Meet Carter Page — the former Trump campaign adviser who is at the center of the GOP memo controversy

Carter Page, a former investment banker and campaign foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is at the center of an intense debate over a classified memo that Republicans say exposes corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The memo accuses top officials at the FBI and DOJ of misleading a federal judge in seeking a warrant to extend secret surveillance of Page during and after the 2016 presidential election.

But according to a Wall Street Journal report from Thursday, Page was known to US counterintelligence officials long before he ever joined the Trump campaign, dating back to at least 2013.

Here’s what you should know about him:


Carter Page was born in Minneapolis, but raised in Poughkeepsie, New York.

source
Pavel Golovkin

In 1993, Page graduated from the US Naval Academy. He served in the Navy for five years before working on arms control at the Pentagon and moving to New York for a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Source: Bloomberg


He also has degrees from Georgetown University, New York University, and SOAS University of London.

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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

After working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in London, Page moved to its Russia branch, where he was a vice president from 2004 to 2007.


While in Russia, Page developed relationships with Russian oil executives, especially from the Kremlin-connected company Gazprom.

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Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom’s headquarters is seen in Moscow, January 3, 2009.
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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Source: Bloomberg


While Page has touted his credentials as an expert on the Russian energy market, a handful of other experts in the field told Politico they denied even knowing who he was.

Source: Global Energy Capital


“Strangely I’ve never heard of Carter Page until this Trump connection,” Bill Browder, an American investor who spent years working in Russia, told Politico. “It’s odd because I’ve heard of every other financier who was a player in Moscow at the time.”

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American financier Bill Browder.
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CNN/screenshot

Source: Politico


Over the course of his career in foreign policy, Page has not shied away from criticizing what he has described as US hypocrisy toward Russia. According to The Washington Post, Page has praised Putin as a better leader than former President Barack Obama.

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Page speaks to the New Economic School in Moscow in July 2016.
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Youtube

Source: The Washington Post


“Washington and other Western powers have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change,” Page said during a speech in Moscow in front of prominent Russian government officials.

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Russian state TV anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov listens to Page during a presentation in Moscow on December 12, 2016.
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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Source: Bloomberg


Over the years, Page’s dealings in Russia caught the attention of US government officials, who suspected that he may be working as an agent of Moscow. Intelligence officials knew of him as far back as 2013, well before he joined the Trump campaign.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


During the 2016 election campaign, Trump announced that Page was one of his foreign policy advisers.

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Mark Wilson/Getty

Source: Business Insider


But controversy ensued over Page’s role in the campaign when the FBI launched its probe into whether Trump or his associates were colluding with Russia to influence the election.

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Protesters dressed like FBI agents at the March for Truth in San Francisco in June 2017.
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Wikipedia Commons

Last November, Page testified before the House Intelligence Committee. In that testimony, he confirmed meeting Russian government officials during a trip to Moscow during the US presidential campaign. Page denies any wrongdoing or improper dealings with Russia.

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House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes.
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Thomson Reuters

Source: Business Insider


In January, Page became the subject of controversy when Republicans alleged in a memo that officials at the FBI and the DOJ misled a federal judge who authorized surveillance on Page before and after the 2016 campaign.

Source: Business Insider


On Friday, Trump released that memo, despite objections from Democrats and senior law-enforcement officials, including the director of the FBI.

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Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider