Trump tweets his campaign was spied on illegally and FBI misled courts

Washington: US President Donald Trump has tweeted that it looks more and more as though his campaign for the 2016 presidential election was spied upon illegally.

On Sunday, he tweeted that the Russia investigation was "an illegal Scam!"

Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The President was reacting after the Justice Department on Saturday released a previously classified application to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who was under suspicion by the FBI of being a Russian agent.

The government had monitored Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the heavily redacted documents were made public after media organisations sued for their release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The release of the documents, along with three subsequent applications to renew the surveillance, was extraordinary and historic.

In the four decades that FISA has been in effect, it's not clear that any application for surveillance has ever been released.

Materials related to FISA operations and legal process are among the most highly classified and closely guarded in the government.

Visible portions of the 412 pages, mostly heavily redacted, show the FBI telling the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Page "has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government" to undermine the election.

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

The secretive court signed off on surveilling Page.

Page, who left the Trump campaign in September 2016, has denied being an agent of the Russian government and has not been charged with any crime.

Trump also tweeted on Sunday that the documents about Page confirmed with little doubt the Department of Justice and FBI misled the courts.

In his tweets, Trump also took aim at defeated Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), her party's governing body.

"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 said.

"Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!"

Referring to the Page documents, he said: "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 documents released include applications and renewal warrants filed in 2017 after Trump took office.

They said: "The FBI believes that the Russian government's efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Trump's campaign]."

And: "[Page] has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers."

And further: "The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government."

Last week, a federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Trump.

Reuters, The Washington Post, AP

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