According to sources speaking with the Post, the FBI received a secret court order to surveil Page in the summer of 2016. The warrant was granted after the FBI and the Justice Department were able to argue probable cause Page was “acting as an agent of a foreign power.” A FISA warrant being obtained in this regard definitely ranks as the latest black eye for the optics of Trump-Russia relations, although the Trump-Russia dynamic has certainly appeared to change of late.
This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department might later seek charges against him or others in connection with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections began in July, officials have said. Most such investigations don’t result in criminal charges.
“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” said Page on the subject. “I have nothing to hide.”
Page and the White House have previously denied allegations of inappropriate contact with Russia, a stance that likely won’t change following the Post‘s report. In fact, President Trump’s insistence that there was “wire tapping” (a term that Trump has attempted to redefine as reports shot down the claim) could be emboldened with FBI-approved monitoring being used as part of Trump’s Obama sabotaged me narrative. The White House has distanced themselves from the former foreign policy advisor in the previous fallout over his meeting with a Russian intelligence agent.
(Via Washington Post)