WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS News) – Sen. Marco Rubio is refuting President Donald Trump’s latest claims that his campaign was being “illegally” spied on following the FBI’s release of heavily redacted documents detailing the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The Florida Republican, speaking with “Face the Nation” on Sunday, said that “anything and everything” he’s seen while serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee indicates the FBI “did not spy on the campaign.”
“You have an individual here who has openly bragged about his ties to Russia and Russians and he’s never — I don’t think Carter Page has ever said he’s a spy, but he has certainly talked about it,” Rubio said. When asked if the information collected from Page using a FISA court order was justified, Rubio told “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan that the FBI had “reason to believe” Page was a person of interest given his openness about his contacts with Russians.
“I think that’s different from spying on a campaign, in fact, that the Trump campaign has said on numerous occasions that Carter Page was not a major player in their campaign,” Rubio said. “So, you know, based on that statement alone you would conclude that yes, they were looking into this one individual but an individual the campaign themselves said was not a big part of their efforts. Therefore I wouldn’t consider that spying on a campaign.”
Rubio’s comments come in contrast with the president’s tweets Sunday morning, in which he claimed that Page was surveilled “for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC.” He claimed that the documents “with little doubt that the Department of Justice and FBI misled the courts.”
Page has repeatedly denied acting as an agent for the Russian government. His surveillance has become fodder for conservatives who have criticized the Justice Department and FBI for wiretapping Page.
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