Nov 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page sues FBI, Justice Department

Former Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at CPAC in February 2020.

Carter Page at CPAC in February 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page filed a $75 million lawsuit against the FBI, Justice Department and former FBI Director James Comey, claiming he was the victim of “unlawful spying" during the bureau's Russia investigation.

Why it matters: The lawsuit largely echoes a DOJ inspector general report that found errors in applications to acquire wiretap warrants on Page through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, according to AP.

Context: Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who investigated the origins of the 2016 Russia investigations, said in a 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's scrutiny of Trump administration officials, including Page.

  • Horowitz also determined that the FBI was justified in opening its probe after receiving a tip on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
  • However, the inspector general also counted at least 17 errors in Page's FISA application, including the omission of information that may have refuted allegations he was a Russian agent.

The big picture: The lawsuit, filed Friday, accuses the FBI of relying excessively on information complied by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, and that the bureau failed to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Steele’s primary source contradicted information that Steele attributed to him.

  • The suit also claims the FBI misled the court about his relationship with the CIA.
  • Kevin Clinesmith, an ex-FBI lawyer, pleaded guilty in August to altering an email, saying Page had not been a source for the CIA when he was. The email was used in an application to renew a wiretap on Page.
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