The FISA warrant application, released on Saturday after FOIA requests, states that the FBI “believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government”, “that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government”, and “there is probable cause that such activities involve or are about to involve violations of the criminal statutes of the United States.”Page told Tapper the accusations are “so ridiculous” and denied allegations that he worked for Moscow, calling them “spin” and “way over the top”, CNN reports.
“I sat in on some meetings,” Page said.
However, when Tapper pressed him about his previous comments referring to himself as an informal adviser to the Kremlin, Page downplayed his earlier remarks, responding, “informal, having some conversations with people, I mean, this is really nothing and just an attempt to distract from the real crimes shown in this misleading document.”
Page denied being an agent of a foreign power in the State of the Union interview.
“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 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.”
Tapper asked Carter Page if, at any time in 2016, any Russian government official had spoken to him about either lifting the sanctions or compromising material on Hillary Clinton.
Page denied stating, “on compromising material, not one word. I was hearing about things when you were hearing about things in the mainstream media” but went on to say, “You know, look, when I was there in July of 2016, you know a few people might have brought it up in passing. But, you know, again, it’s a major economic issue and so you know there may have been a loose conversation. I’m very careful in terms of making sure there is a clean record. There was nothing in terms of any nefarious behavior.”
Page laughed when Tapper stated, “Okay, so, you did discuss sanctions with individuals in Russia,” but gave a firm “No” when asked again about discussing compromising material on Hillary Clinton with a Russian, not the media.
⊕ Carter Page, a former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor, was let go from the campaign in August 2016.
⊕ The FISA warrant application is dated October 2016. It was renewed three subsequent times.
⊕ This is the first public release of a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application. It’s release was prompted by FOIA requests after the dueling GOP and Democrat memos had detailed portions of the application.
⊕ The document is 412 pages and is heavily redacted.
⊕ President Trump has tweeted today about the document, claiming the FBI misled the court and calling the FISA application investigation a “scam” and the special counsel’s investigation a “witch hunt”. He also claimed again, without merit, that the surveillance, starting in October 2016, of Carter Page, who left the campaign in August 2016, was a way to illegally surveil the Trump campaign.
⊕ Senator Marco Rubio defended the warrant this morning, saying “Carter Page was not a key member of the Trump campaign.”