January 20, 2018


FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page (Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous, April 11, 2017, wASHINGTON pOST)
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page's communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump's favor.

Carter Page reveals new contacts with Trump campaign, Russians (Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Katelyn Polantz, 11/08/17, CNN)

Carter Page's six-plus hours of testimony before the House intelligence committee makes clear senior members of the Trump campaign were aware of the former Trump foreign policy adviser's July 2016 trip to Russia -- and Page may have had interactions with more Russian government officials beyond what he's previously acknowledged, according to a transcript of the interview released Monday night.

Page told the committee he was invited to speak in Russia after joining the campaign -- a similar pattern to foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who was approached by a professor connected to the Russian government after the professor learned he was advising the campaign.

In the interview, Page says that he sought permission for his trip ahead of time and asked for advice about his remarks at a university, and afterward he offered to provide a readout to the campaign. Page also floated the idea that Trump travel to Russia in his place to give an Obama-like foreign speech.

The curious journey of Carter Page, the former Trump adviser who can't stay out of the spotlight (Dan Zak,  November 16, 2017 , wASHINGTON pOST)

In January 2013, Page met a Russian attaché named Victor Podobnyy at an energy symposium in New York. Podobnyy was actually an intelligence agent who was hitting up various American businesspeople as potential sources.

"He got hooked on Gazprom, thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up," Podobnyy said to a fellow agent in 2013, according to a federal complaint against members of an alleged spy ring. "It's obvious that he wants to earn lots of money." (Page today says this exchange "doesn't even warrant a comment.")

The FBI debriefed him about the meeting, and Page cooperated. It would not be their last interaction.

In December 2015, Page asked Ed Cox, chairman of the New York state Republican Party, to recommend him to the Trump campaign, which Page saw as a movement aligned with some of his ideas.

That's pretty much all it took.

"Anyone who came to us with a pulse, a résumé and seemed legit would be welcomed," a Trump campaign official told The Post in May.

Within weeks, Trump casually announced Page's name to the world.

Trump's foreign-policy committee met once with the candidate, on March 31, 2016, according to Page. He did not attend, but his name was already out there.

That summer, about the time the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor his communications, Page flew to Moscow to give a speech at the New Economic School -- a private institute where President Barack Obama also spoke, in 2009 -- about "fundamental trends in the world economy." The speech was critical of U.S. foreign policy in parts, though Page disclaimed that he was speaking as a private citizen, not as a representative of the campaign.

His trip drew attention apart from his speech: Yahoo reported that intelligence officials had been told that Page met with a Russian oil titan and discussed U.S. sanctions, which Page heatedly denies. (He has since filed a defamation suit.) Harry Reid, then the Senate minority leader, asked the FBI to look into the matter, prompting Page to leave the Trump campaign.

In December, after the election, Page returned to Moscow to give another speech and appear on state-sponsored Russia Today, where the host seemed to pooh-pooh his relevance to the Trump campaign while nonetheless devoting 26 minutes of airtime to him.

Days before the inauguration, BuzzFeed released a dossier of unverified dirt on the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government. Page's name appeared throughout the 35-page document, whose research had been funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Posted by at January 20, 2018 12:06 PM