A House committee memo released Friday has accused the FBI and Justice Department of misleading a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge so they could extend an eavesdropping warrant against a Trump presidential campaign adviser.
The memo accuses the agencies of basing the warrant request to surveil Carter Page on a disputed dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and partly financed by the Democratic National Committee, that alleges contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia officials.
Prior to the Steele Dossier, Page was the subject of a FISA warrant in 2014. In 2013, Russian intelligence officials tried to recruit Page as a spy.
Democrats on the Select House Committee on Intelligence had strongly opposed the release of the memo and drafted a memo in response to the GOP version. The FBI, as well, warned against the memo’s release.
Trump signed a request to declassify the memo and it was released shortly afterward on Friday.
Who is Carter Page and how is he connected to the memo and the Russia investigation.
- Page was born in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1971, but grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He graduated from Poughkeepsie's Our Lady of Lourdes High School. He enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was in the top 10 percent of his class. There, he was chosen to be in the Navy’s Trident Scholar program. The program allows for officers to conduct independent academic research. Through the program, Page worked as a researcher for the House Armed Services Committee.
- He served five years in the Navy, a portion of it as an intelligence officer for a United Nations peacekeeping mission. He also received a master’s degree in national securities studies at Georgetown University.
- After Page left the Navy, he earned a second master’s degree from New York University, completed a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations and began work as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch in the company’s London office. He was named vice president of the company’s Moscow office and spent three years there. He was chief operating officer of the firm’s engery and power department back in New York City.
- In 2008, Page, along with James Richard and Sergei Yatsenko, an executive with Gazprom, a Russian natural gas company, founded an investment fund called Global Energy Capital.
- Page has publicly praised the Russian government. He was quoted as saying he felt Russian President Vladimir Putin was a far better leader than former U.S. President Barack Obama.
How is he connected to the Trump campaign?
Page was named as a foreign policy adviser to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. He did not stay with the campaign long, only from March to September, as his ties to Russian business and political officials became known.
He was an “unpaid adviser,” according to Page and the Trump campaign.
How does he figure in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election?
Page testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 2 without a lawyer present. According to testimony released by the committee, Page said:
- He traveled to Moscow in July 2016 to give a speech, and while he was there he met with a low-level official of the Russian government. Several of Trump’s campaign officials knew he was going. Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Page he could go in a personal capacity, not as a campaign representative.
- Jeff Sessions knew of his trip. Sessions has testified that he was not aware of it.
- He told Trump campaign members after the trip that there was strong support for Trump from Russian officials.
- He was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement in March 2016.
- The campaign’s national security committee met several times. The White House has said it met only once.
- He said he has never spoken to or had any communication with Trump. Trump has said he doesn’t believe he has ever met Page.
- He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was asked about documents he had failed to turn over to the committee.
Page was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee to provide records of Russian contacts he has had in the past seven years.
Sources: Wikipedia; The Associated Press; The Washington Post; The New York Tiimes; Fox News;
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