Lots of stories of late have reported that the FBI was investigating ties between "Trump associates" and Russia, and now there's a definitive name: Carter Page. He served as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and the Washington Post reports that the FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor his communications. The warrant came from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which handles the most sensitive intelligence cases. The newspaper's takeaway: "This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents." Carter, who used to work as an investment banker in Moscow, has not been charged with or even accused of any crimes, and he ridiculed the warrant.
“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” he said. “I have nothing to hide.” The Atlantic notes that while the warrant could buttress Trump's claims that the Obama administration spied on his campaign, it carries a big downside for Trump, too. Because in order to get the warrant, the FBI and the Justice Department would have had to make a decent case that Page was acting as an agent for a foreign power. Page's name is a familiar one in regard to the Trump-Russia stories, but he first came to the attention of the feds in 2013, before the campaign, because of his contacts with a Russian spy suspect. BuzzFeed has details of the transcripts that surfaced from that case. At one point, the Russian tells one of his counterparts, "You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go f--- himself.”