Law enforcement and other US officials have claimed that the FBI obtained a confidential court order, last summer, to observe the communications of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s adviser, Carter Page. The court order was obtained as part of the investigation on possible links between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
According to the officials, the Justice Department and the FBI obtained a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge, to monitor Page’s communications. Both departments believed, and convinced the judge that Page was acting as an agent for a foreign power. Reportedly, they had enough probable cause to support their beliefs.
So far, this is the strongest evidence the FBI has to believe that a Trump campaign adviser was in contact with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. Such personnel and several other individuals are now part of the investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
Page has not been accused of any crimes yet, and it is still not clear whether the Justice Department will look to file charges against him or any others in connection to Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Officials say that the counterintelligence investigation to determine Russia’s role in the US elections began in July and that most such investigations usually don’t involve criminal charges.
Officials declined to mention any names or disclose their identity because they were not authorized to discuss details of any probe involving counterintelligence investigations.
In March 2016, during an interview with the Washington Post, Trump identified Page as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign team. Page has previously worked as an investment banker in Moscow, and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks has been known to describe his role as mostly “informal.”
Meanwhile, Page has continued to reject any claims that he acted as an agent for Russia. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in his work with Trump’s presidential campaign.
“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview on Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He further compared his case to the surveillance that the Justice Department and the FBI conducted against Martin Luther King Jr.
The Justice Department, FBI, and the White House refused to give any comments.