FBI says Jeff Sessions’ pick for Trump team was an alleged Russian agent
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from Trump-Russia investigations after lying about his communications with Russian officials, assembled the Trump campaign's foreign policy team that included Carter Page. A devastating new report reveals Page was the subject of an FBI warrant alleging he was an agent of the Russian government.
During the 2016 election, then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is now attorney general, assembled the Trump foreign policy advisory team that included Carter Page, the Trump aide who, according to the Washington Post, was under FBI surveillance through a FISA warrant.
As the Post notes, “This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.”
On March 16, 2016, Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller appeared on Fox News’ The Kelly File and said that Sessions “has been meeting for hours now putting together a team of foreign policy advisers, military experts, intelligence experts,” as part of his role as the chairman of Trump’s Foreign Policy Advisory Committee.
Five days later, Trump met with the Washington Post editorial board and was asked to discuss the results of those meetings. In that exchange, Trump named Carter Page as a member of his foreign policy team.
RYAN: Thank you… We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly… Any you can share with us?
TRUMP: Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names… Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do, but that’s a representative group.
After Sessions became attorney general, it was revealed that he had misled the congressional panel that had conducted the hearing on his nomination.
Sessions, while working with the Trump campaign, had met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. Sessions had not disclosed the meeting in the hearing, and after a firestorm of controversy, Sessions eventually announced that he would recuse himself from investigations into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Page attracted controversy during the campaign for making pro-Putin speeches, while touting the idea that a Trump election would be good for U.S.-Russia relations. As the U.S. intelligence community began investigating Page, he left the Trump campaign.
We have now learned that during Page’s time on the Trump team, the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor his communications, telling a federal judge it had reasonable evidence to believe he was acting as an agent of a foreign power: Russia.
Sessions and Page are part of the Trump campaign’s troubling connection to Russia, and they have a connection to each other. These revelations continue to add to the free flow of officials and information between the Trump campaign and elements of the Russian government, and that government’s attempt to influence the American election.
Republicans’ continued efforts to thwart investigations into this matter, but this latest allegation shows that in addition to congressional probes and an FBI investigation, we need an independent investigation to find the truth.