Former Trump campaign aide Carter Page on Friday filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and several former high-ranking federal law enforcement officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, alleging his civil rights were violated in connection with the “unlawful surveillance and investigation of him by the United States Government.”
Page was one of the first four people the Bureau identified as possible suspects during the opening days of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. The other three, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos, were all convicted of federal crimes. (Flynn has been pardoned.)
“This case is about holding accountable the entities and individuals who are responsible for the most egregious violation and abuse of the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] statute since it was enacted over forty years ago,” Page’s attorney Leslie McAdoo Gordon wrote in the filed complaint.
“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page, there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA Warrants targeting him on this basis.”
The former campaign foreign policy advisor managed to not only avoid prosecution but was at least partially vindicated by a Department of Justice Inspector General’s report released in December of 2019. That report said Page was subjected to unlawful surveillance. It uncovered “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications” and noted that the applications contained assertions that the underlying “information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. However, the report also “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to seek FISA authority on Carter Page.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, the OIG report may have debunked the conspiracy theories that the FBI’s investigation was motivated by political bias against Donald Trump, but it also laid out a number of “fundamental errors” and glaring procedural oversights committed by the bureau in its investigation of Page.
Specifically, the OIG report revealed that the Page warrant applications contained several glaring “Woods procedures” violations—the processes designed to ensure the bureau’s claims to the court are factually accurate. While the report confirmed that the FBI did not rely on any unverified claims contained in the now-infamous Steele Dossier, it failed to provide enough mitigating evidence to adversely affect the applications to surveil Page. Ultimately, the DOJ earlier this year invalidated two of the four FISA warrants issued against Page. But two were left to stand.
Named defendants in the suit also include former FBI agents Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Kevin Clinesmith.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Clinesmith, then a bureau attorney, was formally charged with one felony count of making a false statement altering an email by saying that Page had not been a source for the CIA. He pleaded guilty to the charge in August.
Read the full lawsuit below.
[image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
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