The media contacts began in July 2016. First, it was the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, and CNN soon followed. The questions posed — all similar — perplexed Carter Page.
No, he hadn’t met with Igor Sechin or Igor Divyekin while in Russia. No, Page hadn’t suggested the new administration would lift sanctions if then-candidate Donald Trump won the presidency.
It was not until years later that Page, who had served as a volunteer advisor on the Trump campaign, began to unravel the truth about these calls. In his recently released book, “Abuse and Power: How an Innocent American was Framed in an Attempted Coup Against the President,” Page shares his saga with readers. In an interview last week with the author, Page punctuated the finer points of the plot against Trump that ensnared him.
While those early questions unsettled Page, his denials gave the press pause—until September 23, 2016, when Michael Isikoff’s Yahoo News article hit, with highlights from Christopher Steele’s now-bunked dossier. “I went from being a private person to suddenly having my name ‘trending’ on Twitter,” Page wrote.
A good friend with whom Page stayed while in London told him he was no longer welcome there. Page also soon found himself cut off from the best people in the field — academics and think-tank types with whom he had enjoyed intellectual exchanges over the years.
“The one guy who would still talk to me,” Page told me, was Stefan Halper. “I had visited Halper at his Virginia farm in August, and he repeatedly invited me to meet again over the months that followed,” Page explained. At the time, Page welcomed Halper’s friendship. Even though Page had been warned “by a man from a research firm with deep ties to the intelligence agencies” that he was “being set up” by “the Clinton campaign . . . [and] London-based investigators,” Page did not begin to suspect Halper until mid-December 2017.
“Kash Patel called me and asked where I had been on August 20, 2016,” Page said in our interview. The question by Patel, who reportedly helped author Rep. Devin Nunes’s prophetic memorandum on FISA abuse, made Page wonder about the older gentleman he had first met at a conference in London in June 2016. But it wasn’t until May 2018 that Page knew for certain that Halper had been spying on him — and in turn the Trump campaign.
While leftist media continues to pretend no spying on the Trump campaign took place, “Abuse and Power” provides a first-hand account of the depth of the spying. “It wasn’t just the emails they accessed,” Page stressed. The conversations Halper taped and the materials Page provided on USB drives, or that the FBI accessed during Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-“approved” searches, were substantial, according to Page.
During Page’s August 2016 visit with Halper, “Halper expressed interest in the inner workings of the campaign and ideas for what a Trump foreign policy might eventually look like.” “He asked specifics,” Page confirmed in last week’s interview.
New Lines of Inquiry about Spygate
Halper’s questioning of Page provides but one aspect of the spying, however. Those well-versed in Spygate will find this aspect of Page’s book enlightening: We already knew the FBI spooked through Page’s emails, but throughout “Abuse and Power” Page highlights a variety of emails he exchanged with members of the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration — all of which would be surveilled thanks to the fraudulent FISA orders. The breadth of the spying exceeds that previously realized.
Page also exposes new lines of inquiry in his chapter on “Terror Threats and the Adam Schiff Show.” In recounting his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Page shared how he had “quoted Adam Schiff’s risible rhetorical question: ‘Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company, Rosneft, sold a 19 percent share after former British intelligence officer Steele was told by Russian sources that I was offered fees on a deal of just that size?’”
“I reminded Schiff and the Democrats,” Page continued, “that a month after the election, it was Swiss company Glencore that bought that stake in 2016. Glencore, I further reminded Schiff and the Democrats, was founded by the late Marc Rich, the uber Clinton donor and beneficiary of an unusual pardon while an international fugitive.” Democrats “might want to take a look closer to home,” Page concluded.
Given Hillary Clinton and her campaign’s complicity in peddling the lies of the Steele dossier after funding it, Page’s suggestion merits consideration. Did other friends of Bill and Hillary with foreknowledge of the deal feed the details to a source, or sub-source, or sub-sub-source, to further the “Page is a Russian agent” narrative? Or was this Russian disinformation?
Page First Thought the FBI Would Help Him
His testimony before the House Intel Committee was but one of the many times over the multi-year targeting of him that Page attempted to shine a light on the truth. Within days of the Yahoo! article hitting, Page wrote then-FBI Director James Comey, refuting the falsehoods. “I thought that if I could reason with the FBI,” Page wrote, “after working to support the Bureau for many years, this might be resolved easily.”
