EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump campaign aide Carter Page is accusing the Department of Justice of “Orwellian overreach” in its efforts to delay responding to his lawsuit seeking early access to the long-awaited report on FBI surveillance during the 2016 campaign — days before the report is expected to be released.
“On Monday, this Court confirmed that Article II authorities “do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control,” Page says in a court filing, obtained Friday by Fox News. “But characteristic of the Defendant’s Orwellian overreach, DOJ has instead continued to exercise an even greater level of absolute control entailing life-threatening damages against the Plaintiff, stemming from the United States Government’s incessant violations of the Privacy Act of 1974 and other alleged criminal activity.”
The report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, expected to be released on Dec. 9, will detail findings on allegations of abuse in the FBI’s surveillance of Trump associates, including Page, during the 2016 election. It is said to have few redactions.
Multiple news outlets reported this week that Horowitz had found evidence that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to its surveillance of Page. In its initial 2016 FISA warrant application, the FBI described Page as an “agent of a foreign power."
But as Washington braces for the report to drop, Page last month sued the DOJ saying his requests to review the report's draft and other related records had not been fulfilled and that he has a right to see a draft.
While those implicated in an IG report are normally given the opportunity to preview relevant parts of it and issue a written response, the report is about FBI and DOJ actions and not Page's conduct, which would explain why he has not been given that opportunity.
The DOJ responded to the suit by requesting an extension of time to respond, leading in turn to an objection by Page.
In the filing, Page accuses the DOJ of leaking details about the upcoming report to The New York Times. The filing says that Page has been in touch with the Senate Judiciary Committee and in negotiations with the DOJ “in a final attempt to find an interim solution which minimizes further damage to Dr. Page and protects him against subsequent violations of his rights while still allowing essential disclosures about the Defendant’s crimes.”
Page goes on to say that if an “amicable solution” is not reached by next week, he will file an emergency injunction “to help mitigate the impact of further criminal activity by the Defendant.”
The former Trump aide is demanding the DOJ also “expunge all records or information maintained by the DOJ that is inaccurate or derogatory” to Page, and to also award as yet unspecified damages and court costs. He also calls for any DOJ officials responsible for violating the Privacy Act to be referred for prosecution. He says in the filing that denying the DOJ’s request for an extension “may represent an initial step towards restoring the rule of law.”
The report’s release is likely to spark a political firestorm in Washington D.C., with President Trump and Republicans likely to hail the report as proof he was victimized as a candidate — while Democrats will likely play down any bombshells that emerge from the document.
One House Republican source involved in impeachment proceedings told Fox News on Monday that the president is likely to seize on the findings to argue to lawmakers and the public that he has been unfairly targeted.
“It will be damning evidence that government officials really were trying to sabotage Trump, which is what he’s been saying all along, including during the impeachment debate,” the source told Fox News.
Horowitz is expected to testify on Dec. 11 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the report could even spark new congressional investigations while offering information to similar reviews. Sources told Fox News last month that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s separate, ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation—and that Horowitz’s report will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry.
Page told Fox News earlier this month he was “frustrated” that he had not been interviewed as part of Horowitz’s investigation.
Last week, he told The Ingraham Angle that authorities have taken no real action to address what he describes as widespread abuse against the Trump campaign.
“They were spying on all the people I was talking with during the Trump campaign, during the Trump transition and into the early months through September, apparently of 2017 so all of my interactions with various people, they swept up all of that,” Page said.