Speed Reads

Trump and Russia

The FBI apparently convinced a FISA judge that Trump adviser Carter Page was likely a Russian agent

Last summer, the FBI applied for and was granted a secret court order allowing agents to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to candidate Donald Trump, "after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia," The Washington Post reported Tuesday night, citing "law enforcement and other U.S. officials." FISA warrants are valid for 90 days, but Page's warrant was reportedly renewed more than once.

The reported FISA warrant for Page is the clearest evidence of contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian agents, the basis for an acknowledged FBI counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the presidential election away from Hillary Clinton. Page is the only American in that investigation to have his communications directly monitored under a FISA warrant in 2016, officials tell The Post, though the FBI routinely gets FISA warrants to surveil foreign diplomats in the U.S. He has not been accused of a crime.

In order to obtain a warrant for Page, the FBI had to convince a judge that Page was likely an agent of the Kremlin who had knowingly done clandestine intelligence work for the Russian government, officials told The Post. FISA warrants must be approved at the highest level of the FBI and Justice Department, and the bar for obtaining the warrants is quite high.

The Justice Department, FBI, and White House declined to comment, but Page told The Washington Post that the FISA warrant "confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance," comparing his FBI monitoring to that conducted against Martin Luther King Jr. You can read more about Carter's FISA warrant at The Washington Post, and below, hear Post report Adam Entous discuss on CNN what we know — and still don't know — about Page, Russia, and Trump. Peter Weber