Carter Page Shared “Immaterial Non-Public Information” with Rosneft While “Working” for Trump

William McGurn and Brit Hume have decided that Carter Page, who the government convinced a judge might be acting as an Agent of Russia in 2016, is a latter day Martin Luther King Jr, based solely on the fact that Page was not charged as an agent of Russia (though a redacted discussion of the charging decision for him suggests it was a close call and Page is also one of two likely candidates to be the Trump aide who lied to the grand jury but wasn’t charged).

Remember, the FBI sought a warrant on Mr. Page from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court based on the claim that the former Trump campaign associate was “an agent of a foreign power,” namely Russia. Yet Mr. Page is one of the few targets of the investigation to have emerged without ever being charged with anything.

McGurn obscures the difference between the government showing probable cause that someone is an agent of a foreign power and charging them as such.

More interestingly, McGurn doesn’t engage with the new evidence about Page’s behavior revealed in the Mueller Report. For example, the report reveals that after Page was described but not identified in Victor Podobnyy’s complaint, he sought out a Russian official at the UN to tell them he didn’t do anything — something that conflicts with a right wing myth that Page was a cooperating witness with the FBI. He was, however, interviewed about his contacts with Podobnyy, and he told the FBI that, “the more immaterial non-public information I give [Russia], the better for this country,” which may be why FBI got a FISA warrant on Page before 2016.

Which is interesting background given that when, on March 30, 2017, the FBI interviewed him about his two trips to Russia in 2016, he admitted to them that, “he and [Rosneft head of investor relations Andrey] Baranov talked about ‘immaterial non-public’ information,” the same language he used to defend his prior sharing of information with Russian intelligence officers.

Mueller’s conclusion on Page’s July 2016 trip was actually inconclusive.

The Office was unable to obtain additional evidence or testimony about who Page may have met or communicated with in Moscow; thus Page’s activities in Russia–as described in his emails with the Campaign–were not fully explained.

His conclusion on Page’s activities in December 2016 are redacted, though he makes it clear that Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was pitching business an ongoing relationship — an academic partnership — with Page.

Republicans should be more attentive to this detail, though: Long after Page had been fired from the Trump campaign, at a time when the Transition was ignoring Page’s application for a job in the Administration, just weeks before Steve Bannon called up Page and told him not to appear on MSNBC, he was still wandering around Moscow claiming to be speaking for Trump.

In a December 8, 2016 email intended for Manafort, Kilimnik wrote, “Carter Page is in Moscow today, sending messages he is authorized to talk to Russia on behalf of DT on a range of issues of mutual interest, including Ukraine.”

Most Administrations would be furious that someone who had become a political liability would continue to represent himself as someone who spoke for the Administration. They might even be grateful that the FBI continued to keep its eye on that person, to prevent them from facing any liability for what Page might say in Russia.

Not so today’s Republican party. For them, Carter Page — someone Trump fired and then refused to consider employing — is MLK Jr.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

67 replies
    • pjb says:

      Material Non-Public Information (or MNPI) is the formulation used by the SEC and others in connection with illicit securities trading. Maybe Page thinks he’s being asked about Gordon Gecko!

      • Rita says:

        Wouldn’t “materiality” or “immateriality” of non-public information be a question of fact? Did Page come to the conclusion that the information he provided was “immateriaL” on his own? Page has always seemed an odd character. Perhaps the Mueller team decided that Page was not in possession of all of his faculties.

        • pjb says:

          God only know what Page thinks it means. In the securities context, materiality is defined by the Supreme Court in TSC v. Northway as that which, in the total mix of information, is important to a reasonable investor in making his or her investment decision. So, there’s an element of objectiveness in it.

      • Chetnolian says:

        Now that is really interesting. I have been wondering when I could bring in a discussion of the real origins of the famous, or do I mean infamous, “collusion” word, which so upsets Marcy and Bmaz. Now collusion, particularly under English law, , originally described the relationship between a divorce “defendent” and their “co-respondent” ( usually some gumshoe employed to provide fake evidence of adultery) when divorce had to depend on fault, whereby fake evidence was adduced to the court. The term morphed into use to describe co-operation between two commercial entities to effect a fraud, and came to be used here for the activities in setting up such things as cartels. Now let’s suppose, if you can imagine such a thing, that Trump thinks like a guilty man. He will revert to what he knows, commercial activities, and will think of commercial fraudulent activity, of which of course the Trump Organisation will have been extensively warned by its commercial lawyers and of which it has of course never been guilty! So when he wants to shout his “innocence” to the World, the first term he thinks of is “collusion”. The rest, I suggest, is history.

