You may have seen the latest desperate MAGA camp hoax.
As it goes, former Trump campaign aide Carter Page worked with the FBI, undercover, in order to bust a Russian spy ring in New York, in 2013.
That’s the hoax part.
The part where everyone hops off the MAGA train and joins reality is where we tell you: It didn’t happen.
The hoax itself paints Page as some kind of smooth, .007 character, who, while working in his capacity as an energy consultant, went undercover to bug a secret Kremlin agent.
But Page dispelled that speculation on Tuesday, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation that he “never did anything of that variety.”
While the most desperate of Trump’s devotees want these claims to be true, they’re just not.
Some Republican lawmakers have balked at Page being targeted in the dossier put together by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who compiled the now-infamous Trump-Russia dossier, said to contain a lot of unsubstantiated material, but some things that have been verified.
That dossier was used, in part, on the FISA application filed by authorities to gain a warrant to surveil Page.
Meanwhile, Page had been under scrutiny since 2013, about the time he was interacting with a covert Russian agent named Victor Podobnyy.
Podobnyy worked (covertly) as a Russian trade representative to the U.S.
Described as “Male-1,” Page was included in a sealed complaint filed in 2015 against Podobnyy, and his associates. One of those associates was Igor Sporyshev, a Russian trade representative.
“Male-1 stated that he first met VICTOR PODOBNYY, the defendant, in January 2013 at an energy symposium in New York City,” reads the complaint, which was leaked to BuzzFeed News last year.
Page claimed that his interactions with Podobnyy were limited to a meeting at an energy conference, he gave him some of his academic writings, they exchanged a few emails, and then met once more.
A copy of the sealed document was leaked to Buzzfeed News last year, then shortly after, it was revealed that a FISA warrant had been granted against him by the FBI, a month after he left the Trump campaign team.
It was over this past weekend, and after the underwhelming reveal of the Nunes memo that a new hook was needed, and the internet MAGA squad went to work.
Pointing to a March 11, 2016 press release from the DOJ, they decided that the undercover FBI employee who bugged Sporyshev, the trade representative, had to be Page.
“The FBI obtained the recordings after Sporyshev attempted to recruit an FBI undercover employee (‘UCE-1’), who was posing as an analyst from a New York-based energy company,” the press release states.
“In response to requests from Sporyshev, UCE-1 provided Sporyshev with binders containing purported industry analysis written by UCE-1 and supporting documentation relating to UCE-1’s reports, as well as covertly placed recording devices.”
Slower wits dove on the connection between Page-as-energy analyst and UCE 1-as-undercover-agent and ran with it.
Simple logic. In the 2015 complaint, where Page, described as “Male-1” was mentioned, it described his questioning by the FBI, regarding his contacts with Podobnyy.
You don’t question someone who’s working for you, because you already know what they’re doing.
Also, the undercover agent posing as an analyst (Page wouldn’t have had to pose), UCE-1 had met with Sporyshev in April 2012, according to the document, a year before Page made those contacts.
So the fevered hopes of MAGAdom are for naught.
And again, Page, rather than taking this new rumor and running with it as cover, is waving it off.
But Page poured cold water on the theory.
“I’m not very familiar with the whole UCE concept,” he initially told The Daily Caller News Foundation when asked if he had heard the rumors that he was an undercover FBI agent. “I would assume that I’d have been briefed if I were somehow in it.”
Told that the undercover agent planted recording devices in order to surveil, Page said, “well that settles that.”
“Never did anything of that variety.”
I’m sure it’s not the last of the hoaxes we’ll see those desperate individuals concoct, in order to clear Trump or anyone associated with him.
A good rule of thumb may be that if you see somebody breathlessly defending someone in Trump’s circle, verify before spreading it around.