A report published on CNN suggests that Kremlin made attempts to influence United States 2016 Presidential elections via Donald Trump’s advisers.
The site reports that its sources from an FBI wing state the attempt was made through officials such as Carter Page.
The new information paints a picture onto how the Russians tried to influence the 2016 elections not just via email hacking but by also digging deeper into the Trump circles. This latest intelligence brought up the need to investigate the relationship between Trump’s campaign associates and the Russians.
The officials were very specific that they have nothing showing Page was aware the Russians were using him. Going by the secretive nature of the Russian spy crew, Page may have unknowingly spoken to them.
Page negates the theory that he collected any information for the Russians, and that all he did was to benefit the US intelligence community.
“My assumption throughout the last 26 years I’ve been going there has always been that any Russian person might share information with the Russian government … as I have similarly done with the CIA, the FBI and other government agencies in the past,” he said.
The US and European intelligence identified a number of Trump’s advisers who may have contacted the Russian officials, Page being one of them. The scope and frequency of the contacts is what interested the agencies.
The FBI and CIA chose not to comment on Page’s statement.
Met with a Russian Man
Page is said to have held a meeting with a Russian man who the officials later on identified to be a spy. But Page turned down any sought of links with the man, Victor Podobnyy, saying that he knew him not.
Page made a speech in July 2016 at a prominent Moscow university criticizing US policy against Russia.
“Ironically, Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change,” he said.
This is a speech that drew the attention of the FBI and raised concerns that the Russians had compromised him. The FBI also feared that Russian operatives continued to contact him both in Russia and the US.
The FBI and other US agencies have been tasked with the responsibility of investigating Russia’s interference with the election. Page’s conversation with the Russian operative is part of the information being investigated. The officials declined to comment on the contents of these conversations.
By March 2016, Trump was under a huge pressure to provide names of his national security advisers. Staffers offered some names from which he could choose. Page was one of them and Trump was drawn to him by the fact he had a Ph.D under his name.
Campaign officials turned down the allegations that Page was part of the national security meetings and say that he only had junior roles. However, a letter he wrote to the House Intelligence committee says otherwise.
“For your information, I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Cafe, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year.”
But a US official terms these claims meaningless because Page lists places that are frequented by the public and no vital discussions can be made here.
Did Russia Interfere with US Elections?
The question of whether Russia interfered with the US Presidential elections is one that has been haunting not only the intelligence community but also the citizens.
Barack Obama in his final months in office had to impose a set of sanctions against Russia after holding several meetings with the FBI and CIA.
The investigators made analysis of several strands of intelligence such as electronic and financial sources as well as human sources and drew the conclusion that indeed Russian officials colluded with some people in the campaign. The collusion was either knowingly or unknowingly. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence supporting the crimes.