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Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein applauds during National Missing Children's Day at the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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(Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved to extend surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page shortly after assuming office last spring, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with a secret Republican memo.

The extension shows the Department of Justice, under President Donald Trump, saw reason to believe that Page was acting as a Russian agent, the paper reported on Sunday. (http://nyti.ms/2DTxV9t)

The memo paints the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election as tainted from the start, the paper said.

The Times report did not reveal the evidence Rosenstein relied on to authorize extension of the surveillance.

Rosenstein, also a Republican, took office in April after being nominated by Trump.

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party were not immediately available to comment late on Sunday. Reuters could not contact Carter Page for comment.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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