Marco Rubio defends FBI Carter Page surveillance, says it isn't spying

President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday

He also charged that his campaign was illegally spied upon.

Page, meanwhile, claimed on CNN that some of the claims made in the application were untrue, calling it "ridiculous" and "misleading".

"The F.B.I. believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government", the application said, which after redactions continued with, "undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 USA presidential election in violation of US criminal law".

The FBI released documents on Saturday related to the surveillance of Mr Page as part of an investigation into whether he conspired with the Russian government to undermine the election.

Following a May meeting between President Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Inspector General Michael Horowitz investigated possible abuses in the Justice Department's surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election.

Praising Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation that studied the files, the president tweeted: "As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of "Justice" and Federal Bureau of Investigation misled the courts".

Page, 47, has denied being a Russian agent.

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

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". He left the Trump campaign in September 2016 after reports surfaced about his meetings with Russian contacts.

As Charlie Savage of the New York Times observes, "The spectacle of the release was itself also noteworthy, given that wiretapping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is normally one of the government's closest-guarded secrets".

It added that "Page has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers". They also say the 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 warrant has been a major point of contention between Republicans and Democrats.

Steele's work was funded by a law firm connected to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Steele also alleged in the dossier that Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to exchange information with Russian operatives. Mr Trump has labelled the investigation a "witch hunt".



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