Report: FBI granted FISA warrant to surveil ex-Trump aide Carter Page

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The FBI obtained a warrant to surveil former Donald Trump aide Carter Page last summer under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

The FBI and Justice Department demonstrated probable cause that Page is acting on behalf of a foreign state in order to be granted the warrant.

The FISA warrant was part of the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between Russia and Trump campaign associates, law enforcement and U.S. officials told the Post.

{mosads}“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page told the Post Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.”

The White House, FBI and Justice Department declined the Post’s request for comment.

This report indicates that the FBI believed Page was in touch with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential race. 

The House and Senate Intelligence committees both have ongoing investigations into whether Trump associates worked with the Kremlin in an attempt to help Trump win the election. 

Page has been at the center of speculation about links between Trump aides and Russia because of his ties to the country and a trip to Moscow in July. 

Page and the White House have denied all allegations of improper communications. 

The government has not formally charged Page with any wrongdoing, and it is unclear if the Justice Department plans to do so.  

The Washington Post first reported last week that Page admitted that he met with a Russian spy in 2013, but the former Moscow-based investment banker denies any wrongdoing with regard to Russia and the Trump campaign. 

Trump identified Page as a foreign policy adviser to the Post in the spring of 2016, but campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks later told the paper that Page had an “informal” role. 

A FISA warrant is granted for a 90-day span, and this one was renewed more than once, officials told the Post.

FISA grants are given sparingly, quietly and require the approval from top Justice Department and FBI officials. 

The FISA application for Page laid out in a lengthy testimony claimed how he may be linked to the Russian government or an agent who is carrying out clandestine actions for the Kremlin, an official told the Post. A crime does not need to be committed in order to receive a warrant. But information obtained through a FISA warrant could be used in later prosecution. 

The warrant application also reportedly claimed Page was in communication with other Russian agents whose identities have not yet been publicly disclosed, in addition to his contacts that have already been reported.

The FISA warrant reveals that the FBI and Justice Department both worked to uncover Russian ties to the election as early as July, an official told the newspaper.

Page reportedly was the only U.S. citizen that the government directly surveilled in 2016 through a FISA warrant as part of the government’s Russia probe.

Page raised concern among foreign policy experts for publicly and effusively praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and criticizing U.S. foreign policy toward Russia. In July, Page traveled to Moscow to deliver a speech on the topic.  

The Post reports that the FBI and the Justice Department felt reluctant to use a FISA warrant on campaign figures during the election because it could lead to intercepted communications regarding political campaign strategy.

Obtaining a FISA warrant to surveil foreign diplomats, however, is much more common. The Post reported the FBI used a FISA warrant to listen to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s conversations with Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who resigned after details of the talks became public, as well as revelations that Flynn had misled senior White House officials about the contents of the communications. 

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