Carter Page is either an agent of the Russian government who helped coordinate efforts between the Vladimir Putin regime and the Donald Trump campaign to thwart the 2016 presidential election, or he is an innocent victim of an American political scandal of historic proportions.
It can’t be anything in the middle. Only one of those possibilities is true. And this is what’s so intriguing about the defamation lawsuit that Mr. Page filed earlier this week against the Democratic National Committee and D.C. law firm Perkins Coie.
Mr. Page was an informal adviser to the Trump presidential campaign and became the central figure of the infamous Russia dossier compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS at the behest of the DNC, Perkins Coie and, by extension, the Hillary Clinton campaign. The unverified dossier compiled rumors and salacious urban legends about Mr. Trump from anonymous Russians connected with Mr. Putin’s Kremlin or various moblike oligarchs.
The most important tidbits in the dossier had to do with Mr. Page, who made many business deals with Russian energy concerns over the years. Make no mistake, though. Mr. Page’s dealings with Russians were completely legal, these being the halcyon days of Mrs. Clinton’s “reset button,” former President Bill Clinton’s six-figure speeches in Moscow and then-President Obama’s whispered promise of “greater flexibility” after he clears the tiresome hurdle of re-election.
The dossier says Mr. Page met Igor Sechin, a Russian energy executive, and discussed lifting sanctions against Russia dating back to Moscow’s invasion of the Crimean Peninsula. It also claims that Mr. Page met with Igor Divyekin, a Russian intelligence official who allegedly promised compromising material against Mrs. Clinton. These suggestions of a foreign policy quid pro quo for domestic political dirt were published by Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News and David Corn at Mother Jones weeks before the 2016 election.
The publication of those charges became part of the justification for the FBI and the Justice Department to secure a FISA warrant against Mr. Page so they could spy on him, his phone calls, his emails and those who were corresponding with him. The warrant application stated that “the FBI believes that the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” the Trump campaign. It also said Mr. Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.”
These are serious allegations that rose to the level of a domestic surveillance warrant against a U.S. citizen, and it was all triggered by the dossier paid for by the DNC and the Clinton law firm.
This is what makes Mr. Page’s lawsuit so fraught. If he really is an agent of the Russian government and he was committing treasonous acts against our democratic process, this lawsuit will surely expose that. After all, truth is the best defense. All the DNC needs to do is prove Mr. Page is what they claim he is and there’s no defamation.
So why would Mr. Page wade into these terribly dangerous waters? Because he is supremely confident that he is completely innocent.
“Unfortunately for them, the DOJ and every media on the left has been trying to prove that (I’m guilty) for two years now,” Mr. Page told me after he filed his lawsuit. “They’ve literally found nothing.”
Of course, with a major civil lawsuit of this kind comes a serious discovery process. Mr. Page intends to get information from the DNC and Perkins Coie to find out who planned and ordered the Russia dossier and how it ended up in the hands of the media and the Obama DOJ.
As for any fishing expeditions against Mr. Page? Again, he is supremely confident that there is absolutely nothing for the defendants to discover.
“I’ve been through a total of 40-plus hours getting grilled by Congress and the Executive Branch,” he said. “Literally a year of FISA warrants with round-the clock surveillance” and no charges brought against him.
It appears the Robert Mueller investigation is not focusing on possible misdeeds by the FBI during the 2016 election. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems either uninterested or incapable of exposing what went on. Numerous congressional inquiries continue to plod along, but the DOJ is putting up roadblocks. It’s fair to say most Americans think they will never learn what really happened that fateful summer when the FBI launched Operation Crossfire Hurricane against Mr. Trump’s campaign. Mr. Page’s lawsuit may be the last chance we have to uncover the truth.
But Mr. Page is acting like an innocent man who has been wronged by the powerful D.C. elite. More than that, he is acting like an innocent man on a mission to get the truth and clear his name. That should make many figures connected to the Spygate scandal a little more nervous than they were just five days ago.
• Larry O’Connor writes about politics and the media for The Washington Times and can be heard weekday afternoons on WMAL radio in Washington. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryOConnor.
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