- Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said newly released documents about the Department of Justice’s surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was justified, not illegal spying or proof of collusion with Russia.
- Rubio’s comments came hours after Trump tweeted the documents proved his campaign was “illegally spied upon”.
- Page dismissed the role he once listed as “informal adviser” to the Kremlin as “spin”.
Sen. Marco Rubio said newly released documents that show how the Department of Justice got authorization to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page were justified.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, the Florida Republican told host Jake Tapper he has a “different view” on the meaning of the documents from President Donald Trump, who tweeted hours earlier that they prove his campaign was being “illegally spied upon”.
“I don’t believe that them looking into Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign. I also don’t believe it proves anything about collusion,” Rubio said. “He was a guy that was on their screen even before the campaign.”
He continued: “I don’t think it’s part of any broader plot. The only plot here is the plot to interfere in our election by the Russians.”
Rubio also said Page has “bragged” about his connections to Russia in the past, but became a target for investigators when he joined the Trump campaign in a minor role.
“I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Rubio said, defending investigators. “There was a lot of reasons unrelated to the dossier why they wanted to look at Carter Page.”
Rubio was referring to the so-called Steele Dossier, compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The FBI cited it as part of Page’s surveillance application, disclosing that the person who hired Steele to compile it likely wanted to “discredit” Trump’s presidential campaign.
— CNN (@CNN) July 22, 2018
Trump tweeted Sunday morning, saying the documents proved his campaign was “illegally spied upon” and the department’s investigation was a “Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”
The documents the FBI released late Saturday include 412 pages of surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and warrants for investigating Page.
“The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government,” the surveillance application filed in October 2016 said.
Page appeared just before Rubio on “State of the Union” and walked back his role. Tapper read from a document that Page once described himself as “informal adviser” to the Kremlin. Page called this “spin” and didn’t detail his relationships with Russian officials.
“I’ve never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination,” Page said.