The FBI reportedly obtained a FISA warrant to surveil a former Trump adviser



The FBI obtained a FISA warrant last summer to monitor the communications of Carter Page, who was an early foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The energy-consultant-turned-foreign-policy adviser was named in an unverified dossier about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. His trips to Moscow and contact with at least one Russian official last year are now reportedly under FBI investigation.

The dossier alleged that Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia's state oil company, offered Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. The dossier says the offer was made in July, when Page was in Moscowgiving a speech at the Higher Economic School.

Page has called accusations that he served as a liaison an "illegal" form of "retribution" for the speech, in which he slammed the US for its "hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change."

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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations
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Key players in Trump-Russia connection allegations

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Sergey Kislyak

Outgoing Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak is the Russian official U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions -- communication Sessions denied during his Senate committee hearing testimony.

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The American intelligence community accused Putin in Jan. 2017 of ordering a campaign to undermine trust in the American electoral process, developing a clear preference for Trump as president. "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report read.

James Comey

Comey publicly confirmed in March an FBI inquiry into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election. “The F.B.I., as part of our counterintelligence effort, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election,” Comey stated.

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

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Page told Business Insider that he "was so happy to hear that further confirmation [of surveillance] is now being revealed. It shows how low the Clinton/Obama regime went to destroy our democracy and suppress dissidents who did not fully support their failed foreign policy."

Law-enforcement and intelligence agencies wishing to monitor signal intelligence they deem relevant to an investigation — in this case, suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election — must obtain what is known as a FISA warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Page told BI that he believes the FISA requests were "unjustified." But the government's application for the FISA warrant targeting Page, The Post reported, has been renewed more than once, and "included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators' basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow."

There were contacts Page had with Russian intelligence officials that he did not disclose, according to The Post, and unanswered questions about a court case involving a Russian spy who tried to recruit him in 2013.

BuzzFeed News obtained the court filing for the case, which included a transcript of a conversation between Victor Podobnyy, the person accused of spying, and Igor Sporyshev, another Russian operative, about trying to recruit someone identified as "Male-1."

Page confirmed to BuzzFeed that he was "Male-1." But he said in a statement later that his personal identity was made "easily identifiable" in the court documents because the US government wanted to punish him for his "public positions of dissent."

Page found himself at the center of a Russia-related firestorm in late February after USA Today reported that he met Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during an event at the Republican National Convention. At least two other Trump associates, former adviser J.D. Gordon and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the US attorney general, also spoke with Kislyak at the convention.

The White House has distanced itself from Page, insisting that he was an "informal" adviser to the campaign who left in early September. Page had no badge, an administration official told Business Insider last month, and never signed a non-disclosure agreement — two requirements of anyone working with the campaign in an official capacity. He also wasn't on the campaign's payroll, the official said, and did not have a campaign email account.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, has asked Page to preserve all information related to contacts with Russians during the campaign. He volunteered to be interviewed by the committee last month.

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