Carter Page, briefly a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, sent a peculiar, rambling letter this week to the Department of Justice, asking it to review “the severe election fraud in the form of disinformation, suppression of dissent, hate crimes and other extensive abuses led by members of Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and their political allies last year.”
Page is reportedly one of several targets of a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Page provided the lengthy letter to The Intercept when asked whether he would support President Trump using his power as president to declassify any government material to disclose any intercepted conversations between Page and Russian officials. He did not say. Instead he forwarded the letter, which is well-formatted, heavily footnoted, grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes. However, its content is bizarre.
To begin with, it is addressed to the voting section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, which is charged exclusively with enforcing federal laws that protect the right to vote.
It then makes the grandiose claim that “the actions by the Clinton regime and their associates may be among the most extreme examples of human rights violations observed during any election in U.S. history since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was similarly targeted for his anti-war views in the 1960’s.”
Page repeatedly describes as “outrageous” the news coverage claiming that he has significant connections to Russian officials and what he says was the Clinton campaign’s hidden hand behind it.
The Clinton campaign, says Page, engaged in “human rights violations,” “illegal activities,” “unlawful deceptions,” “Obstruction of Justice — the charge upon which President Nixon was impeached,” spreading “False Evidence,” and “an obviously illegal attempt to silence me on an important issue of national and international consequence in violation of my Constitutional rights.”
Page also states that he was targeted by the Clinton campaign because he is Catholic, a military veteran, and a man.
In addition to the letter, Page included three appendices: A July 2016 speech he delivered at the New Economic School in Moscow; a response to the director of national intelligence’s report claiming that Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian government to intervene in the 2016 election to help Trump; and a September 15 letter to FBI Director James Comey asking him to close any inquiry into Page.
In his response to the DNI report, Page addresses the report’s statement that “Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev used his flagship weekly newsmagazine program this fall to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment.”
Page writes that “Both as a world-class journalist and as a human being, [Kiselev] is an exceptionally competent, kind and fair individual with the highest level of personal integrity,” whose broadcast views “closely align with the perspectives held by tens of millions of hard-working, patriotic Americans.”
In addition being a television host, Kiselev is head of the Russian government news agency Rossia Segodnya. He is notorious for saying on air in 2012: “I think banning gays from distributing propaganda to children is not enough. … I think they should be banned from donating blood or sperm, and if they die in a car crash, their hearts should be burnt or buried in the ground as unsuitable for the continuation of life.”
Page was essentially unknown in political and foreign policy circles until Trump listed him as one of five people slated for his foreign policy team in an interview with the Washington Post in March 2016.
In August, then-Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey calling for an investigation of evidence he said suggested that Russia might try to manipulate voting results — and referred to the speech delivered by Page the previous month in Moscow, in which he criticized American sanctions policy toward Russia.
Yahoo News in September reported that intelligence officials were specifically looking into whether Page had private communications with senior Russian officials about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if Trump became president. Precisely that kind of conversation — between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. — led to Flynn’s resignation.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Page responded to the Yahoo story, saying, “All of these accusations are just complete garbage.” But he announced he was taking a leave of absence from his work with the Trump campaign due to the controversy.
Trump’s press secretary said in September that Page had “no formal role” in the campaign, and during a January 2017 news conference before Trump took office, Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer stated that “Carter Page is an individual who the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign.”
Page himself said Wednesday night on the PBS NewsHour: “I was a junior member of the campaign’s foreign policy advisory group … compared to other people that had much more direct interaction with Mr. Trump, who I never actually briefed or was in any small meetings with. I went to many rallies with him, but never any direct meetings.”
Page worked in Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office between 2004 and 2007, where he was involved in trades involving Russian state-run energy companies, and rose to the level of vice president.
In 2008, Page founded an investment firm called Global Energy Capital, together with Sergei Yatsenko, a former manager at the Russian state-run oil firm, Gazprom. He is now a managing partner there. The company, according to its website, “invests growth capital in private energy services companies.”
After The Intercept asked Page by email how anything the Clinton campaign had done could be considered a hate crime, Page responded, “It all seems to be pretty textbook definition to me (and my lawyers).” He added: “I’ve been harassed non-stop for the last year, based on these and other lies originated by the Clinton campaign.”
The letter and appendices Page provided to The Intercept can be read below.