So why was Carter Page in Russia?
Just days before Republicans adopted a new, more Russia-friendly plank into their party platform, one of Donald Trump’s top advisers visited Moscow in July to deliver speeches criticizing decades of U.S. foreign policy.
Global energy investor Carter Page joined Trump’s team in March. Since then, Page has criticized U.S.-Russia policy in a number of public speeches, and repeatedly expressed his hope that a closer relationship between the two nations might be possible with Trump in the White House.
So after Page’s speeches, Trump’s campaign pushes for more cordial language towards Russia in the GOP platform, leading into the convention. The push was to drop any mention of sending arms to the Ukraine, as aid in their fight against Russia, who had pressed into the region in 2014, resulting in the annexation of Crimea.
Trump and his top campaign aide, Paul Manafort, both denied that they were behind the change. But delegates at the Platform Committee meetings and officials with the Republican National Committee said that not only was the Trump campaign behind the new language, but that it was, in fact, the only major revision the campaign demanded.
“It is somewhat stupefying,” said Hannah Thoburn, a Ukraine and Russia expert at the Hudson Institute, a think tank. She said Manafort’s decade of work for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine, might explain Manafort’s interest in the modification.
Let’s not be coy or pretend we don’t know who we’re dealing with. Putin, an ex-KGB agent, is not a good guy. His aggressive actions in the Ukraine are but one of the very troubling moves that a weakened U.S. has allowed him to make.
How will it get better with a bumbling, sociopathic businessman who thinks he can trust Putin as a “pal”?
Neither Page nor the Trump campaign responded to HuffPost’s queries regarding Page’s travel and his foreign policy advice to the candidate. Trump has been the focusof growing scrutiny over the web of ties that he and his closest advisers have to Russian business interests.
After Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014, Manafort went to work for the exiled president’s chief of staff, Serhiy Lyovochkin, helping to rebuild Yanukovych’s fractured political party. Whether Manafort is still working for the pro-Russian party today is unclear. Neither Trump’s campaign nor a spokesperson for Lyovochkin would confirm or deny whether Trump’s campaign chairman is still on the payroll.
Page’s financial interests in Russia include investments in the Russian state oil conglomerate Gazprom, as well as consulting work advising companies on how to do business in Russia. Page told Bloomberg News this spring that he still attends Gazprom shareholder meetings, and that U.S. sanctions against top Kremlin officials and state-owned Russian companies have hurt his consulting business and the value of his Gazprom shares.
Both Page and Manafort are uncomfortably close to a regime that has proven unreliable and power hungry. These are the people Trump trusts and will likely allow to do most of the running of the nation.
Eight years of a feckless president has nearly ruined us. Are Trump’s supporters trying to put that last nail in the coffin?