July 22 (UPI) -- Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page said accusations against him included in redacted applications for surveillance warrants, released by the Justice Department on Saturday, are "a complete joke."
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Page told host Jake Tapper the 412 pages of heavily redacted material, including the application in which the FBI said it suspected page was linked to Russian officials and had been collaborating with the Russian government, were misleading.
"You're talking about misleading the courts. It's just so misleading, going through those 400-plus-page documents. You know, where do you even begin?" Page said. "It's literally a complete joke and it only continues. It's just really sad."
"Congratulations to @JudicialWatch and @TomFitton on being successful in getting the Carter Page FISA documents. 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!" Trump wrote.
"Looking more & 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!" he wrote.
Page sent a letter to the Senate intelligence committee in March 2017, saying he may have been wiretapped during the time he spent at Trump Tower for the campaign.
Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., later wrotr a memo that accused top law enforcement officials of relying on an unsubstantiated dossier by former British spy Christopher Steel to get the FISA warrant.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who had written a rebuttal to Nunes' one, said the release of the surveillance warrants applicaitions proved the intelligence community's actions were within the law.
"The release of the Carter Page FISA application makes clear, once again, the FBI acted lawfully and appropriately," he wrote on Twitter. "This hasn't stopped the pesident and Republicans from repeating the same fraudulent taking points in the discredited Nunes memo."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also defended the surveillance warrant during an appearance on State of the Union Sunday.
"I don't think they did anything wrong," Rubio told Tapper. "I think they went to the court, they got the judges to approve it, they laid out all the information, and there was a lot of reasons unrelated to the dossier for why they wanted to look at Carter Page, and Carter Page was not a key member of the Trump campaign."
He followed up his statement with a post on Twitter, saying the FBI had "many reasons" to investigate Page.
"Looking into him is not 'spying' on Trump campaign, because as the White House made clear last year, he was 'not an 'advisor' to Mr. Trump in any sense of the word,'" Rubio said.
In the documents, released Saturday, the FBI told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Page had "established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers" and "has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government."
The court issued a warrant to allow the Justice Department to surveil Page, an American oil industry consultant who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump as he was campaigning for president, in the summer of 2016 based on evidence he was working as a Russian agent. He has been under investigation by U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA, NSA and FBI, for alleged contact he has had with Russian officials under U.S. sanctions.
When asked about his interaction with the Russian government Page said it was "over the top" to describe him as an adviser, stating he "sat in on some meetings" including at the 2013 G20 summit in St. Petersburg.
"I might have participated in a few meetings that a lot of people, including people from the Obama administration, were sitting in on, in Geneva, Paris, et cetera," Page said.
Tapper then quoted a 2013 letter in which Page said he "had the privilege to serve as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for the presidency of the G20 next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda."
Page responded by noting the use of the word "informal" and stating the distinction to mean he was "having some conversations with people."
"This is really nothing and just an attempt to distract from the real crimes that are shown in this misleading document," he added.
Page also described claims that he had advised the Kremlin as "spin" and denied ever acting as an agent of the Russian government.
"I have never been an agent of the foreign power by any stretch of the imagination," he said.