Trump attacks 'Mueller Witch Hunt' in new tweetstorm

Alyson Hurt  NPR

The FBI has released documents related to the surveillance of a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump as part of its probe into whether the aide conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The FBI released the previously secret document cache on Saturday night following Freedom of Information requests by several United States organisations.

Trump's Monday morning tweet claims that the opposition research dossier started the Russian Federation investigation - the argument that if the dossier is discredited, so is the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, which has become special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

One of the liberals' talking points, however, insists that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had enough dirt on Page to submit FISA surveillance warrant requests and renewals without relying heavily on the dossier.

Republicans have previously pointed to the warrant's reliance on the Steele dossier - which was initially commissioned by a firm that had been contracted by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign - as evidence that the warrant was improperly granted, due to the dossier's alleged bias.

The New York Times and other news outlets obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

Indeed. Comey FBI partially relied on an anonymously sourced report from a Hillary Clinton operative (Michael Isikoff of Yahoo news) to get approval to spy on Carter Page.

An over one-year long investigation by the House Intelligence Committee concluded in April this year that there was no evidence to support the claims of collusion.

"He never had a job with respect to the Trump campaign and Trump administration".

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who, in a recent Hudson Institute speech warned of Russian cyber attacks saying: "The warning lights are blinking red again".

The court - established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 - is meant to examine applications by the US government for approval of surveillance for "foreign intelligence purposes".

Page has denied being a Russian agent. The application explains that "Source #1" was hired to do research on "Candidate #1's ties to Russia" that "could be used to discredit" his campaign.

"It was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges, appointed by three different Republican presidents", said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Mueller is investigating whether there was any collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign.

Much of the coverage in the week since the summit has focused on Trump's refusal to confront Putin more aggressively about election interference and how little has been disclosed about what the two leaders discussed during a private meeting that lasted more than two hours. "I've never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination". They were made public after media organisations sued for their release. By October, they were focusing on Page, who had left the Trump campaign earlier in the year after he, too, had served as a foreign policy aide.

The Steele dossier did not trigger Mueller's investigation.

"Why not just say, 'This document was paid for [by] the Clinton campaign?' Just come out with it straight and tell the court?" As if it's second nature at this point, Trump took issue with the information available within the documents.

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