Who is Carter Page? I am not entirely sure. I took a look at his appearance in the Steele Dossier yesterday here. Whoever he is, Page does not appear to have met with the Russian oligarch Igor Sechin during Page’s trip to Russia in July 2016, the Steele Dossier to the contrary notwithstanding. He does not appear to have been offered a 19 percent interest in a Russian oil company in exchange for persuading President Trump to remove sanctions on Russia, the Steele Dossier (absurdly) to the contrary notwithstanding. He appears to be a victim of the Steele Dossier and the Clinton presidential campaign. That was the point of my post yesterday.
He also may have been a victim of the FBI, however, and of the Department of Justice, who jointly secured a FISA warrant on him in October 2016. Taking Steele’s dossier at face value, the FISA warrant application appears to have been based substantially on Russian disinformation gathered at the behest of the Clinton presidential campaign.
Yesterday Steve explored the FISA warrant renewal process in his podcast with Professor John Yoo. We have yet to see any of the FISA warrant applications secured against Page, though the less redacted version of the Grassley memo released yesterday heightens concerns about the possible government misconduct involved in their issuance. A related Wall Street Journal editorial amplifies this point. Unlike some conspiracy theorists who try to solve an equation with too many variables to admit of solution, however, I am quite sure that Page is not a former employee of the FBI.
One of our most prolific commenters noted yesterday that Page “also takes the Fifth when convenient,” citing this Bloomberg story. What about that? I seriously doubt that this commenter has read Page’s testimony. He couldn’t even bother himself to link to a story that followed the public release of the transcript of Page’s testimony.
Page testified to the House Intelligence Committee last year on November 2. The transcript of his testimony was released a few days later. Page testified for seven hours. He was not represented by counsel at the hearing. Although he was a difficult witness, he did not assert the Fifth Amendment in response to any question posed. He answered every question put to him. He himself insisted that the transcript of his testimony be made public. He addressed his July 2016 trip to Russia.
Page asserted the Fifth Amendment with respect to documents subpoenaed by the committee. He discussed his invocation of the Fifth Amendment as to subpoenaed documents in two colloquies with Adam Schiff. He took the position that the documents themselves would not incriminate him. He actually gave away his Fifth Amendment protection in that respect (if he had not already done so with the committee previously).
Some observers and commenters subtract from the sum total of human knowledge on the difficult issues that we confront in the matter of the 2016 election — some willfully, some because they don’t know what they’re talking about. There is no substitute for reviewing the available documents and transcripts with our own eyes. The committee posted the transcript online here. I have embedded the partially redacted transcript of Page’s testimony below. Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Randy Lemmerman published a workmanlike summary here.