The Trump Russia scandal continues to plague the White House and the Trump Administration, and appears to be snowballing by the minute. Although there are many questions Americans want answered on the scandal, at the center of the current chatter on Trump Russia relations is the question, who knew what and talked to who when? Politico reported that last night, Anderson Cooper interviewed Carter Page, a Trump adviser during the campaign, in the hopes of getting some of those answers.
It is clear the Trump Russia scandal is multi-pronged and better understood by examining the key players connected to Donald Trump, and how they have been connected to the Trump Russia scandal by this association.
The matter of undisclosed contact between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador this week has been the biggest scandal this week in the Trump Russia controversy. It has led to calls by the Democrats for the attorney general’s resignation. This scandal followed the previous scandal of General Michael Flynn’s resignation. Donald Trump has been in office for 44 days.
We now know that both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and General Flynn had contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and both said they didn’t. There are at least five other names, in addition to these two, that are reportedly connected to Trump and his Russia connections, or are names that keep coming up. They are Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Felix Sater, and Carter Page.
Last night, Anderson Cooper interviewed one of them, Carter Page. It was a difficult interview because Carter Page appeared to be obfuscating on terminology rather than focusing on simply answering the questions. Anderson Cooper said repeatedly on many of his questions, “That sounds like you were misleading.”
When asked if he had ever met Donald Trump, or Sergey Kislyak, Carter Page tried to break down the word “meeting.” As for Donald Trump, Carter Page says he’s never “met” him, unless you count attending campaign rallies. Anderson Cooper identified then that this would mean millions of Americans can say they had meetings with Donald Trump. Carter Page then said he was using the word “meeting” in the Russian context, which Anderson Cooper clarified by saying, “You’re saying you were using the Russian definition of meetings?”
He also does not call the campaign a campaign, but calls it a “movement.” Donald Trump Jr. has also called the Trump campaign a movement. It is this sort of obfuscation on definitions that Carter Page walked around, and not successfully, with his interview with Anderson Cooper. The full interview can be seen below.
If Carter Page is called into testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, this kind of obfuscation will work against him. Here’s what we know about Carter Page.
The Independent reported through MSN that Page is an oil industry consultant that was considered a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, or, “movement.” In July, a meeting was allegedly held between Page and Igor Sechin, a long time Vladimir Putin ally and head of a state run oil company.
Carter Page also had reportedly met with Russian internal affairs official, Igor Divyekin. That meeting was allegedly regarding an alleged dossier that Moscow had on Donald Trump that contained compromising material. We now know that there is an alleged Trump dossier that Buzzfeed published in its entirety, although it has not been verified. Carter Page’s name is mentioned on almost every single page of that dossier.
But he denies meeting Donald Trump ever in person, beyond rallies. The New York Times reported that Carter Page was also in Moscow as recently as December.
Vox reported that Carter Page’s association with Donald Trump “ended rapidly” and it is unclear why. Carter Page stepped away from “the movement” in September 2016, at precisely the same time that stories of Russia and Trump began to pick up steam in the media.
Paul Manafort is another name that many Americans are already familiar with. He resigned from “the movement” in the summer. He stated the reasons were undisclosed. However Paul Manafort’s resignation occurred exactly five days after the New York Times reported that he received kickback payments from the Ukraine last year, to the tune of twelve million dollars.
Paul Manafort also helped pro-Putin Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych get elected. He is also mentioned multiple times in the dossier published by Buzzfeed, written by British spy Christopher Steele. Christopher Steele has gone into hiding since the dossier was published.
And, although Paul Manafort was fired, or, forced to resign from the Trump “movement,” he still is in close contact with Donald Trump, and held meetings with Trump as recently as December according to Vox. Paul Manafort is reportedy being investigated by the FBI.
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, may be as well. He is connected to the General Flynn scandal, as new reports surfaced that a letter detailing a plan to lift sanctions on Russia was personally delivered to the White House by Michael Cohen, and left on General Flynn’s desk. This happened shortly before General Flynn resigned.
Michael Cohen is also mentioned in the Trump Russia dossier of compromising material. It is alleged that Cohen met secretly with the Kremlin in Prague in August to discuss the Paul Manafort situation, and to “clean up the mess” according to Raw Story. The dossier alleges that Michael Cohen was also involved in the plan to pay off hackers involved with the election, and to “quickly move them underground in case Hillary Clinton won.”
Michael Cohen has denied this, and says his passport shows otherwise, that he was not in Prague at the time in question. Investigative journalist Louise Mensch however has done some work on Michael Cohen’s trips in question. In her blog “Patribotics” she writes a detailed explanation on “Michael Cohen’s Amazing Journey” where she provides a detailed analysis on where Michael Cohen was, and when that happened.
