by WorldTribune Staff, April 17, 2017
A former Trump campaign adviser on Russia and the target of a FISA warrant for surveillance by the Obama administration described himself at amazed that Democrats continue to use a debunked Trump dossier as a linchpin for investigations of the president’s alleged 2016 election collusion with Moscow.
Page, a Trump campaign volunteer, told The Washington Times that he is stunned because the dossier is “completely false” and “full of lies” about his supposed conduct vis-a-vis Russia last summer.
“The mistakes are so laughable and humorous they’re beyond words,” Carter Page said of a dossier that has him meeting with Russians whom he insists he has never met.
None of the allegations in the Democrat-financed dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele “has been verified independently, at least publicly,” Rowan Scarborough wrote for the Washington Times.
“Yet Democrats are citing the dossier as a reason to achieve their major political objective – an independent investigative commission on Trump-Russia.”
Democrats say routinely on cable news channels that some of Steele’s findings have been confirmed, “but they do not specify which ones” the Scarborough report stated.
Page said he watched with amazement on March 20 as Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence read portions of the Steele dossier into the record as certified facts.
Related: Turns out there was a FISA warrant which ‘opened every door there was’ to spy on the Trump campaign, April 12, 2017
They were led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the committee’s ranking Democrat. At the committee’s first public hearing in its probe into Russian interference in the Nov. 8 election, Schiff read Steele’s version of Page’s visit to Moscow and offered no independent verification.
Page, who runs the investment firm Global Energy Capital LLC in New York City, was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch and spent three years in Moscow last decade making deals with Russian businesses. He said his knowledge of and communications with Russians is part of his livelihood.
James R. Clapper, former director of national intelligence, said his agency could not verify any of Steele’s sources.
Former Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell, a Clinton adviser, said he learned that Steele did not talk to sources directly but with paid intermediaries.
“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke but there is no fire, at all,” Morell said at an event sponsored by security analysis website The Cipher Brief. “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
Scarborough noted: “Schiff gave Steele credit for knowing the precise share — 19 percent — that oil company Rosneft planned to sell, when in fact the Russian government had announced that percentage months before Steele wrote the memo. It was public knowledge.”
The Washington Post reported this month that the Obama Justice Department obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant to surveil Page as a foreign agent, beginning in July.
“This was about the same time the FBI obtained the Steele dossier,” Scarborough wrote.
Some Republicans are now asking whether the Steele dossier prompted the Obama administration to open the investigation into then-candidate Trump.
“And did the administration cite information in the dossier as evidence to obtain the warrant?” Scarborough asked.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, has begun pressing the FBI for answers on what role the dossier played as the bureau made decisions to investigate and surveil Trump aides.
“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley said in a March 6 letter to FBI Director James Comey.
Grassley also asked: “Has the FBI verified or corroborated any of the allegations made in the (Steele) memos? Were any allegations or other information from the memo included in any documents created by the FBI, or which the FBI helped to create, without having been independently verified or corroborated by the FBI beforehand? If so, why?”
Page told The Washington Times that he, too, would like to know what role the unproven dossier played in the Obama administration persuading a judge to approve a wiretap on him.
“When you lie to a court, the FISA court is a court, that is a crime,” he said.
Scarborough pointed out that Page “has been doing exactly what then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged American entrepreneurs to do in 2012 as she stood next to then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.”
Clinton said in Moscow: “We are committed to broadening and deepening ties between our two economies.”
The Steele dossier includes charges that Page colluded with Putin oligarchs. In the Washington Times interview, Page specifically rebutted all of the accusations.
The four main allegations concerning Page:
- Steele wrote that Paul Manafort, Trump’s summertime campaign manager, and Page formed an alliance to work with Russian intelligence to hack the Clinton campaign. Page called this assertion “ridiculous.” Referring to himself as a “junior paid volunteer,” he said he has never met Manafort. “Steele is saying I’m conspiring with Manafort. It’s so fictional,” he said.
- Second, Steele wrote that during Page’s July trip to Moscow to give a speech at the New Economic School, he held a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, president of the state-owned Rosneft oil company and a close ally of President Putin. Page said he delivered an unpaid speech at the university, a talk that was covered by the news media that day. Page said he has never met Sechin. “No, I have never met him,” he said. “It’s totally false.”
- Steele also wrote that Sechin offered Page a brokerage fee when Russia sold a 19 percent stake in Rosneft to outside investors. In exchange, the Trump adviser was to urge the candidate to end economic sanctions against Russia. Page said no one ever made such an offer.
- In his fourth charge against Page, Steele wrote that, while in Moscow, Page also met with a man named Igor Divyekin, a Russian official. He supposedly told Page that the Kremlin had compromising information on Hillary Clinton as well as Trump. Page said the first he ever heard of Divyekin was from the dossier. “I had never heard of him. Not only had I never heard of him, everyone I asked had never heard the guy’s name. He’s not a known person. He’s like someone in the bureaucracy who may have an important position but not someone who is publicly known and not someone I met with.”