Driving Carter Page: What the 302 Says
One of the seventeen Woods violations the DOJ IG Report cites in its list of errors in the Carter Page report involves a chauffeured car.
It involves a June 1, 2017 interview with Yuval Weber, who is the son of Shlomo Weber, the academic who invited Page to speak before the New Economic School. The IG Report seems to raise doubts about the more important allegation here — that Page was rumored to have met with Igor Sechin (which would match a claim made in the Steele dossier).
A June 2017 interview by the FBI of an individual closely tied to the President of the New Economic School in Moscow who stated that Carter Page was selected to give a commencement speech in July 2016 because he was candidate Trump’s “Russia-guy.” This individual also told the FBI that while in Russia in July 2016, Carter Page was picked up in a chauffeured car and it was rumored he met with Igor Sechin. However, the FD-302 documenting this interview, which was included in the Woods File for Renewal Application No. 3, does not contain any reference to a chauffeured car picking up Carter Page. We were unable to locate any document or information in the Woods File that supported this assertion. 371
This week’s release of Mueller 302s includes the 302 from this interview. It shows that, amid a broad discussion of the way that Russia tries to cultivate Americans (including using invitations such as the one offered to Mike Flynn), Weber described,
SA [redacted] later asked why would NES want a speaker [redacted] Weber said that it was because he was Trump’s Russia-guy. The university typically had heads of state and Nobel Laureates as commencement speakers; in fact, Weber claimed they could have any Nobel Laureate they wanted for the speech.
In July, when Page had traveled to give the commencement speech at NES, Weber recalled that it was rumored in Moscow that Page met with Igor Sechin. Weber said that Moscow is filled with gossip and people in Moscow were interested in Page being there. It was known that a campaign official was there.
Page may have briefly met with Arkady Dvorkovich at the commencement speech, considering Dvorkovich was on the board at NES. But Weber was not aware of any special meeting.
[redacted] was not with Page 100% of the time, he met him for dinner, attended the first public presentation, but missed the commencement speech. They had a few other interactions. Page was very busy on this trip.
The 302 notes the follow-up call (but, as the IG Report correctly notes, does not mention the chauffeured car):
On 6/06/2017, SA [redacted] and SA [redacted] conducted a brief telephone follow-up interview of Weber. Weber provided the following information:
SA [redacted] asked a question specifying Weber’s previous statement that it was rumored in Moscow in July of 2016 that Page had met with Igor Sechin, as stated above, Weber said “I think so.” Weber described that Page mentioned in July that he previously met with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Weber was surprised that Page would meet a head of state, but it made him less surprised about the rumor of Page meeting Sechin.
Weber also told the agents that if they wanted to chase the rumor that Moscow had started monitoring Trump when oligarchs started “moving” money into NY real estate, they should,
…speak to any billionaire who purchased real estate from Trump, including [redacted] and Kirill Dimitriev.
Dmitriev, of course, is the Russian who successfully reached out to the Trump Transition via Erik Prince and Rick Gerson.
Ultimately, this was still just a rumor, and the FBI accurately noted it as such in the FISA application. The detail about a chauffeured car — which in this day and age could be an Uber! — seems unnecessary to the application, but also did make it into the application in violation of Woods procedures.
Still, as always, the real problems with Page’s applications were not the Woods procedure violations; they involved the more substantive exculpatory information that didn’t make it into the application.