Donald Trump may have a new flank to defend in his first presidential debate.
Carter Page, of Merrill Lynch in Moscow, was listed earlier this year on a list of foreign policy advisers for Trump, The Hill reports:
But Friday, after Yahoo News reported that Page was being investigated for allegedly meeting with Kremlin officials over the summer, a Trump campaign spokesman denied that Page had ever been part of the campaign.
“Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign,” the campaign’s communications director Jason Miller said in an email to The Hill. “I’ve never spoken to him, and wouldn’t recognize him if he were sitting next to me.”
Presented with a statement from a campaign spokesperson in August that characterized Page as an “informal adviser,” albeit one who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign,” Miller doubled down.
“He’s never been a part of our campaign. Period,” he said.
The campaign did not respond to further requests for comment Friday night and Saturday morning.
Yahoo! noted Friday that intelligence officials believe Page met with Igor Sechin, an ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian oil executive who is among a group of leaders that the U.S. sanctioned in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Sechin is a former deputy prime minister and chief of staff to Putin and was described by the U.S. Treasury Department as having shown “shown utter loyalty” to the Russian strongman.
This is not the first time that Trump’s campaign has been embroiled in controversy over alleged ties to Russia. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned last month shortly after reports emerged that a secret ledger from Viktor Yanukovych’s Kremlin-backed regime in Ukraine showed $12.7 million in cash payments to Manafort.
Trump and his running mate Mike Pence have called Putin a stronger leader than President Obama.
[The Hill. our emphasis]
Can’t get away with no Russian connections. Unless you’re a Democrat:
According to The Hill, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton pounced on the possible Kremlin connection:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign responded to the Yahoo report on Friday, calling the allegations “chilling” and demanding that Trump reveal any other ties he has to “foreign assets.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this in American politics,” Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement. “Every day seems to cast new doubts on what’s truly driving Donald Trump’s decision-making: the interests of the American people or his own bottom line.
“He needs to immediately disclose the full extent of his business relationships and foreign assets so the voters can make that determination for themselves.”
This is a noteworthy turn for the Clinton campaign, desperate for an edge going into Monday’s “only Republicans and Democrats get to compete because two-party duopoly” presidential debate. The camp is still recovering from Hillary’s pneumonia-fueled Labor Day collapse on a curb, in which she was dragged into a Secret Service van by handlers:
Why is the Clinton surrogate slamming of Trump’s possible Kremlin ties a classic example of Hillary hypocrisy? Because her own campaign manager, John Podesta, as we reported from the Panama Papers last April, is the official Russian lobbyist for the Kremlin’s State-directed national bank:
Podesta’s lobbying for the Russian state bank, Sberbank (“Savings Bank in Russia”) continues to escape the notice of the pro-Hillary media. Podesta’s past dealings in high finance were further explained by the right-wing Observer (who does use Clinton investigator Peter Schweizer as a source):
John Podesta sat on the board of a Dutch-registered company that took $35 million from the Kremlin. The company was a transparent Russian front, and how much Podesta was compensated—and for what—is unclear. In addition, Podesta failed to disclose his position on that board to the Federal government, as required by law.
But Observer is no Trump pusher, either:
Donald Trump possesses unsavory Russian ties. He parrots Kremlin propaganda, his inner circle includes people on Moscow’s payroll, and top American intelligence officials have called him an “unwitting agent” of Vladimir Putin. This is a serious matter deserving close scrutiny.
Just as serious is how the Kremlin has forged links with nearly all the presidential candidates this year, not just Trump—so much so that, no matter who wins on November 8, Putin will, too. Hillary Clinton also possesses Moscow links that merit investigation. I’ve previously explained how Kremlin money found its way to the Podesta Group, the prominent Democratic lobbying firm that just happens to be headed by the brother of her campaign chairman, John Podesta (who co-founded the firm).
According to The Hill, Mr. Podesta is hardly staying in the shadows as he conducts illegal, un-registered lobbying for the unofficial economic operations arm of Vladimir Putin: Podesta sounded off on the “dangerous” and “unpredictable” Trump before tomorrow night’s debate:
“Donald Trump will have to think about what he’s said in the past, his disparagement of that reporter … with disabilities and have to think about the names he’s called Gold Star families, Mexicans, to Muslims,” Podesta said.
“He’s a good television performer, so he may try to adjust for that in the debate, but the reality is he’s run his whole campaign that way.
“When you poke him a little bit, he comes back and attacks whoever’s doing it,” Podesta said.
“And that’s why he got in so much trouble when he attacked the Gold Star family. … That’s what he does. That’s who he is. That’s why he’s dangerous and unpredictable.”
Mr. Podesta’s second job seems a little shady to us. Fortunately for insiders, Americans are easily goaded into accepting horrific candidates…and the notion they have only two options in November.
Thanks to our sources:
Hillary’s Secret Kremlin Connection Is Quickly Unraveling
Clinton Emails, Trump and Russia