        • bmaz says:

          Kind of a term for commercial transactions and bankruptcy fraud. But has no use whatsoever in standard criminal law.

              • Peacerme says:

                What you just described Chetnolian, is a projection. Trump is telling us the judgments he believes. “I colluded.” Exactly right that he uses a word he’s been told he should not do. It’s exactly what he did. By definition, but that has nothing to do with the law. He behaves as one of them. Supports them. We used to talk about how some men collude in domestic violence by joking about hitting their wives. Jackie Gleason “To the moon Alice!” Collusion in a message about power and Control. In layman’s terms, A shared purpose. The guard who looks the other way. Anyway, this is what trump has done. And he protests it because he knows it’s true. He has colluded, in laymen’s terms. He has no real clue about real laws. He colludes with the principles and values of the under world. And his brain knows it. Truth leaks through the cracks of his veneer. It’s amazing how the brain works. Yes. Exactly right. Putin is a good sociopath. Trump is just so so. He is transparent, at least to most of us. Most of us, have to speak directly to this reality. Some of us are blind because we cannot see it. Those who cannot see it, collude. What a wicked web….

  1. Anvil Leucippus says:

    Manafort and Kilimnik managed to have themselves quite the bromance going. When this all gets turned into a movie (to explain history to people who refuse to read anything longer than a paragraph), I hope there is a montage involving these two where they go on a picnic.

    Tangential to the OP: in the Twitter thread I used to come here, there is a Twitter bot that seems to be following EW (and I am intentionally not using its name). All it seems to do is lift text and generate noise. Poor thing. Why would someone force it to do that? What a waste of technology.

    • klynn says:

      That bot posts whenever EW’s evidence, timelines and analysis provide clear as can be conclusions.

      • Anvil Leucippus says:

        I did a quick check on it, and it seems to prefer going after Tweets from women. How dumb.

        I have seen some studies say 15%, others say 66%. Regardless of how many Twitter users are actually bots, can we all agree the number is too high?

  2. dwfreeman says:

    That J. Edgar Hoover kept a private dossier on certain public figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., and had them illegally surveiled and wiretapped by his agency for personal blackmail purposes without anyone’s knowledge, is universally different than deciding to seek legal authorization to determine whether some American repeatedly ingratiating himself with Kremlin-linked officials on behalf of himself or a campaign represents an actual national security threat.

    Let’s be clear that Carter’s connections to Russia and other Trump associates didn’t begin in the presidential election cycle of 2016. Trump was cultivated as a Kremlin asset for years and so was Page.

    The GOP doesn’t care a wit about Page or his background activities that put him under the espionage microscope, they are simply seeking any excuse to challenge an investigation launched, controlled and directed by members of their own party. Why the Democrats never make the case that this shitshow is a Republican-inspired scandal without historical prescendent escapes me.

    Mueller and his team let any number of people off the hook in their effort to get Trump. They sought to get him the old fashioned way, working up the associate ladder to implicate him in wrongdoing. They ran into resistance from lying, uncooperative witnesses and unavailable evidence in a case in which they had a narrow path to discovering criminal activity and were unable to charge the president with any crime because of DoJ policy.

    The Republicans want to blame the investigators for protecting American interests even when the Trump campaign was given the benefit of the legal doubt by federal authorities even after being warned repeatedly about Russian interference and took no steps to ever disengage from any foreign influence. It passed along private polling data in three critical midwestern states where Trump’s electoral college win was apparently secured, in spite of widespread surprise by his razor-thin margin of polling victory in them.

    The idea that the Russians didn’t have the capability or weren’t shown to have materially impacted the election at the polls is the only reason why Trump’s illegal election stands today without greater public introspection. And we don’t even know if that assertion ia accurate. Because the Russians did reportedly hack election systems throughout the country including Florida where vote tampering is alleged.

    And all of this is Republican guilt manifest in an effort to Benghazi with Hillary Clinton extrme prejudice the origin of the Trump-Russia case as if stealing campaign research, personal emails and other other information by foreign benefactors is somehow appropriate political warfare without need to be addressed except as to whether the agencies investigating it had an ulterior motive for doing so.

    And the funny thing is, the Republicans have to search deep within the agency to find the alleged partisans they now insist were at the heart of shining light on their own political darkness.

    So, let’s review: some 272 contacts involving at least 38 meetings between Trump’s team, including Page, and Kremlin-linked operatives have been identified. As of now, we know of, 33 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers had contact with Putin government-related people, including Trump himself. None of these contacts or meetings during the election and transition were ever reported. In fact, they were hidden in spite of official warnings about failing to do so.

