A former campaign adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump is denying he has ever worked as an agent for the Russian government.
The FBI released documents Saturday which were used in part to obtain a warrant to surveil Carter Page as part of an investigation into whether the former Trump aide conspired with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 U.S. election.
The heavily redacted 2016 surveillance application said, “the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government.” The documents released include applications and renewal warrants filed in 2017 after Trump took office.
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On Sunday, Page denied he has ever been an agent for the Russian government.
“I have never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination,” Page said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.
“I may have participated in a few meetings that a lot of people, including people from the Obama administration, were sitting in on.”
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.
On Sunday morning, Trump described the surveillance on Twitter as being illegal.
“Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” he wrote.
At least one prominent Republican denied the U.S. president’s claim, however.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Marco Rubio pointed to the fact the FBI was keeping an eye on Page well before the election.
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“I don’t believe that them looking into Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign. I also don’t believe it proves anything about collusion,” Rubio said. “He was a guy that was on their screen even before the campaign.
“I don’t think it’s part of any broader plot. The only plot here is the plot to interfere in our election by the Russians.”
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.”
*With files from Associated Press