dossier. 

The document disclosed which four judges signed off on the warrant against Page. All four were appointed by Republican presidents.

Even so, Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to claim the newly released documents proved his campaign was illegally being spied upon.

“Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!” Trump tweeted.