    Doesn’t that behavior itself conjure the very real nature of conspiracy, at the very least to coverup known wrongdoing in the face of its direct knowledge? The Republicans are willing to ignore almost anything, deny any responsibility and assign alternate blame to retain power and incite questionable authority to protect their interests without any real justification. And shame on us if we fail to point this out at every opportunity.

    • Democritus says:

      Well said. I’d love to see the Democrats hold expository hearings on the Mueller report. Do them all summer long, and start driving the narrative instead of just reacting to Trump.

      We also need hand marked paper ballots with paper backup of the registration rolls, and an audit trail for all electronic files.

      • P J Evans says:

        They have John Dean – yes, *that* one – coming in to tell them what he knows about this kind of coverup and impeachment processes.

        • bmaz says:

          What a load of pathetic shit. Seriously, any Dem who thinks this is a salve for being gutless pimps in the face of the most incredible attack on the Constitution and the checks and balance that, in main, contemplate separation of powers, should never be voted for again.

          • Sandwichman says:

            They’re only bringing in John Dean because the corpse of Senator Sam Ervin was not available to testify.

          • P J Evans says:

            maybe they’re trying to motivate the slower members of the caucus – they really need to get moving, instead of taking a couple of weeks to do anything useful. (I think too many of them don’t really remember Watergate and need the short course he’s going to give them.)

            • Tom says:

              I’m not sure how much Dean will have to say that will be of value and assistance in the present situation. Say what you like about Nixon, but he accepted that there was a common reality that he and his political opponents agreed upon. He never publically called upon someone to break into DNC headquarters. He never denied that the Watergate break-in happened or claimed it was a hoax. Nixon, I think, at least had the capacity to feel shame for his actions whereas Trump seems utterly shameless and willing to say and do anything to protect himself. Any Q&A session with Dean may turn out to be merely a stroll down memory lane.

              • Rayne says:

                Had he no shame Nixon would not have caved in and resigned when told there were enough votes in the Senate to convict and remove him. Trump being a malignant narcissist will play victim as hard as he can until he can find a way to play victor. In his mind there are only those two options.

      • orionATL says:

        democritus –

        i think “expository hearings” would be a fine idea. it would give voters a chance to absorb some of the details of the trump campaign-russian government conspiracy. right now it is a long time – 17 months – until november 3, 2020.

        though john dean would not be the one to make the point, dems might want to make the point that the Republican party has been conspiring with foreign groups to influence presidential elections in their favor since nixon’s day and anna chenault.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. Expository hearings. Sure. But your argument has been to deny the HJC the very power, investigative authority, and evidence gathering power that would make such an attempt compelling. Do you not see the issue?

            • bmaz says:

              Here is the thing: I have been saying this from day one. Back before Larry Tribe even formally came out for an impeachment inquiry. In fact, I would not be shocked that he lit on this from discussions with me and Greg Sargent.

              Opening an inquiry has never been about voting out articles of impeachment and removal trial in the Senate. It is about consolidating and fortifying investigative power in not just the House, but more importantly the courts when challenged by the Trump Admin and Barr DOJ.

              I have repeatedly said my idea is that the HJC/House adopt and use that power to investigate and present the facts over a long period of time and then say “We did what we had to do to defend the Constitution and protect the Article I power in the face of a full on assault by the Trump Administration. We protected the Constitution and informed the public. But we believe in democracy and will now let the better informed public exercise their will in an election”.

              This is exactly why I have always said that opening an inquiry is not about articles of impeachment or trial in the Senate. Nor do I really want it to be. It is about fortifying legal positions and gathering evidence.

              • orionATL says:

                this makes a lot of sense both the approach and the sense of timing. it is like super-discovery or, maybe, re-discovery.

                somehow i had missed reading this before. maybe because i am not a twitterer.

                as for denying power, i am aware that the house dems have to vote in a reasonably unified manner to empower hjc and then to vote out one or more articles.

                • bmaz says:

                  It is like a super foundation for discovery. One that even Trumpian like judges would look stupid denying. If the foundation is an impeachment inquiry, every related case then becomes a straight up Constitutionally based political question that courts have never invaded. There was a DC Circuit case that went against the House about 45 days ago that noted this effective principle.

                  FWIW, there is not universal agreement that the full house has to vote on starting an inquiry as opposed to just the HJC. In my opinion, I would prefer a floor vote by the full House. And that has mostly been the standard.

        • bmaz says:

          And before you decide to lash out again, know that I am the one that freed up your comment in the first place.