Over the next year, Page wrote others, including Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He also met many times with FBI agents, bringing electronic files for their review—ones they likely already had, as Page later learned. During the early March 2017 meetings, as Page recounts in his book, he “gave the agents extensive background information on the Democrats’ role behind the Steele Dossier.”
“I set up my MacBook laptop on the living room table of the Andaz suite and began to present a PowerPoint slide deck. Earlier that morning and throughout much of the previous night, I had composed a presentation that outlined the connections in the swamp between the Democrats, the media, and their bosses at Justice and FBI headquarters. I spoke with these FBI agents as Americans who would actually care about underlying issues of fairness and democracy.”
But the FBI agents didn’t care. Early on, Page had realized (and told) everyone he could the genesis of the Russia collusion hoax, but they ignored him. Even when Page succeeded in grabbing the attention of higher-ups by publicly proclaiming his past service as an FBI source, rather than self-correct, FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith altered an email adding the false statement that Page “was not a source.”
Page’s book reviewed another interesting tidbit concerning Clinesmith: In April 2017, one of Page’s lawyers, Adam Burke, spoke with Clinesmith, requesting the FBI interview Page with an agreement called a “proffer letter.” That would give Page “the chance to provide evidence about an alleged incident with limited ability of the prosecutor to use that evidence against the person.” Clinesmith, however, told Page’s lawyer that “the FBI considered [Page] to be only a witness at this stage.”
Piecing Together the Players and Their Roles
“Abuse and Power” includes many other revelations weaved into the chronological narrative crafted with first-hand knowledge—and declassified information. In addition to exposing the depth of the spying, Page’s book helps piece together the myriad players and their roles, whether part of Spygate proper, or the peddling of fake news to the journalists pushing the Russia collusion hoax.
Page saw Strobe Talbott, then president of the Brookings Institute, Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state under Obama, and U.S. Ambassador to Russia under Obama Michael McFaul as potential players.
The political players, though, received the brunt of Page’s scorn, whether they were intentionally lying to the American public, like Schiff, or too weak, like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And then there is Rod Rosenstein, who approved the third FISA surveillance renewal against Page.
In his book, Page excoriated Rosenstein, but what was Rosenstein’s motivation? Was he bad? Incompetent? Self-interested? Lazy? In response to this question, Page countered with his own. How hard would you go after lawyers who had left the government payroll to corner-office suites in D.C. law firms, where you someday might land?
Consider that Eric Holder moved to Covington and Burling after departing the Obama administration’s DOJ, the same firm that provided less than a zealous representation of Michael Flynn. D.C. law firms serve as a revolving door for government lawyers, Page added, and in his book has provided ample support for this view.
Will Carter Page Ever Get Justice?
The one person, though, for whom Page had nothing but respect was Donald Trump; he spoke only positively of our president. Didn’t Page resent Trump for distancing himself and his campaign from Page when the press and political left began targeting him? “No,” Page told me, first because the Trump campaign wasn’t distancing itself from Page. Rather, the media had attempted to leverage his small role as a campaign advisor to harm the president. “I also knew I was but a means to an end,” Page added. Destroying Trump was always the plan.
Page’s family took some solace in that reality as well, knowing that all the negative publicity for Carter solely sought the downfall of Trump. But still, Page regretted the pain caused his family, saying in his book acknowledgements that he wanted “to express precisely the same sentiment to my own family” as Trump did post-acquittal: “I want to apologize to my family for having them having to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people.”
But it isn’t Page who should be apologizing. It’s the Crossfire Hurricane team, the members of the special counsel team, and the press. The Russia collusion hoax upended Page’s life, prompted death threats, and ruined Page’s business opportunities. Yet, rather than apologize, or even report the truth, the press ridiculed Page.
It was being branded a traitor that proved the most painful, Page told me. He was literally an altar boy and a Boy Scout, or more precisely an Eagle Scout. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served our country, first in the Navy and later as a source for the FBI and CIA. Yet the left had no qualms torching Page’s reputation in the hope of burning Trump.
Here Page’s opening chapter in “Abuse and Power” proves essential. There Page recounts his background, which provides an important reminder to Americans that he is a real human being, with a family, and a life, and a love for this country.
That brief introduction to Page’s saga may not be the meat of his book, which both reveals new details of the scandal and provides a nice primer on the Spygate for the novice, but it is equally as important for the lesson it teaches: The left will destroy even the most honorable and honest patriotic American for power.