Carter William Page
June 3, 1971
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Education||United States Naval Academy (BS)|
Georgetown University (MA)
New York University (MBA)
SOAS, University of London (PhD)
Foreign policy analyst
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1993–98 (Navy)|
1998–2004 (Navy Reserve)
Carter William Page (born June 3, 1971) is an American petroleum industry consultant and a former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign. Page is the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital, a one-man investment fund and consulting firm specializing in the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas business.
Page was a focus of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation into links between Trump associates and Russian officials and Russian interference on behalf of Trump during the 2016 presidential election. In April 2019, the Mueller Report revealed that investigators found no direct evidence that Page coordinated Trump campaign activities with the Russian government.
Life and career
Carter Page was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 3, 1971, the son of Allan Robert Page and Rachel (Greenstein) Page. His father was from Galway, New York, and his mother was from Minneapolis. His father was a manager and executive with the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company. Page was raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated from Poughkeepsie's Our Lady of Lourdes High School in 1989.
Page graduated with a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1993; he graduated with distinction (top 10% of his class) and was chosen for the Navy's Trident Scholar program, which gives selected officers the opportunity for independent academic research and study. During his senior year at the Naval Academy, he worked in the office of Les Aspin as a researcher for the House Armed Services Committee. He served in the U.S. Navy for five years, including a tour in western Morocco as an intelligence officer for a United Nations peacekeeping mission, and attained the rank of lieutenant. In 1994, he completed an MA degree in National Security Studies at Georgetown University. After leaving active duty in 1998, Page was a member of the Navy's inactive reserve until 2004.
Education and business
After leaving the Navy, Page completed a fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, and in 2001 he received an MBA degree from New York University. In 2000, he began work as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch in the firm's London office, was a vice president in the company's Moscow office, and later served as COO for Merrill Lynch's energy and power department in New York. Page has stated that he worked on transactions involving Gazprom and other leading Russian energy companies. According to business people interviewed by Politico in 2016, Page's work in Moscow was at a subordinate level, and he himself remained largely unknown to decision-makers.
After leaving Merrill Lynch in 2008, Page founded his own investment fund, Global Energy Capital, with partner James Richard and a former midlevel Gazprom executive, Sergei Yatsenko. The fund operates out of a Manhattan co-working space shared with a booking agency for wedding bands, and as of late 2017, Page was the firm's sole employee. Other businesspeople working in the Russian energy sector said in 2016 that the fund had yet to actually realize a project.
Page received a PhD degree from SOAS, University of London in 2012, where he was supervised by Shirin Akiner. His doctoral dissertation on the transition of Asian countries from communism to capitalism was rejected twice before ultimately being accepted by new examiners. One of his original examiners later said Page "knew next to nothing" about the subject matter and was unfamiliar with "basic concepts" such as Marxism and state capitalism. He sought unsuccessfully to publish his dissertation as a book; a reviewer described it as "very analytically confused, just throwing a lot of stuff out there without any real kind of argument." Page blamed the rejection on anti-Russian and anti-American bias. He later ran an international affairs program at Bard College and taught a course on energy and politics at New York University. In more recent years, he has written columns in Global Policy Journal, a publication of Durham University.
Foreign policy and ties to Russia
In 1998, Page joined the Eurasia Group, a strategy consulting firm, but left three months later. In 2017, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer recalled on his Twitter feed that Page's strong pro-Russian stance was "not a good fit" for the firm and that Page was its "most wackadoodle" alumnus. Stephen Sestanovich later described Page's foreign-policy views as having "an edgy Putinist resentment" and a sympathy to Russian leader Vladimir Putin's criticisms of the United States. Over time, Page became increasingly critical of United States foreign policy toward Russia, and more supportive of Putin, with a United States official describing Page as "a brazen apologist for anything Moscow did". Page is frequently quoted by Russian state television, where he is presented as a "famous American economist".
In August 2013, Page wrote, "Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda." Page described his role differently in 2018: "I sat in on some meetings, but to call me an advisor is way over the top." Also in 2013, Russian intelligence operatives attempted to recruit Page, and one of them, Victor Podobnyy, described Page as enthusiastic about business opportunities in Russia but an "idiot". "I also promised him a lot," Podobnyy reported to a fellow Russian intelligence officer at the time, according to an FBI transcript of their conversation, which was covertly recorded. "How else to work with foreigners?" News accounts in 2017 indicated that because of these ties to Russian intelligence through Evgeny Buryakov, Viktor Podobnyy, and Igor Sporyshev, Page had been the subject of a warrant pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 2014, at least two years earlier than was indicated in the stories concerning his role in the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
Trump 2016 presidential campaign
Trump announced Page as a foreign policy adviser in his campaign on March 21, 2016. On September 23, 2016, Yahoo News reported U.S. intelligence officials investigated alleged contacts between Page and Russian officials subject to U.S. sanctions, including Igor Sechin, the president of state-run Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft. Page promptly left the Trump campaign. Upon his departure, Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller said of Page, "He’s never been a part of our campaign. Period."