          • orionATL says:

            thank you, bmaz.

            personally, i don’t think any of my comments here have ever been immoderate. were my sainted mother around today, i’m confident she would attest to the gentleness of my disposition and speech.

        • orionATL says:

          there are some matters that are not constitutional and not under the special consel’s perview that i think should be considered. the most seriously criminal of these is tax fraud. i would be astonished if trump and his business organization were not guilty of tax fraud year after year. we also have heard persistent murmurs about money laundering. ethics standards for presidential behavior and for that of presidential appointees is another serious issue.

          on unambiguously constitutional matters, there is the matter of emoluments and there is the matter of bribery, assuming barter can be considered a form of bribery. the barter would be receiving help from the russians in the election in return for concessions on sanctions. in addition, any third-party-assisted loans from the Russians to the prez or his family could be bribery or emoluments. further, governments and corporations with business with the u.s. gov who fill up the trump corporation’s hotels, golf courses, and spas could be considered to be bribing the prez.

          the opportunity the house should seize is to establish clear lines of conduct that this or any future president president must not cross. in general due to trump’s slack and contemptuous treatment of rules and customs for a president, the house has been gifted with an unusual opportunity to set standards of behavior for this and all future presidents; it should take full advantage of this opportunity.

          • Rayne says:

            First, the House has had hearings including one with Michael Cohen in which Trump’s taxes have come up with regard to valuations on assets and possible bank+tax fraud. They have plenty of reason to subpoena Trump+Trump org banking records now as well as his tax filings. All under way but resisted by lawsuit and Mnuchin.

            Second, the House has passed a bill — the very first bill submitted this Congress — requiring future candidates to publish their tax filings so that conflicts of interest are identified up front. The bill is sitting on McConnell’s desk.

            It’s NOT the House Dems who are the problem, people. Raise hell in the right quarter. Call your senators especially if they are GOP and tell them to quit obstructing and do some actual legislative work. (202) 224-3121

            • orionATL says:

              rayne –

              thanks for the details. i believe that first bill set up standards of conduct in government – a real, true “drain the swamp”, anti-corruption bill.

              i most definitely am not criticizing speaker pelosi or the house democratic leadership. i think they are doing good work under difficult circumstances which include trump obstruction of legitimate legislative actions and a caucus going different ways at the moment.

              rather i was outlining the scope of a house review of trump’s behavior and wanted to emphasize there is far more of concern than the legal matters the special council’s office considered. among these, tax fraud would be the most evidently criminal and politically damaging and would be a whole lot less susceptible to “maybe, maybe not” arguments than obstruction.

              i also wanted to emphasize something that has concerned me since trump made clear early on that he is going to behave like a dictator not like a normal american president, to whit, the need for the congress to establish lines of behavior for all future presidents and reclaim some of the power they either have given up or let slide into presidential hands, e.g., executive orders – ruling by presidential edict, or should i say ukase :) .

              there is also the matter of trump’s obstructing the house review of his conduct, including that described in the special counsel’s report. this obstruction seems to me to be an entirely new and extremely serious impeachable offense based on the right of Congres to review executive branch actions.

              finally, i want to emphasize the cleverness of tribe’s suggestion, which rubin emphasizes, which is that the house need not act to impeach and stop there, knowing that mcconnell waits smugly to throttle all their work. they can indict and “politically convict” on their own.


                • orionATL says:

                  if they keep focus on what he has done to hurt people they can do it. if they go all dem “let’s just talk about the economy”, they can’t.

                  • Rayne says:

                    I don’t think that’s true whatsoever. The stock market isn’t the economy. Full employment doesn’t mean people can afford their rent or their medicines. And the tax cut didn’t.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Jobs do not mean good jobs. Solid middle class jobs of the past are now McDonalds fry tenders and janitorial jobs. “Jobs” is far more complicated. Even if unstated, think you both are saying that.

                  • orionATL says:

                    mcconnell has already proved (6 yrs ago, among others) that he has a lot of acceptance and lot of support from kentuckians. what went wrong last go round in kentucky that mcconnell survived and a dem candidate withered? a dem governor had busted his butt to give kentuckians widespread medical care, but hoi polloi elected a rich Republican as their governor. this is the successful politics of economic wellbeing?

                    i think you want to get rid of a guy like mcconnell you have to tell people what he has done that hurts them and just how he as deceived them. and then repeat it and repeat it. the “ditch mitch” video was doing that with regard to medical care.

                    how is it that negative advertising can work wonders against opponents (of either party), but some dem strategists don’t want to lay an opponent’s harmful political beliefs and conduct on the line?

