Carter Page, for a while the focus of supposed Trump-Russia election collusion, was exonerated by Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday.
“The investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” the report said
Democrats targeted Mr. Page principally because he was accused of felonies in Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier funded by the Hilary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The dossier said he worked with Paul Manafort as a liaison with the Kremlin on Russian interference in the election by computer hacking and social media trolling. Both men say they didn’t know each other. Mr. Mueller found no evidence.
Mr. Page, a Trump campaign volunteer, was wiretapped by the FBI for a year, with the evidence to the judge mostly coming from the dossier. Mr. Steele claimed Mr. Page agreed to a huge bribe while in Moscow in July 2016 in exchange for removing U.S. economic sanctions. Again, the Mueller report provides no evidence.
An energy investor, Mr. Page worked in Moscow in the 2000s and on returning home had occasion to meet two Russian spies in New York who worked undercover as diplomats. Page thought one of the men could help him ink a big energy deal in Russia.
Mr. Page told the FBI he realized they were intelligence officers.
Said the report, “In interviews with the FBI before the Office’s opening, Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he had associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services, but he stated that he had only provided immaterial non-public information to them and that he did not view this relationship as a backchannel. Page told investigating agents that ‘the more immaterial non-public information I give them, the better for this country.’”
Mr. Page, who opposed U.S. sanctions on Russia, sold himself as a camping adviser by saying he could establish ties to senior Moscow officials.
Once he won a job, the publicity spurred the New Economic School in Moscow to invite him to deliver its commencement address in July 2016. He delivered a pro-Russia speech, criticizing Obama administration sanctions.
He met with several business contacts he knew from his Moscow days. He has denied meeting with the two men named in the Steele dossier.
The Mueller report said it didn’t obtain evidence on those supposed meetings. It said his activities as described in emails to the campaign “were not fully explained.”
Mr. Page wasn’t charged.
He has called the dossier a work of fiction and always denied wrongdoing.