- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 25, 2018

The core Trump-Russia dossier charges against onetime campaign volunteer Carter Page remain unconfirmed after nearly a year of wiretapping by the FBI, says a Republican rebuttal to a Democratic memo on the dossier.

Mr. Page is the central figure in Republican charges that the Obama administration and the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by citing a Democratic Party-financed dossier as the main piece of evidence to bug the Trump campaign worker.

The Republican rebuttal was to a memo from the Democratic minority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that said an Oct. 21, 2016, warrant on Mr. Page was proper. Released Saturday, the Democratic memo said that, in subsequent 90-day renewals, the Justice Department “provided additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated [dossier writer Christopher] Steele’s reporting.”

Republicans say it did not.

The dossier was written by Mr. Steele, a former British intelligence officer who was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. His central charge is that Mr. Page, during a public speaking trip in Moscow in July 2016, met with two Kremlin figures and discussed bribes in exchange for U.S. sanctions relief.

The two Russians are Igor Sechin, head of Russia’ state-owned Rosneft oil company, and Igor Diveykin, a member of Vladimir Putin’s administrative staff.

The Democrats’ citations for additional sourcing on Mr. Page were mostly redacted by the Justice Department.

The memo says: “This information contradicts Page’s November 2, 2017, testimony to the committee in which he initially denied any such meetings and then was forced to admit speaking with Arkady Dvorkovich and meeting with Rosneft’s Sechin-tied investor relations chief, Andrey Baranov.”

Mr. Page lived in Moscow in the mid-2000s while a banker for Merrill Lynch. He continued to do business with Russians via his own New York investment company.

He testified to the committee that he had a 10-second greeting with Mr. Dvorkovich, a Putin aide, as he spoke at the New Economic School. Mr. Page said Mr. Baranov was an old friend from his Moscow days and they met for drinks.

He requested that this testimony transcript be released, which it was.

The Republican majority on the House intelligence committee responded to the Democrats’ assertions about Mr. Page by saying, “At the time of the initial application, all of the Steele dossier’s specific claims about Page — including that he met with Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin in Moscow in July 2016 — were uncorroborated by any independent source, and they remain unconfirmed.”

Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, in closed-door committee testimony, was asked what part of the dossier charges had been confirmed. He answered: Mr. Page’s trip to Moscow. The trip was publicly known and covered by local press.

Mr. Page has spent hours answering questions from FBI agents. He testified under oath before Congress that he never met with Mr. Sechin or Mr. Diveykin and never discussed bribes for sanction relief.

He has not been charged with any crime.

House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, said this weekend during the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington that his investigation turned up the alarming fact that the FBI had used Democratic Party smut research to authorize spying on the Trump campaign.

The campaign cut ties with Mr. Page in September 2016 as any news of Russian contacts became radioactive. His trip to Moscow took place before WikiLeaks began releasing stolen Democratic Party emails that the U.S. says came from Russian hacking.

Mr. Page issued a statement Sunday to The Washington Times condemning the Democratic memo, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat:

“This latest smear campaign by DNC loyalists is going to turn out the same way as their original multimillion dollar attack of 2016. As we’ve seen many times before with the felonious news leaks of the past year, this new round of misinformation surrounding efforts by Washington to illegally influence the 2016 election inflicts even more damages on the instigating perpetrators from the swamp. Today’s memo further underscores the critical importance of the immediate disclosure of all my FISA applications and other relevant documents, as requested by the House Intelligence Committee, both Congressional Judiciary Committees, Judicial Watch, the New York Times, Yale Law School, et al.”

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