U.S. intelligence officials are examining the relationship between Carter Page, an informal foreign policy advisor for the Donald Trump campaign, and Russian officials close to Vladimir Putin — including a Kremlin official believed to be involved in Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections, Michael Isikoff reported Friday for Yahoo News.
The report is based intelligence and congressional sources, who had knowledge of the intelligence officials’ briefings with lawmakers. An unnamed U.S. intelligence source did not dispute the assertion that Page’s communications with the Russian figures were being investigated when asked about it by Yahoo News.
“It’s on our radar screen,” the official told Yahoo News. “It’s being looked at.”
Intelligence officials are looking into whether Page has engaged in private communications with top Kremlin figures, the Yahoo News report said, which could be seen as an attempt to undermine the U.S.’s official posture towards Russia. Page is known for advocating for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia, which years ago attracted attention from officials in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Yahoo News said.
Among the Russian figures thought to be linked to Page is Igor Diveykin, who Yahoo News describes as being “believed by U.S. officials to have responsibility for intelligence collected by Russian agencies about the U.S. election.” Intelligence officials are looking into reports that Page met with Diveykin — a former Russian security official and now the deputy chief for internal policy — during a trip to Moscow in July two weeks before the GOP convention. Officials are also investigating a potential meeting during that trip between Page and Igor Sechin, a Putin-ally and executive chairman of a Russian oil company who is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for “illegitimate and unlawful actions in the Ukraine,” Yahoo News said.
Trump said Page was one of his foreign policy advisers in March interview with the Washington Post editorial board, while the campaign has downplayed his involvement. Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks described as Page as an “informal advisor” who did not speak for the campaign last month, while spokesman Jason Miller said he had “no role” in the campaign in response to a Yahoo News inquiry this week.