The FBI obtained a FISA warrant last summer to monitor the communications of Carter Page, who was an early foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The energy-consultant-turned-foreign-policy adviser was named in an unverified dossier about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. His trips to Moscow and contact with at least one Russian official last year are now reportedly under FBI investigation.
The dossier alleged that Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia's state oil company, offered Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. The dossier says the offer was made in July, when Page was in Moscowgiving a speech at the Higher Economic School.
Page has called accusations that he served as a liaison an "illegal" form of "retribution" for the speech, in which he slammed the US for its "hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change."
Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe
Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe
The close friend to Donald Trump and CEO of private equity firm Colony Capital recommended that Trump bring in Paul Manafort for his presidential campaign.
R. James Woolsey
Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil.
(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The former senior Trump campaign official and White House adviser was present and crucial during the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey.
The former head of the Trump transition team following the 2016 election has said previously that he believes he was fired due to his opposing the hiring of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.
Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.
Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.
Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.
2016 election winner Donald Trump is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's handlings.
Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. Clovis worked with George Papadopoulos, a former Donald Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who struck a plea deal on charges of lying to the FBI.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”
Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.
Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L)
Caputo waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Stephen Miller, White House Senior Advisor for Policy
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Donald Trump Jr.
White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner
Executive assistant to Donald Trump Rhona Graff
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
US Vice President Mike Pence
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
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Page told Business Insider that he "was so happy to hear that further confirmation [of surveillance] is now being revealed. It shows how low the Clinton/Obama regime went to destroy our democracy and suppress dissidents who did not fully support their failed foreign policy."
Law-enforcement and intelligence agencies wishing to monitor signal intelligence they deem relevant to an investigation — in this case, suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election — must obtain what is known as a FISA warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Page told BI that he believes the FISA requests were "unjustified." But the government's application for the FISA warrant targeting Page, The Post reported, has been renewed more than once, and "included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators' basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow."
There were contacts Page had with Russian intelligence officials that he did not disclose, according to The Post, and unanswered questions about a court case involving a Russian spy who tried to recruit him in 2013.
BuzzFeed News obtained the court filing for the case, which included a transcript of a conversation between Victor Podobnyy, the person accused of spying, and Igor Sporyshev, another Russian operative, about trying to recruit someone identified as "Male-1."
Page confirmed to BuzzFeed that he was "Male-1." But he said in a statement later that his personal identity was made "easily identifiable" in the court documents because the US government wanted to punish him for his "public positions of dissent."
Page found himself at the center of a Russia-related firestorm in late February after USA Today reported that he met Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, during an event at the Republican National Convention. At least two other Trump associates, former adviser J.D. Gordon and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the US attorney general, also spoke with Kislyak at the convention.
The White House has distanced itself from Page, insisting that he was an "informal" adviser to the campaign who left in early September. Page had no badge, an administration official told Business Insider last month, and never signed a non-disclosure agreement — two requirements of anyone working with the campaign in an official capacity. He also wasn't on the campaign's payroll, the official said, and did not have a campaign email account.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election, has asked Page to preserve all information related to contacts with Russians during the campaign. He volunteered to be interviewed by the committee last month.