Trump Adviser’s Visit to Moscow Got the F.B.I.’s Attention

Developments beyond Mr. Page’s trip may have heightened the F.B.I.’s concern about Russian meddling inside campaign. Paul Manafort, then Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, was already under criminal investigation in connection with payments coming from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. WikiLeaks as well as two websites later identified as Russian intelligence fronts had begun releasing emails obtained when Democratic Party servers were hacked.

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Trump to Russia-Linked Ex-Advisers: Keep Your Distance

The Trump administration is usually going to great lengths to distance itself coming from former associates inside face of an F.B.I. investigation into whether there were connections between the Trump campaign as well as Russia.


By A.J. CHAVAR on Publish Date March 27, 2017.


Photo by Stephen Crowley/The completely new York Times.

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When the F.B.I. opened its investigation in late July, agents were just beginning to explore whether Mr. Trump’s advisers had contacts with Russian government officials or intelligence operatives, according to the current as well as former American officials, who spoke about the continuing inquiry on the condition of anonymity. inside months in which followed, they said, more evidence came to light, including intercepts of Russian officials discussing Mr. Page as well as additional Trump associates.

In his talk at the completely new Economic School in Moscow, Mr. Page criticized American policy toward Russia in terms in which echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, declaring, “Washington as well as additional Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption as well as regime change.” His remarks accorded with Mr. Trump’s positive view of the Russian president, which had prompted speculation about what Mr. Trump saw in Mr. Putin — more commonly denounced inside United States as a ruthless, anti-Western autocrat.

Mr. Page’s relationship with Mr. Trump appears to have been fleeting. According to former Trump campaign officials, the two men have never met, though Mr. Page has said he attended some meetings where Mr. Trump was present.

yet last spring, when Republican foreign policy experts were distancing themselves coming from Mr. Trump, Mr. Page served a purpose for the flailing Trump campaign. Dismissing the notion in which his campaign was bereft of foreign policy expertise, the candidate read aloud a list of several people who had offered to advise him on world affairs — including “Carter Page, Ph.D.”

Mr. Page was unknown in Washington foreign policy circles. yet his doctorate as well as his Russian experience were real. He had worked as a junior investment banker for Merrill Lynch for a time, living in Moscow coming from 2004 to 2007.

He subsequently began his own investment firm, Global Energy Capital L.L.C., as well as partnered on some deals that has a Russian businessman, Sergey Yatsenko. Mr. Yatsenko had been deputy chief financial officer for the Russian energy giant Gazprom, which is usually majority-owned by the government as well as has close ties to Mr. Putin.

Mr. Page’s role inside Trump campaign appears to have been minimal. Papers he wrote on energy policy languished unread. Former campaign officials play down his significance almost to the vanishing point, saying Mr. Page had no ID badge, desk or email address coming from the campaign.

“If the Russians were attempting to collude with him, they were attempting to collude with someone who had no influence on the Trump campaign,” said Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump. “I think he’s a self-promoter — not in which there’s anything wrong with in which.”

yet for Mr. Page, temporarily wearing the title of adviser to the man who would certainly become president appears to have been gratifying. “The half year I spent on the Trump campaign meant more to me than the several years I spent inside Navy,” he said in an interview last month.

He denies in which there was ever any possibility of his being recruited to spy for Russia, including his 2013 encounter with the Russian intelligence officer. “Zero risk then or ever in my life,” Mr. Page said.

After The Washington Post broke the news last week of the court warrant the F.B.I. had obtained, Mr. Page went on a Trump-like media blitz, defending his bona fides as well as asserting in which he was the victim of a smear campaign by Obama administration officials as well as Hillary Clinton aides.

“You talk about fake narratives,” Mr. Page said on Fox News. “When you introduce false evidence in a court of law, including the FISA court,” he said, referring to the court in which issued the warrant targeting him, “in which is usually illegal. So, let’s see what happens.”

He added, “I’m very encouraged in which all of the lies in which have been a drag on This kind of administration are finally coming out into the open.”

Few who have met Mr. Page during his career appear to have pegged him as a likely prospect for either suspected spy or statesman. Born in 1971 in Minnesota as well as raised in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he graduated in 1993 coming from the Naval Academy, where he was inside selective Trident Scholar Program, yet left the Navy before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He earned an M.B.A. at completely new York University as well as completed a doctorate a decade later at SOAS University of London.

