Trump campaign adviser's Moscow trip prompted FBI’s Russia probe

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-campaign-adviser-moscow
BYChris Sommerfeldt
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017, 12:51 AM
Trump campaign adviser Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow Dec. 12, 2016.

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page's trip to Moscow last year spurred the extensive FBI probe that continues to haunt the President and his associates, according to a report.

The U.S. intelligence community first began keeping an eye on Page after investigators discovered that a Russian spy tried to recruit him in 2013.

Three years later, alarm bells went off again when Page, now serving as a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, traveled to the Russian capital to give a Kremlin-friendly speech before the prestigious New Economic School, former and current intelligence officials confirmed to the New York Times on Wednesday.

The July trip triggered the ongoing U.S. intelligence investigation into alleged ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. That probe has since expanded to include two separate congressional inquiries.

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The FBI began surveilling Page, 45, after he returned from the Moscow trip on the suspicion that he might be a Russian agent. It's not known what the bureau has been able to discern from those surveillance operations.

During his speech at the New Economic School, Page accused the Obama administration of hypocrisy and echoed a position often touted by President Vladimir Putin.

44 photos view gallery Donald Trump in the White House

"Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change," Page told the gathered audience.

Back in the U.S., Trump stunned politicians across the ideological spectrum as he expressed admiration for Putin, praising the Russian leader as "strong." Both Democrats and Republicans have for years painted Putin as an anti-Western autocrat.

Ex-Trump adviser Carter Page can't rule out Russia sanctions talk

Page has vigorously denied any wrongdoing in his contacts with Russian officials.

But he has also on occasion sparked headlines for failing to confirm whether he talked to the Russians about Trump potentially looking to roll back Obama-era sanctions on the Kremlin.

"Something may have come up in conversation," Page told ABC last week.

Then President-elect Trump gives a thumbs up alongside his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and daughter Ivanka during the Republican National Convention.

(RICK WILKING/REUTERS)

The White House has attempted to tone down the swirling controversy surrounding Page, arguing that the former adviser had a very small role on the campaign and never actually met with Trump.

FBI received warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page: report

But Page is far from the only Trump associate with perceived Russia ties.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone are also under FBI investigation for alleged ties to the Kremlin.

Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, was ousted after it became clear that he had lied about communications with a senior Russian official. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who served as a Trump surrogate during the campaign, has met with the same Russian official on at least two occasions.

President Trump has gone on the defensive over the Russia allegations, frequently lashing out against media outlets reporting on the matter.

"It is the same Fake News Media that said there is 'no path to victory for Trump' that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!" he tweeted earlier this month.

Tags: donald trump donald trump first 100 days fbi russia paul manafort barack obama vladimir putin michael flynn Send a Letter to the Editor Join the Conversation: facebook Tweet
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