Donald Trump meets with The Washington Post‘s advisory board and details his list of campaign advisers so far. On the list is Carter Page, now an energy consultant and foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
In the months that follow, Page meets with Russian officials at least three times, during and after the campaign. He tries to cover it up. The FBI identifies him as a likely Russian agent. However, in later years, Robert Mueller is unable to prove Page was knowingly involved in Russia’s influence efforts.
When Page becomes the subject of an FBI investigation during the campaign, Trump officials claim he was never on the campaign. Despite this, Trump’s team spends years using the Page investigation as some form of “proof” that the Trump-Russia story is a “deep state” fabrication.
In the 1990s, Page worked as an intelligence agent for the U.S. Navy abroad. Around 1998, he completed a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank connected to Jeffrey Epstein and an affiliate of Russian officials. That same year, he joined consulting firm Eurasia Group but left three months later; the firm’s president, Ian Bremmer, was uncomfortable with Page’s strong interest in Russia and considered him the firm’s “most wackadoodle” employee two decades later.
After completing his fellowship, Page went to work as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch’s London office. Soon after, in 2004, he became a vice president in the company’s Moscow office. He didn’t make much of an impression.
I talked to Page’s former boss, former Russian Central Bank Chairman Sergei Aleksashenko, who ran the Moscow office of Merrill Lynch for part of the time Page worked there. “He wasn’t great and he wasn’t terrible,” Aleksashenko said, exasperated and confused by the interest of all these journalists pestering him for information about someone “without any special talents or accomplishments,” someone who was “a gray spot.” “What can you say about a person who in no way exceptional?” he asked me…
Trump’s putative advisor on Russia and energy and foreign policy, in other words, “did not create the impression of someone who was intellectual or well-educated, or someone who was in any way interested or knowledgeable in foreign policy,” says Aleksashenko.Politico
Page lived in Moscow for three years, working on deals between Merrill Lynch and Gazprom, Russia’s state-run energy giant connected to Putin friend and crime ring leader Semion Mogilevich. Years later, former employees claim Page over exaggerated his role in dealmaking.
Despite their claims, Page founded Global Energy Capital in 2008 with former Gazprom executive Sergei Yatsenko and business partner James Richard. The company is a U.S. investment fund and consulting firm specializing in the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas business, and the office space is physically connected to Trump Tower. By 2017, Page is the only employee.
In 2013, he wrote a letter to an academic publisher boasting about his previous work as an adviser to the Kremlin for over six months. During that time, Russian intelligence agents attempted to recruit Page but, allegedly, failed. A year later, the FBI obtained a warrant to monitor Page under suspicions that he was a victim of Russian intelligence targeting.