Carter Page was a foreign policy advisor for Donald Trump early on in his campaign. As an advisor on foreign affairs, it’s not terribly surprising to find that he met with and talked with…foreign diplomats. He talked with diplomats from other countries all the time.
It was reported recently that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to keep tabs on Carter Page. They apparently had probably cause that suggested he was a ‘Russian agent.’
Was he a ‘Russian agent?’ He responded that he was absolutely no Russian agent, adding, “It’s such a joke, it’s beyond words.”
“I talk to diplomats all the time, and based in New York, a good portion of the time, the United Nations is based here,” Page said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “You’re always meeting with foreign diplomats, and the reality is whenever you talk to a foreign government representative, the assumption is that on some level, it’s going to go back to the government in question.”
He maintained throughout his interview with Tapper that he never ‘coordinated’ or ‘colluded’ with Russian officials regarding anything to do with Trump’s campaign. Here’s part of their conversation:
TAPPER: So, The Washington Post, as you know, has reported last year the FBI went to a FISA judge and argued successfully that there was probable cause to believe that you were acting as an agent for a foreign government. So, my question is, were you?
PAGE: Of course, I wasn’t, Jake. This is — it’s just such a joke that it’s beyond words, and what’s interesting about it is March 20th, Director Comey, he made the point that people can lie to the press, people can lie to the American public all they want in politics. What’s interesting about last night’s report is if it’s true, well, there is a different standard when it comes to evidence in court.
So, all of this false evidence that you’ve been hearing about myself with the dodgy dossier and other false reports going back through most of the last summer, well, that will — that will have very definite implications, so this is a real game changer if it turns out to be true.
TAPPER: What do you mean it’s a game changer? How is it a game changer? I mean, at least two times that we know of, the FBI has investigated your links with Russians. In 2016, last year, when they went to the FISA court and got a court order and received permission to monitor your communications, and earlier, as you know, in 2013, the FBI interviewed you, you were dealing with a man named Victor Podobnyy who was charged later with being an unregistered agent of a foreign government, so, that was 2013. At the time, did you have any idea that Podobnyy was a Russian spy.
PAGE: I talk to diplomats all the time, and based in New York, a good portion of the time, the United Nations is based here. You’re always meeting with foreign diplomats, and the reality is whenever you talk to a foreign government representative, the assumption is that on some level, it’s going to go back to the government in question. So, again, I never gave him any information which is material or classified or in any way improper, and the assumption is that it would go back, so it’s quite an irrelevant question in my view in terms of my involvement.
TAPPER: Well, it’s not irrelevant. It’s not irrelevant. I mean, there is — you know, if you meet the German Ambassador or the French Ambassador, maybe they’ll pass on the information, but we’re talking about clandestine services, and he was charged in the U.S. with being an unregistered foreign agent, so I guess my question more specifically is, “OK, you knew that he was Russian, but did you know he was a spy?”
PAGE: I did not know that he was a spy when I — when I first met him, although eventually it came out. I mean –
TAPPER: Did you think – did you think he was trying to recruit you or get intelligence that would have been inappropriate for you to have shared?
PAGE: He never made any indication that he was trying to recruit me. It was all just a casual conversation, exactly what I told my students at New York University. So — and no offer was made and I – there was no negotiation whatsoever. I met him at a conference at Asia Society and at some point later, within a month or so, I believe, it was several years ago, we had coffee once, had had a slight conversation. I gave him a couple of my information from my lectures, some public research reports, and that was the end of it. So …
I think it says something that Carter Page as well as two other former Trump aides have come forward not only to testify in the Russia/Trump investigation, but in Page’s case, to do interviews. If he were guilty of being a ‘Russian agent,’ I’d imagine he would stay far away from the press.
I’m curious to find out what the ‘probable cause’ evidence was that was used to acquire the FISA warrant.
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