Home World NewsDonald Trump again casts doubt on Russian election meddling
Donald Trump again casts doubt on Russian election meddling

Donald Trump again casts doubt on Russian election meddling

Either way, it appeared to keep alive a controversy that had separated Mr Trump from aides and longtime political supporters and brought some of the most striking rebukes of his tenure in the Oval Office.

“The evidence is overwhelming and the President needs to say that and act like it,” said Republican Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, in an interview with Fox News Sunday aired hours before Mr Trump’s tweet.

Two Trump associates, former national security adviser Mike Flynn and campaign foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty last year to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller alleging they had lied to the FBI about their Russia contacts.

Mr Trump’s latest missive came hours after he asserted without evidence that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that intelligence agencies misled the court that approved the warrant.

But lawmakers from both political parties said that the documents don’t show wrongdoing and that they even appear to undermine some previous claims by top Republicans on the basis for obtaining a warrant against Mr Page.

Visible portions of the heavily redacted documents, released on Saturday under the Freedom of Information Act, show the FBI telling the court that Mr Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government”.

The agency also told the court that “the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government”.

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

Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday on the documents: “As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”

The release appears to undercut some of the contentions in a memo prepared by House Intelligence Committee chairman Republican Devin Nunes earlier this year.

Mr Nunes and other Republicans had said that anti-Trump research in a dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and paid for by Democrats was used inappropriately to obtain the warrant on Mr Page.

While the documents confirm that the FBI relied, in part, on information from Mr Steele to obtain the initial warrant, they also show how the FBI informed the court of his likely motivation.

A page-long footnote in the warrant application lays out the FBI’s assessment of Mr Steele’s history and the likely interest of his backer, adding that despite the political concern, the bureau believed at least some of his report to be “credible”.

Democrat Adam Schiff, a ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said the documents detail “just why the FBI was so concerned that Carter Page might be acting as an agent of a foreign power”.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio also broke with Mr Trump, saying he didn’t think the FBI did anything wrong in obtaining warrants against Page.

On Sunday, Mr Page told CNNthat he had “never been the agent of a foreign power”.

Mr Page has not been charged with a crime, but he has been interviewed by the FBI and congressional investigators about his ties to Russia.

AP

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