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Sen. Burr: Sound reasons supported approval of Page FISA warrant

26 July, 2018, 20:20 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Justice Dept. releases FISA documents on Carter Page

"The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government", the initial FBI application says before it is blacked out and continues: "undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in violation of USA criminal law".

Conservative critics of special counsel Robert Mueller have argued that the FISA warrant is tainted - based on the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russian Federation that was paid for by Democrats - and that because the FISA warrant helped launch the FBI investigation into Trump and Russian Federation, the whole investigation is tainted.

The FBI, in its initial application the month before Trump won the election, said it "believes that the Russian Government's efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1's campaign". "An illegal Scam!" Trump tweeted. Trump has asserted without evidence that the documents, heavily redacted and released Saturday under the Freedom of Information Act, "confirm with little doubt" that intelligence agencies misled a special court that approved the wiretap warrant.

The four-page memo revealed the improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russian Federation investigation, including that the wiretap application was primarily supported by the unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Trump spent days trying to reassure the country that he accepts that the longtime foe interfered in the 2016 election after his public undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies in Helsinki while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The documents released over the weekend were part of officials' application for a warrant to the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance court.

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The FBI's surveillance applications argued the government had probable cause to believe Page had committed a crime in acting as an agent of the Russian government, though the Justice Department did not reveal Saturday which laws it thought he had broken. The requesting authorities have to jump through a number of hoops to obtain a FISA warrant or to have it renewed: They have to prove that the facility to be bugged is being used by someone connected to a foreign power or agent. The FBI believed Steele was a "reliable" source based on his previous work, according to the FISA documents.

Nevertheless, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opted not to monitor Page until after he departed the campaign, so Trump's claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation illegally spied on his campaign are bogus.

The Washington Post says that the release of the 412 pages of documents, despite them being heavily redacted, was "extraordinary and historic", noting that in the 40 years that Fisa has been in effect, it is unclear whether any such documents have ever been handed over previously.

The latest documents, however, plainly note the possible political motive behind hiring Steele: "The FBI speculates that the identified US person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit" Trump's campaign. I will say this: "I don't see any reason why it would be", the president said last Monday.

Page has said in numerous interviews, including in Monday's interview on Fox, that he has never met the two Kremlin insiders identified in the dossier. Page has not been charged. It marks the first time in the more than 40-year history of the highly secretive court that underlying documents for a warrant have been released.

A FISA warrant allows for wiretapping a "foreign power or an agent of a foreign power".



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