The hashtag #CarterPage soared as high as the fourth-top United States Twitter trend Tuesday morning, the day after a full transcript of the bizarre, rambling but bombshell-filled testimony by former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was released to the public and posted online.
Page testified to the House Intelligence Committee last Thursday. The full text of Page's seven-hour testimony, all 243 pages of it, can be read below, embedded into this article. For readers who want to scan Page's testimony for specific names or passages, a text-searchable version of the transcript can be accessed by visiting this link.
Page appeared in a closed session before the House committee and did not bring a lawyer to advise him. Perhaps as a result — following a lengthy opening statement in which Page outlined an elaborate conspiracy theory positing a campaign to destroy him led personally by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — Page offered several stunning revelations, some of which appeared to confirm portions of the "Steele Dossier."
The dossier is a private intelligence document assembled by former high-ranking British spy Christopher Steele, detailing deep personal and business ties between Trump and Russia. Though most notorious for the "pee tape" story, the dossier also names Page as an emissary between Trump and Russia in brokering an $11 billion sale of shares in Russian state-run oil giant Rosneft that may have been intended as a bribe to Trump in exchange for easing sanctions on Russia once he became president. (For an explanation of the "pee tape" story, see the article at this link.)
Page traveled to Moscow in July of last year, a trip that he had formerly maintained was made merely for a speaking engagement. The 46-year-old Page, who was named in March of 2016 by Trump to the then-candidate's foreign policy advisory team, previously denied meeting with Rosneft officials on his trip.
But under questioning from California Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Page admitted that he had indeed met with the Russian oil company's head of "investor relations," Andrey Baranov.
Schiff asked Page whether he had discussed "a potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft" with Baranov — and shockingly, Page admitted that he had, saying that Baranov "may have briefly mentioned it."
Read the entire transcript of Page's testimony that got the #CarterPage hashtag trending on Twitter, below.
Experts were left puzzled by Page's strangely confessional testimony, in which he dropped several bombshells while repeatedly denying any wrongdoing. But one such expert, former FBI agent Clinton Watts, noted on his Twitter account, "When reviewing (the) Carter Page testimony, remember 'Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump' in 2013."
The contact between Page and "Russian spies" was first noted in a New York Times report from April of this year, an article which may be read at this link.
Other revelations from Page's testimony included:
• Page admitted coordinating his July 2016 Russia trip with Trump campaign officials, an allegation which he had previously denied.
In fact, Page not only said that he cleared his trip with Trump's then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and also informed the campaign's chief national security adviser then-senator Jeff Sessions — now the United States Attorney General — but he added that upon his return, he sent a memo to the campaign officials detailing his meetings with Russian government officials.
Page also notified Hope Hicks, the 28-year-old former model whose was somehow named White House communications director by Trump, despite no prior political experience. Hicks is widely rumored to be especially close to Trump, who refers to her as "Hopester" and "Hopie," and is thought to have a direct line of communication to Trump. In fact, Hicks is sometimes referred to as "the Trump whisperer."
Why Page would have notified Hicks of his Russia activities remains unclear.
• Page encouraged Trump to visit Russia personally during the campaign. Though Page said that he brought the idea of a visit to Russia by Trump up only with other campaign advisers and not with Trump himself, the suggestion makes him the second member of Trump's small foreign policy team during the campaign to push him to go to Russia.
George Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's Russia ties, also suggested that Trump visit Russia — where he would meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
• Page took the Fifth Amendment — for questionable reasons. When he refused to turn over certain documents to the committee, Schiff asked Page if those documents would incriminate him — the reason why a witness may invoke the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination. But Page said that none of the documents would incriminate him, leaving Schiff flummoxed, and questioning whether Page was using "a proper invocation of the Fifth Amendment."
[Featured Images by Evan Vucci/Pavel Golovkin/AP Images]