By Chuck Ross THE DC
Shortly after taking office last April, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein renewed a secret surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to a four-page memo that could be released to the public this week.
The New York Times reports that the memo, which was compiled by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, states that Rosenstein signed off on a renewal for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who features prominently in the infamous and unverified Steele dossier.
The memo, which has been the source of bipartisan squabbling over the past week, is said to allege that the Justice Department and FBI abused the FISA process to obtain the order against Page, a 46-year-old energy consultant who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.
U.S. officials reportedly cited the infamous Russia dossier in a FISA warrant taken out against Page in September 2016, just after he left the Trump campaign. According to various reports about the classified memo, the DOJ and FBI did not fully disclose the origins of the dossier and the fact that it was financed by Democrats.
Former British spy Christopher Steele wrote the dossier after being hired by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.
The dossier alleges that Page was the Trump campaign’s contact with the Kremlin and that he met secretly in July 2016 with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin.
Page has vehemently denied the dossier’s allegations and has claimed he is the victim of a witch hunt.
The new report shows that the government had a warrant against Page much more recently than previously known.
In seeking the warrant’s renewal, Rosenstein would have had to attest that he believed there was probable cause that Page was acting as an agent of Russia.
Page told The Daily Caller last week that he “very much” hopes that the push to release the FISA memo will be successful. In a letter last May, Page asked Rosenstein, a former U.S. attorney in Baltimore, to provide documents that were used for the surveillance warrant.
“If FISA warrants indeed exist as has been extensively reported, wide-ranging false evidence will be inevitably revealed in light of the fact that I have never done anything remotely unlawful in Russia or with any Russian person at any point in my life,” Page wrote.
The Justice Department has not replied to Page’s letter, he told TheDC.
“This short summary of the abuses seems to be the next best thing,” he said, referring to the House Intelligence Committee memo.
The committee could hold a vote on the memo as early as Monday. The White House has indicated that President Trump will not object to the release of the document, which was put together by House Intel chairman Devin Nunes, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and Republican staff on the Intelligence Committee.
It has also been reported that the FBI and Justice Department obtained a FISA warrant against Page in 2014. Page popped up on investigators’ radar a year before after several Russian spies made contact with him in what may have been a recruitment attempt.
Page denies that he was recruited by the Russians and has also said that he cooperated with the FBI.
Page has said that he was interviewed multiple times by the FBI last year. It has also been reported that he has testified before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury.