Trump doubles down on claim that Carter Page FISA documents discredit Mueller probe, without evidence

  • President Trump reiterates his claims that the release of top-secret documents related to the FBI's wiretapping of former campaign aide Carter Page "discredited" special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
  • The classified documents released by the Trump administration over the weekend showed that the FBI took pains to disclose the origins for the request to surveil Page. The documents also show that four judges who signed off on the FBI's surveillance were appointed by Republicans.
Carter Page, makes a presentation titled 'Departing from Hypocrisy: Potential Strategies in the Era of Global Economic Stagnation, Security Threats and Fake News' during his visit to Moscow, December 12, 2016.
Artyom Korotayev | TASS | Getty Images
Carter Page, makes a presentation titled 'Departing from Hypocrisy: Potential Strategies in the Era of Global Economic Stagnation, Security Threats and Fake News' during his visit to Moscow, December 12, 2016.

President Donald Trump on Monday doubled down on his claims that the release of top-secret documents related to the FBI's wiretapping of former campaign aide Carter Page "discredited" special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

"So we now find out that it was indeed the unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, that was knowingly & falsely submitted to FISA and which was responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!" the president wrote in a Twitter post Monday morning.

On Saturday, the Trump administration released more than 400 pages of heavily redacted documents that included four applications for surveillance, starting in October 2016.

Republicans have seized on the claim that the FBI relied on a dossier of intelligence reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele to gain court approval for the surveillance, which the president has likened to spying.

The president, in tweets Monday morning, reiterated his claims that his campaign was inappropriately spied on and that the investigations into his ties to Russia are a "fraud and a hoax." He also cited comments from Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, who had appeared on "Fox & Friends" shortly before Trump's tweets.

"They should drop the discredited Mueller witch hunt now!" the president wrote.

Despite Trump's claims, the documents released on Saturday revealed that the FBI took pains to make clear that its interest in wiretapping Page was rooted in what the agency viewed as probable cause that he was acting as a foreign agent. Four judges, who were all appointed by Republicans, signed off on the FBI's assertions, the documents show.

The FBI did not hide in its applications the fact that Steele's work was intended to dig up dirt on Trump, and specified Steele's funding sources. It also wrote that despite Steele's reason for conducting the research into Trump's ties to Russia, the FBI found his work to be credible. It also showed that Steele's dossier was not the only source it relied on in its applications.

Steele's work was funded by the conservative Washington Free Beacon as well as a law firm retained by Democrats including Hillary Clinton.

The documents show that the FBI believed that Page, who served as a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, had been "collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government" as the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election. The FBI wrote that Page was the subject of "targeted recruitment by the Russian Government."

Page has denied being a foreign agent. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union on Saturday, Page called the documents "misleading" and downplayed previous comments he had made about serving as an informal advisor to Russia — saying he only sat in on some meetings.

In February, the president demanded the public release of a memo written by House Intelligence Commitee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that sought to discredit the surveillance warrant by suggesting that Steele's sources of funding were not disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Democrats at the time argued that the memo was misleading.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.