Trump alleges the FBI spied on his campaign for White House
US President Donald Trump yesterday accused the FBI of spying on his presidential campaign after the release of top secret surveillance warrant applications accusing his former foreign policy adviser of conspiring with Russia.
In a series of angry tweets, he condemned the bureau and the Department of Justice for relying on a dossier created by Christopher Steele, the former British spy, and not disclosing that it was commissioned by the Democrats.
Warrants dating back to October 2016 and considerably redacted were released to 'The New York Times' under the Freedom of Information Act. They state that the adviser, Carter Page, was suspected of "collaborating and conspiring" with Russia. Mr Trump wrote: "As usual they are ridiculously heavily redacted but confirm with little doubt that the Department of "Justice" and FBI misled the courts. Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!"
He later added: "Looking more and more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Ask her how that worked out - she did better with crazy Bernie. Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!"
However, this appears at odds with both Republican and Democratic politicians who said federal authorities were justified in tracking Mr Page and that it did not amount to spying on the presidential campaign, according to Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Excerpts from the documents stated Mr Page had forged "relationships with Russian government officials". But Mr Page said: "I've never been an agent of a foreign power."
The released documents said: "The FBI believes the Russian government's efforts are being co-ordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with" Trump's campaign. It added that Mr Page "has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers".
Last week, a federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016, in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the presidential election to help Mr Trump.
Meanwhile, Dan Coats, director of US National Intelligence, said his "admittedly awkward response" to news of Vladimir Putin's visit to Washington "was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticise the president's actions".