Trump’s former adviser Carter Page’s ties to Russia draw scrutiny – National
For months, President Donald Trump and his advisers have attempted to distance themselves from Carter Page, a little-known funding banker who in short served as a international coverage adviser at the Republican’s presidential marketing campaign.
This week, Page – who’s on the middle of the swirling controversy over Trump friends’ connections to Russia – painted himself as a recurrent customer to Trump Tower, the New York skyscraper that housed Trump’s marketing campaign workplaces.
“I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year,” Page wrote in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s hacking of Democratic teams and conceivable marketing campaign contacts with Moscow.
Page tied his presence in Trump Tower to the president’s unverified statement the President Barack Obama had the development wiretapped, despite the fact that Page equipped no proof to again up that statement.
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Page’s feedback had been the newest wrinkle within the swirling controversy surrounding Trump friends’ connections to Russia. The New York Times has reported that Page is likely one of the Trump friends whose attainable contacts with Russia are being investigated by way of the FBI. Congressional committees probing Russia’s hacking throughout the election and Trump marketing campaign ties have requested Page to maintain fabrics associated with their investigations.
Trump’s White House and marketing campaign advisers push aside Page as an inconsequential determine who hasn’t ever met the president. He wasn’t at the marketing campaign payroll and severed ties with the Trump crew earlier than the election.
Still, Page’s connection to the marketing campaign, on the other hand tenuous, has boosted his public character. In July, he used to be invited to talk on the commencement rite at Moscow’s New Economic School, a job regularly crammed by way of distinguished global politicians, together with President Barack Obama in 2009.
Page’s look on the Russian college straight away raised eyebrows.
For an adviser to an American presidential hopeful talking in a foreign country, his message used to be strikingly important of the U.S. It got here as Trump’s calls for hotter members of the family with the Kremlin had been a supply of grievance from Democrats and alarm from some fellow Republicans.
Washington had a “hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change” in its dealings with Russia, Page mentioned on the college.
Page and previous Trump marketing campaign officers say he made the travel in a non-public capability and no longer as a consultant of the marketing campaign. But college officers were transparent that Page’s connections and perception into the Trump marketing campaign had been the draw.
“We were interested in what was going on – already then, Trump’s candidacy raised eyebrows, and everyone was really curious,” mentioned Shlomo Weber, the educational director on the New Economic School, in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.
A e-newsletter saying Page’s talk over with learn, “You are invited to a lecture by Carter Page, foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump’s election campaign.”
Page has mentioned he requested for, and won, permission from the Trump marketing campaign to seem in a non-public capability.
Page has presented contradictory solutions about his contacts with Russian officers throughout his talk over with. On Thursday, he advised The Associated Press he didn’t meet with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who additionally spoke on the commencement. But in September, he advised The Washington Post that he did discuss with Dvorkovich in short.
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Back within the U.S. a couple of days later, Page talked with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. at an match at the sidelines of the Republican National Convention, in keeping with an individual with wisdom of the assembly. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian envoy on the identical match, a dialog he failed to expose when requested about contacts with Russians throughout his Senate affirmation hearings.
Page, a former Merrill Lynch funding banker who labored out of its Moscow place of business for 3 years, now runs Global Energy Capital, a company serious about power sectors in rising markets. According to the corporate’s web site, he has steered on transactions for Gazprom and RAO UES, a couple of Russian entities.
In December, Page returned to Moscow, the place he famous he had “the opportunity to meet with an executive from Rosneft,” the Russian oil massive, in keeping with a video clip of his remarks posted on YouTube. Rosnet’s chairman, Igor Sechin, an in depth affiliate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been focused by way of U.S. sanctions, despite the fact that Page says he used to be no longer regarding Sechin in his remarks.
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Some of the suspicion surrounding Page stems from the truth that nobody who labored for the marketing campaign can slightly provide an explanation for how he ended up on Trump’s checklist of international coverage advisers. Page has additionally sidestepped the ones questions, pronouncing he doesn’t wish to put others “in the same damaged pot as myself.”
One marketing campaign professional mentioned Page used to be recruited by way of Sam Clovis, an Iowa Republican operative who ran the Trump marketing campaign’s coverage store and is now a senior adviser on the Agriculture Department. Clovis didn’t reply to messages from the AP.
Trump has distanced himself from Page, pronouncing he by no means met him. Those who served at the marketing campaign’s international coverage advisory committee additionally mentioned they’d restricted touch with Page.
“Only met him once very briefly,” mentioned George Papadopoulos, the director of the Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law and Security in London.
Page stopped advising the marketing campaign someday across the finish of summer season, despite the fact that the precise instances of the separation are unclear. After the marketing campaign, Trump’s attorneys despatched Page a minimum of two cease-and-desist letters, in keeping with some other marketing campaign professional, who like others, insisted on anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to speak about the subject publicly.
Associated Press writers Jim Heintz in Moscow and Maria Danilova in Washington contributed to this record.
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