Former Trump adviser Carter Page says the congressional committees investigating potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign are railroading his reputation, and are ignoring his complaints about the FISA warrant obtained to surveil him.
Page also told the Washington Examiner that it makes no sense that he hasn't testified yet before either the House or Senate Intelligence Committees.
"It is unfathomable that [former FBI Director James] Comey got his third chance in as many months to testify about the senseless witch hunt that he led on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Obama administration, but I have been completely blocked from testifying before either of the congressional intelligence committees and providing the accurate story about what actually happened last year," Page told the Washington Examiner.
Page has long been a person that Democrats believe will help them establish that Russia and the Trump campaign colluded to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. He owns an energy investment firm in Manhattan which frequently looks for opportunities in Russia, and was briefly a foreign affairs adviser to the Trump campaign, although the length of his service to the campaign is a matter of frequent debate.
According to media reports, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to surveil him in the late summer of 2016, and used the infamous and debunked "Russian dossier" as evidence to support their argument for surveillance.
Page wants the FISA warrant used to grant surveillance over him by the FBI released, but right now is stopping short of directly asking President Trump to declassify the document, the most likely way the document would ever be made publicly available in full. Page said he doesn't want the administration to have to focus on anything but their agenda.
The dossier is also referred to as the "Steele dossier," after Christopher Steele, a former British spy who assembled the document originally intended as opposition research for Trump's political opponents. But to date, much of the dossier's information hasn't been verified. Page refers to it as the "Dodgy Dossier," a term he grabbed after it was originally used in 2003 to describe a British intelligence document used partially as a basis to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The Washington Post published a report in late February claiming that Steele had "reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement."
In Comey's three open testimonies this year, he's refused to provide any additional information on the dossier at all. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pressed Comey diligently on elements of the dossier when Comey appeared before that committee in early May, but the then-FBI director said he couldn't answer in that forum. He gave the same answer in his testimony this past week.
But Democrats have used the dossier as a basis for bringing up Page's alleged ties to Russia.
In the first open hearing into the Russia investigation by the House Intelligence Committee in March, both the ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of California and fellow Democrat Joaquin Castro of Texas both asked whether it was "coincidence" that Page was allegedly offered a commission to be involved in an upcoming sale of the Russian gas giant Rosneft, an allegation that can be traced back to the dossier. They both further expressed interest that the purchaser of the stake in Roseneft wasn't known at the time.
"I played no role in that transaction whatsoever, even coming close to playing any role, nothing," Page insists.
He believes the media has ignored how the Rosneft sale went down in December of 2016. The 19 percent stake in the company was ultimately sold to Glencore, a company founded by Marc Rich, the man pardoned on the last day of Bill Clinton's presidency. Rich was deceased years before the Glencore sale.
"Glencore, who basically funded the Clinton library in Arkansas, were the acquirers, and I'm the one getting accused of winning this deal," he claimed. "That just underscores what complete nonsense this was."
Page has written numerous letters to the House Intelligence Committee, complaining that his testimony hasn't been taken yet. After one of those complaints was indirectly given more exposure thanks to a tweet from President Trump, the committee released a statement saying it, and no one else, would dictate the pace of taking testimony from relevant parties.
Page ultimately believes if the contents of his FISA warrant are available, the document will show that he was targeted for political reasons and that President Trump's tweet about being wiretapped was true. "This gets to the very core of the matter," he said.