                  • orionATL says:

                    a couple of comments in response to rayne on mcconnell, economic concerns, and voting in kentucky made on 6/7 evening have disappeared into the maw of “moderation”.

    • John K says:

      The Republicans benumbed the viewing public with their Benghazi bullshit and now claim to speak ‘for the people’ by claiming that the Americans are tired of investigations and just want Congress to do the work they are meant to do. They now use their relentless assault on Obama’s decency as an excuse to allow Trump free rein to commit crime after crime. Republican complicity is every bit as appalling as Trump’s criminality.

      • Americana says:

        Figuring out the reasons behind Republican complicity is vital for finally securing their support for impeachment. Are Republicans afraid of the political fallout from having had two ‘R’ presidents impeached or close to it? Are Republicans afraid of admitting Trump is a venal criminal for whom self-aggrandizement was the chief driver of his seeking the presidency? Or are they more afraid of what their tactics of spreading conspiracy theories have wrought over time? It sure seems the Koch brothers are terrified of the conspiracy theories they’ve sown for decades if they’re trying to now find common ground w/Democrats. Surely Republicans can’t believe they can continue to hide behind claims about the “Deep State”? Although reading “Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power: by Anna Merlan is a terrifying exposé on the world of conspiracy theories.

      • Americana says:

        Figuring out the reasons behind Republican complicity is vital for finally securing their support for impeachment. Are Republicans afraid of the political fallout from having had two ‘R’ presidents impeached or close to it? Are Republicans afraid of admitting Trump is a venal criminal for whom self-aggrandizement was the chief driver of his seeking the presidency? Or are they more afraid of what their tactics of spreading conspiracy theories have wrought over time? It sure seems the Koch brothers are terrified of the conspiracy theories they’ve sown for decades if they’re trying to now find common ground w/Democrats. Surely Republicans can’t believe they can continue to hide behind claims about the “Deep State”? I’m reading “Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power: by Anna Merlan and I’m beginning to believe there are people who will believe anything. Given our fractured communication system w/many folks getting their information from their social media feeds, how will we ever reach a broad audience w/the facts ever again if people aren’t subscribing to newspapers and conspiracy theory sites outnumber newspapers?

        • Americana says:

          Sorry, don’t know how a 2x blooper happened. I do think we need newspapers though so I’m glad the second post is here.

    • Vicks says:

      Pretty obvious tell of a weak hand eh?
      When your opponent is resorting to personal attacks and alternate conspiracies I think it is safe to assume there are no actual facts to back their position.

    • CitizenCrone says:

      “including Florida where vote tampering is alleged.”

      Do you have a source you can cite for this? Thanks.

  3. rip says:

    Thank you for a good overview and, to me, a cogent explanation of what has happened.
    The problem is to get these types of analyses in front of those that could change the course of events. The ones who would actually stop and listen to voices that are concerned about the future of the democracy started in 1776.

    • Democritus says:

      We should be posting and link No these into more commonly read sites, like NYT comments( lol, get the readers there some GOOD analysis ) and aggregators. I know I have been posting links around.

      Also sites like Reddit etc. I saw one of the great commentators from here the other day dropping knowledge bombs on Reddit and it made my day. They were at up at the top of one of the most read threads, and I’m sure thousands read it and hopefully shared it around too.

      We should make the most of our free speech whilst we have it.

      • errant aesthete says:

        Excellent point on “free speech” and solid tactic on disseminating the message.

  4. Willis Warren says:

    Asha Rangappa is currently schooling Chuck Ross on the FISA renewal that he claims was based on the dossier (so what if it was)

    “the investigation was unable to establish” that Carter Page was smart enough to conspire. How inspiring

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I might agree about Page: he works hard to appear as the friendly doofus “expert.” But formally, it would take a bit of work to make the case that a Naval Academy graduate (top 10%), with an MBA from NYU and a PhD from the University of London isn’t “smart enough” to conspire with Russian patrons he’s spent a career courting.

      The whole argument is suspect, given the number of goombahs who have been done in for conspiring in this or that crime for their mob bosses. It suggests something else is in play with Page.

      • Jenny says:

        LOL at “friendly doofus “expert,” and “given the number of goombahs.” A Russian agent called Page an “idiot.”

        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.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There is an argument that if Page were a Russian asset, they might create a legend – here, a track record – that understates his talents in order to maintain his cover as an open/covert asset.

          That, at least, would be more consistent with his academic record, which is at odds with his Gomer Pyle-with-a-grudge persona.

  5. hollywood says:

    Exactly. In another era the GOP would be on its Whittaker Chambers-Alger Hiss high horse.

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