The Russian spies who met with Trump campaign advisor Carter Page planned to get him to commit treason and then refuse to pay him afterwards.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that “the FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump [as] part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.”
The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
Foreign Policy published an article providing additional details regarding Page’s contact with Russian intelligence agents in New York in 2013.
According to Foreign Policy, Page was identified as “Male-1” in a 2015 secret criminal complaint, and BuzzFeed News reported that “Page confirmed to BuzzFeed News on Monday that he is ‘Male-1’ in the court filing.”
“Page met with a Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobnyy, who was later charged by the US government alongside two others for acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government,” according to the BuzzFeed News report. “The charges, filed in January 2015, came after federal investigators busted a Russian spy ring that was seeking information on US sanctions as well as efforts to develop alternative energy. Page is an energy consultant.”
That court filing included a transcript of a recorded conversation between Podobnyy and one of the other men “busted in the spy ring, Igor Sporyshev, about trying to recruit” Page.
Foreign Policy elaborated on the recorded conversation, reporting that Podobnyy told Sporyshev, his boss, that “It’s obvious that [Page] wants to earn lots of money.”
Foreign Policy added that:
Podobnyy, officially an attaché to the Russian mission of the U.N., told the Page that he would work with Sporyshev, as Russia’s trade representative in New York, to win contracts for Page. “He went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back,” Podobnyy told Sporyshev on April 8, 2013. “I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am.” Podobnyy noted that Page wrote him emails in Russian “to practice,” and said “he flies to Moscow more than I do.”
But Podobnyy never intended to deliver on those promises and instead pumped Page for information.
“This is intelligence method to cheat, how else to work with foreigners? You promise a favor for a favor,” Podobnyy told his supervisor. “You get the documents from him and tell him to go f-ck himself.”
As The Washington Post reported: “Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department might later seek charges against him or others in connection with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections began in July, officials have said.”
Citing a CNN report, The Guardian reported today that:
New allegations that federal investigators have gathered intelligence that suggests Russian operatives may have used Page to try to gain access to the Trump campaign follows a separate report by the Washington Post that he was being monitored by the FBI last summer because of suspicions about his ties with Russia.
Page has denied wrongdoing. He acknowledges that he might have shared information with Russians but has insisted that the information was innocuous.
Continuing, The Guardian reports that:
By his own admission, the former adviser met top Russian officials at Rosneft, the Russian state oil firm, as late as last December, shortly before the company announced it was selling a 19.5% stake to Glencore, among other investors.
Page told Russian media at the time that he had the “opportunity to meet with some of the top managers of Rosneft”. He also suggested that the deal, which involved an investment by a Qatar fund, was a good example of how US companies were being kept from pursuing opportunities because of US sanctions against Russia.
So far, the White House has declined to make any official statement regarding the allegations.