All of her verified reporting conflicts with Michael Cohen’s conflicting statements on his whereabouts. Michael Cohen has made multiple conflicting statements about the Trump Russia scandal. He alleges he was not in Prague during the time and dates in question, and that he was in California visiting his son.
Some sources in California have even confirmed this. The dates he alleges he was in California are August 23 to 25. But Louise Mensch discusses how geo-tracking on a tweet by Michael Cohen shows him at the Newark, New Jersey airport in the time in question.
— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) February 26, 2017
Whether Michael Cohen was in Prague or not remains to be seen. He is allegedly currently under investigation by the FBI for this matter and other Trump Russia related matters, although he denies this.
— Progressive Man ???? (@WeNeededHillary) February 22, 2017
Next on the key players list of the Trump Russia scandal is Roger Stone. Roger Stone is an infamous Trump ally, and worked on “the movement” through the summer. At least he did until he quietly left “the movement” for unknown reasons.
This occurred right around the time as the Trump Russia reports began making it into every day campaign conversation. The Independent reported that Roger Stone is “one of at least four people” the FBI is investigating relative to the Trump Russia scandal.
Roger Stone has an alleged connection with Julian Assange, the whistleblower who is co-founder of Wiki Leaks. In a 2016 speech in Florida, Roger Stone said that leaks were coming. He clarified this on Twitter by saying, “Soon it will be Podesta’s time in the barrel.”
Roger Stone tweet in Aug following Republicans making July 18 Russia change to platform during Convention, only change requested by Trump. pic.twitter.com/qmeluwvS9P
— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) March 3, 2017
John Podesta was the chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Soon after Stone’s tweet, Podesta’s email was hacked and his emails became the subject of multiple Wiki Leaks dumps. They revealed no compromising information.
Roger Stone has also recently met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower. Roger Stone has also called the FBI investigation into the Trump Russia scandal a “witch hunt.” So has Donald Trump.
Another key player that is less talked about on social media and in the press is Felix Sater. He is a Russian born man, and a known FBI informant who leveraged information to reduce his own sentencing on an unrelated financial crime reported Talking Points Memo. Felix Sater is mentioned in the Steele dossier.
Sater came to the United States at the age of eight, an immigrant to America with his family. He became a stockbroker, but has a long rap sheet in the United States, one that includes assault by stabbing and a prison record. When he came out of prison for the stabbing, he then became involved in securities fraud connected to Genovese and Columbo crime families.
That is when he became an informant to both the FBI and the CIA, allegedly. He was working with the CIA regarding the purchase of stinger missiles on the Russian black market. Talking Points Memo refers to Sater as an asset with “high value to the United States government.”
Sater’s connection in his fraud scheme within organized crime families involves an accomplice named Salvatore Lauria. Salvatore Lauria worked with Donald Trump on a SoHo building project in 2006.
In a videotaped deposition in 2013, Donald Trump said he does not know Felix Sater well. Donald Trump has also said that he has no business connections in Russia.
Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t know Felix Sater well, but his children might. Judicial Watch reported that in 2006, Felix Sater escorted Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to Moscow to pursue more than $2 billion dollars in Russian deals, for Mr. Trump.
The name of the company that worked with Trump for the SoHo hotel was Bayrock, announced in 2006. This would be the same time that Felix Sater was working as a high value asset to the FBI and CIA. The other connection in this SoHo triangle, a Mr. Lauria, had three additional projects on his agenda at the time. They were with an Iceland firm who was “in favor with President Vladimir Putin” according to Talking Points Memo.
Judicial Watch says that the next project Felix Sater was allegedly working on with Donald Trump was a Trump Tower in Moscow in the fall of 2015. That project reportedly came to a halt when Donald Trump announced his “movement” to become president.
.These AREEEEE the #TrumpRussia ties:
How is anyone confused? #resist
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 28, 2017
.More #trumprussia ties:
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 28, 2017
Scott Dworkin, author of the Dworkin Report has prepared a list of more names with alleged connections to the Trump Russia scandal.
Watch the entirety of last night’s interview between Anderson Cooper and Carter Page here.
We are not able to independently confirm if any of the alleged key players of the Trump Russia scandal, such as Carter Page, are being investigated by the FBI. The FBI will not comment on open investigations. Each of these alleged key players however has presented conflicting reports on basic questions, all of which are likely to be addressed should Senate Intelligence Hearings become a future stage of the Trump Russia scandal.
[Feature Image by Pavel Golovkin/AP Images]