Here’s a photo of former Trump advisor Carter Page giving a December 2016 speech about the global economy and fake news in Moscow. This wasn’t an isolated incident, of course. Shady Page is a regular in Russia — he lived there for three years back in the day — and in 2013, he met with a Russian spy, who tried to recruit him. Page has said that the Trump campaign was unaware of the overture, but the FBI took special notice of another visit that Page took to Moscow, and that particular trip helped to prompt the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties in the first place.
Yes, Carter Page could have been the spark for all of this suspicion that’s leading to the unearthing of legitimately unsettling ties and possible collusion. The trip that drew the FBI’s attention — beyond the “occasional interest” in him that the bureau already maintained — was one where Page spoke in Moscow about how the West “unnecessarily perpetuated Cold War tendencies.” Here’s some more intrigue from the New York Times:
It is unclear exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit drew the F.B.I.’s interest: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else. [After he] stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, the F.B.I. obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing the authorities to monitor his communications on the suspicion that he was a Russian agent.
When the F.B.I. opened its investigation in late July, agents were just beginning to explore whether Mr. Trump’s advisers had contacts with Russian government officials or intelligence operatives, according to the current and former American officials, who spoke about the continuing inquiry on the condition of anonymity. In the months that followed, they said, more evidence came to light, including intercepts of Russian officials discussing Mr. Page and other Trump associates.
Page’s actions during the July 2016 trip were detailed in the
“Golden Showers” Russia dossier that was compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who reported some major details of note: (1) The trip was taken with Trump’s blessing and financed by the campaign. (2) Further, Page met with Russian oil company Rosneft, and CEO Igor Sechin (a Putin ally) dangled a 19% share of Rosneft in front of Page in exchange for him pushing to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The Russia dossier also provided details that the FBI used to find probable cause that led to the FISA warrant for monitoring the Page due to the possibility of him being a Russian agent. And of course, Page is now threatening to sue Obama officials for allegedly violating his civil rights with the FISA warrant.
So essentially, Trump has Page to thank for inspiring the FBI’s digging into campaign ties with Russia. Not that Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn wouldn’t have pushed things to that point eventually, but Page worked it.
(Via New York Times)