Yesterday evening, the House Intelligence Committee released a transcript of Carter Page’s testimony from last Thursday, dropping more bombshells than a B-52.
Anyone who reads all 243 pages will come away with more questions than answers, but the contents make one thing abundantly clear: Page is talking his way right into a federal penitentiary.
Of course, Page is the junior foreign policy adviser to the Donald Trump campaign who stands at the center of several allegations in the so-called Steele dossier, which he refers to repeatedly as “the dodgy dossier.” In fact, Page goes so far out of his way to use this phrase that it becomes painful to read.
According to Page, former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele did not collect the reports in his dossier from Russians, but fabricated them from thin air as part of a monumental conspiracy involving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“The Clinton/Obama regime’s fake FISA warrant targeting me for exercising my Fist Amendment rights is the most unwarranted abuse of power that I and most Americans have witnessed in any election throughout our lifetimes,” Page says in a screed submitted with his testimony.
He accuses fired FBI director James Comey of giving “severely defamatory” testimony in reference to the Steele dossier. Which is weird, because Comey actually declined to say anything about whether its claims are true or false in an open committee session. Apparently, saying nothing at all is “defamation” to Carter Page, who is acting as his own attorney in all of this.
Indeed, his amateur lawyer act clearly wore thin on his questioners. Even Rep. Trey Gowdy seemed to be fed up with Page’s rhetorical dancing and evasions, for instance when he finally admitted meeting senior Russian government officials during his June 2016 trip to Moscow.
Page really ought to hire a genuine defense counsel, because he doesn’t even seem capable of acting as his own paralegal, much less his own lawyer.
For example, Page is convinced that whatever the FBI collected from his phone calls and emails should be released because they will surely exonerate him. But then he refuses to turn over any documents, invoking the Fifth Amendment, because the FBI will have a more complete set of materials than he can provide and he doesn’t want to “create any inconsistencies.” See how that works?
You can read a more complete and entertaining analysis in this Twitter thread if you want, but the real punchline to all of this is that Page contradicted his previous public statements under intense questioning.
Those meetings with Rosneft officials described in the Steele dossier that he kept saying were totally untrue? Now he admits that he met with some in July and December. Those times he insisted he had not spoken at all with any Russian officials? He totally did.
Rep. Adam Schiff confronted Page with an email dated July 8th in which he promises to reveal “incredible insights and outreach from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the presidential administration here” to J.D. Gordon and other Trump campaign officials.
That contradicts what Page said on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes two days before the hearing. It also means that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was copied to the email, committed perjury when he told the Senate that he did not know about any meetings with Russians during the campaign.
Rather than disproving the Steele dossier, Page reinforced some of its claims. Rather than clear the air, Page blew so much smoke that it’s impossible to believe nothing is on fire. Rather than restore his reputation, Carter Page proved himself an epic liar and dissembler who is probably talking his way right into prison. At this point, his best defense might be to claim insanity.
They say that the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client, and Page may be the best example of that aphorism in our time.
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