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Sam Clovis, a Tea Party activist in Iowa, with Donald J. Trump in August 2015. He suggested Mr. Page as a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump.

Credit
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

Richard Guerin, who was in his academy class as well as remains in regular touch, said Mr. Page had “a complicated mind.” “He’s genuinely one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” Mr. Guerin said. “I get a bit offended when I read reports of people calling him an ‘idiot.’”

Mr. Guerin also said in which, ever since Mr. Page’s Navy days, when he drove a black Mercedes, his friend had reveled in lavish spending in which sometimes seemed to exceed his means.

Oksana Antonenko, a senior political counselor at the European Bank for Reconstruction as well as Development, who was friendly with Mr. Page in London while he earned his Ph.D., said, “I think he is usually a nice, decent as well as perhaps a bit naïve guy.”

While the biographical sketch Mr. Page has used highlights his work at Merrill Lynch with Gazprom as well as a Russian electric power conglomerate called RAO UES, he appears not to have played a leading role in major deals. He later ran an international affairs program at Bard College in completely new York before founding Global Energy Capital. The private equity firm operates out of a co-working space in a Manhattan high-rise in which Mr. Page has described, accurately though perhaps misleadingly, as “around the corner coming from Trump Tower.”

American businessmen inside tight-knit expatriate community in Moscow say they did not know Mr. Page as well as were not familiar with his business activities in Russia. “People I deal with on my board of directors just shrug their shoulders,” Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, said in an interview. “They’ve never heard of him.”

In April 2013, Mr. Page was caught on an F.B.I. wiretap in an investigation of suspected Russian intelligence officers in completely new York. Victor Podobnyy, one of three men later charged with being unregistered agents of a foreign power, had met Mr. Page at an energy symposium as well as was recorded describing him as “an idiot” with dreams of lucrative deals. There is usually no evidence in which Mr. Page knew the man was an intelligence officer.

In 2014 as well as 2015, in articles for an online journal, Mr. Page mixed quirky observations with praise for Russia as well as criticism of American policy. The war in Ukraine, he wrote, was “precipitated by U.S. meddling.” as well as Igor Sechin, a close Putin ally as well as chief executive of the oil company Rosneft, Mr. Page wrote, “has done more to advance U.S.-Russian relations than any individual in or out of government coming from either side of the Atlantic over the past decade.”

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Michael McFaul, President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Russia. Mr. Page’s talk in Moscow prompted derision coming from Mr. McFaul, who wrote on Twitter, “Echo of Kremlin line on U.S.”

Credit
Misha Japaridze/Associated Press

In March of last year, Sam Clovis, an economics professor as well as Tea Party activist in Iowa, was asked by the Trump campaign to line up some foreign policy advisers. He produced the list in which included Mr. Page.

After several tries, Mr. Page got the campaign’s permission to speak at the completely new Economic School, where Mr. Obama spoke in 2009. Denis Klimentov, a spokesman for the school, said some alumni knew of Mr. Page’s work at Merrill Lynch in Moscow. yet his role as a Trump adviser also played into the decision to invite him, Mr. Klimentov said in an email.

“We did not arrange any meetings for Mr. Page outside of the school, as well as we were not aware then if he had any further meetings or contacts,” Mr. Klimentov added. “Our strong recollection is usually in which there was simply not enough time for Mr. Page to have any meetings outside of the school.”

In recent months, Mr. Page has often seemed to revel inside attention he has drawn. In December, he gave another speech at the completely new Economic School, complaining in which “fake news” had hurt United States-Russia relations.

His conduct has disturbed some who know him. Mr. Guerin said in which was “disheartening” to hear in which Mr. Page rated his time at the margins of the Trump campaign more highly than his Navy service. “I thought we were both patriotic,” Mr. Guerin said. “I would certainly like to assume in which as well right at This kind of point. yet events are unfolding in which make you question in which.”

Last Thursday, Mr. Page appeared on “Great Morning America” for questioning by George Stephanopoulos. He seemed feisty yet upbeat, denying any impropriety as well as complaining about “a ton of false evidence.”

“These same lies keep swirling around,” Mr. Page said, “having a truly negative impact on U.S.-Russian relations.”

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