What you need to know about Carter Page, the center of Trump's new conspiracy theory
Trump's former foreign-policy adviser has several ties to Russia, and Trump is lying about an FBI investigation of him.
President Trump has jumped aboard another conspiracy theory about the Russia investigation, and the central figure is Carter Page. An early foreign-policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, Page had done a number of consulting jobs in Russia, and the FBI had been tracking him since 2015 because they feared he was being recruited as a spy.
Here's where the conspiracy theory comes in: Last Saturday, the government released a number of documents related to an FBI warrant to wiretap Page (called a FISA). Republicans such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) have alleged that the FISA was based on intelligence from the "Steele dossier," which began life as oppo research on Trump funded by a conservative newspaper, then Sen. Ted Cruz, then the Clinton campaign, and was therefore partisan and to be dismissed. (Although most of the dossier's allegations have been proven.)
The released documents showed that the allegations of Nunes et. al. were untrue: The warrant applications were based on FBI investigations; Page is described as "collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government." The warrant application said that Page had met in secret with a Russian intelligence operative to discuss compromising material on Hillary Clinton. What's more: The documents showed that the FBI followed all laws, and the warrants were renewed four times by Republican judges.
But that didn't stop President Trump from taking to Twitter on Sunday and lying about what the documents showed. He claimed the exact opposite of the truth — that the FBI acted unlawfully and spied on his campaign. “Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” he tweeted.
Looking more & more like the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC. Ask her how that worked out - she did better with Crazy Bernie. Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018
Page left the Trump campaign on Sept. 26, 2016, after news reports surfaced that in July, Page had met with Russian oligarchs that were under U.S. sanctions and potentially discussed the lifting of sanctions if Trump became president. Page called the accusations "complete garbage."
The Carter Page transcript is the record of Page's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He appeared on Nov. 2, 2017, and sought to downplay his involvement both with Russia and the Trump campaign, although there is evidence that he was significantly involved with both.