Shortly after Page left the Trump campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained another warrant from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in October 2016 to surveil Page's communications and read his saved emails. To issue the warrant, a federal judge concluded there was probable cause to believe that Page was a foreign agent knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence for the Russian government. The initial 90-day warrant was subsequently renewed three times. The New York Times reported on May 18, 2018, that the surveillance warrant expired around October 2017. The FBI did not use a so-called "filter team" to prevent irrelevant information from being seen by investigators, and it was later determined that use of such a team is not required.
In January 2017, Page's name appeared repeatedly in the "Trump–Russia / Steele dossier" containing allegations of close interactions between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. By the end of January 2017, Page was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Page was not accused of any wrongdoing.
The Trump Administration attempted to distance itself from Page, saying that he had never met Trump or advised him about anything, but a December 2016 Page press conference in Russia contradicts the claim that Page and Trump never met. Page responded to a question about his contact with Trump saying, "I've certainly been in a number of meetings with him and I've learned a tremendous amount from him." The Mueller Report found that Page produced work for the campaign, traveled with Trump to a campaign speech and "Chief policy adviser Sam Clovis expressed appreciation for Page's work and praised his work to other Campaign officials".
In October 2017, Page said he would not cooperate with requests to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He said this was because they were requesting documents dating back to 2010, and he did not want to be caught in a "perjury trap". He expressed the wish to testify before the committee in an open setting.
On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released a heavily redacted version of the October 2016 FISA warrant application for Page, which expressed in part the FBI's belief that the Russian government was collaborating with Page and possibly others associated with the Trump campaign, as well as that Page had been the subject of targeted recruitment by Russian intelligence agencies. The application also said that Page and a Russian intelligence operative had met in secret to discuss compromising material (kompromat) the Russian government held against "Candidate #2" (presumed to be Hillary Clinton) and the possibility of the Russians giving it to the Trump campaign. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph diGenova, who was under consideration to join Trump's legal team in 2018, argued before and after release of the Mueller Report that the FISA warrants to surveil Page were obtained illegally. Other observers oppose diGenova's view, pointing out that the warrants were approved by four different judges, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents.
House Intelligence Committee testimony
On November 2, 2017, Page testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he had kept senior officials in the Trump campaign such as Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, and J. D. Gordon informed about his contacts with the Russians and had informed Jeff Sessions, Lewandowski, Hicks and other Trump campaign officials that he was traveling to Russia to give a speech in July 2016.
Page testified that he had met with Russian government officials during this trip and had sent a post-meeting report via email to members of the Trump campaign. He also indicated that campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement about his trip. Elements of Page's testimony contradicted prior claims by Trump, Sessions, and others in the Trump administration. Lewandowski, who had previously denied knowing Page or meeting him during the campaign, said after Page's testimony that his memory was refreshed and acknowledged that he had been aware of Page's trip to Russia.
Page also testified that after delivering a commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow, he spoke briefly with one of the people in attendance, Arkady Dvorkovich, a Deputy Prime Minister in Dmitry Medvedev's cabinet, contradicting his previous statements not to have spoken to anyone connected with the Russian government. In addition, while Page denied a meeting with Sechin as alleged in the Trump–Russia dossier, he did say he met with Andrey Baranov, Rosneft's head of investor relations. The dossier alleges that Sechin offered Page the brokerage fee from the sale of up to 19 percent of Rosneft if he worked to roll back Magnitsky Act economic sanctions that had been imposed on Russia in 2012. It also alleges that Page confirmed, on Trump's "full authority", that this was Trump's intent. Page testified that he did not "directly" express support for lifting the sanctions during the meeting with Baranov, but that he might have mentioned the proposed Rosneft transaction.
Mueller Report findings
When the Mueller Report was released in April 2019, it described Page's testimony about his role in the 2016 Trump campaign and connections to individuals in Russia as contradictory and confusing, and his contacts with Russians before and during the campaign as tangential and eccentric. He was not charged with any crimes, though the report indicated there were unanswered questions about his actions and motives: "The investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election". However, with incomplete "evidence or testimony about who Page may have met or communicated with in Moscow", "Page's activities in Russia – as described in his emails with the [Trump campaign] – were not fully explained."
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Court documents, testimony show foreign-policy adviser was known to authorities as early as 2013… Mr. Page hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.
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- Mueller Report, vol. I, p. 98: "In May 2016, Page prepared an outline of an energy policy speech for the Campaign and then traveled to Bismarck, North Dakota, to watch the candidate deliver the speech. Chief policy advisor Sam Clovis expressed appreciation for Page's work and praised his work to other Campaign officials."
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- Chia, Jessica (November 3, 2017). "Carter Page flew to Moscow, met with Russian government officials during presidential campaign: report". New York Daily News. New York, NY.
He has previously denied meeting with any Russian government officials during the trip. Just yesterday, Page said he traveled to Moscow to deliver a speech and that the trip was “completely unrelated to my limited volunteer role with the campaign.”
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carter Page.|
- globalenergycap.com — Global Energy Capital site
- on YouTube, February 15, 2017, PBS NewsHour interview
- Testimony of Carter Page, U.S. House Select Committee on Intelligence, Nov. 7, 2017
- FISA warrant on Carter Page, redacted