'Witch hunt rigged, a scam!' Trump claims wiretapping documents 'confirm' misconduct

Some Republicans have suggested the FBI misrepresented evidence to obtain warrants to monitor Carter Page as they investigated possible collusion with the Russian government

July 22, 2018
11:22 AM EDT

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Share this story'Witch hunt rigged, a scam!' Trump claims wiretapping documents 'confirm' misconduct

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that intelligence agencies misled the courts that approved the warrant. But lawmakers from both parties say the documents don’t show wrongdoing.

The documents have been at the centre of a political firestorm for months, as some Republicans have suggested that the FBI misrepresented evidence to obtain warrants to monitor Page as they investigated possible collusion between the Russian government and a Trump aide. The documents had remained out of public view until Saturday, when they were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Visible portions of the heavily redacted documents show the FBI telling the court that Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.” The agency also told the court that “the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.”

The documents were part of officials’ application for a warrant to the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance court, which signed off on surveilling Page.

Trump tweeted Sunday on the documents: “As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said the documents lay out in detail “just why the FBI was so concerned that Carter Page might be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

“It was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges appointed by three different Republican presidents,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also broke with Trump, saying he didn’t think the FBI did anything wrong in obtaining warrants against Page.

“I have a different view on this issue than the president and the White House,” Rubio said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “They did not spy on the campaign from anything and everything that I have seen. You have an individual here who has openly bragged about his ties to Russia and Russians.”

Page has denied being an agent of Russia, which he repeated Sunday to CNN, saying, “No. I’ve never been the agent of a foreign power.”

In a 2013 letter, Page described himself as an “informal adviser’ to the Kremlin but now he told CNN “it’s really spin” to call him an adviser.

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