U.S. Intelligence Investigating Trump Adviser For Secretly Working With Russia

I routinely mock the Teflon Don for his ties with Russia, but it’s not a laughing game anymore. U.S. intelligence officials are now looking into the Trump campaign to see if there are any ties with Russia. In particular, they’re zeroing in on a member of Trump’s foreign policy team, Carter Page.

Page has, reportedly, opened up private communications with top Russian officials — just in case you thought the stuff with Paul Manafort and the pro-Putin party in the Ukraine wasn’t shady enough.

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“Informal adviser”

Most people, when they want to organize a team to accomplish something, will bring their best A-team. They’ll find people who know what they’re talking about, and they’ll bring in folks with experience.

The Muscovian candidate is not like you or me. See, Spray-tan Hitler is dumber than his namesake and is surrounding himself with people who lack even the most rudimentary level of insight into the world. And nowhere is this more obvious than on the issue of foreign policy.

Why’s that? Well, consider this: Joesph Schmitz, one of his foreign policy advisers, made the “Number One Hit’s List” twice now this year — once for claiming that the ovens weren’t big enough to fit six million Jewish people, and again for a previous case where he claimed Turkey was working with a Native American tribe to construct a nuclear weapon.

And that’s just one guy. Other members include General Michael Flynn, who was forced to walk back from sharing an anti-Semitic tweet, and apparently Michelle Bachmann, who needs nor warrants an introduction. And, of course, himself — Trump named himself his primary consultant on issues of foreign policy, lest we all forget that was a thing that happened.

So his foreign policy team sports stellar credentials, clearly. Thus, it should surprise exactly nobody to learn yet another member of that team of second string D-listers is under the microscope, this time for alleged connections with Russia.

At this point, I’m surprised that these connections haven’t come up more often. Remember Paul Manafort? He was forced to step down when the media began digging into his connection with a pro-Putin party in the Ukraine — an exiled pro-Putin party, at that.

The foreign policy adviser under the scrutiny of U.S. intelligence officials, though, isn’t Schmitz or Flynn. It’s a relative unknown named Carter Page. Page was included on the list of foreign policy advisers that Trump released in March, and is a former banker with Merrill Lynch.

“Banker” alone raises hackles; in a 2011 poll, banks rated at a full 23% popularity. That was still higher than congress then — and now (although the usual caveats for polls apply here: it’s only relative to the population polled and I can’t back the methodology of the poll up, added to the fact it’s five years old, so take this number with a grain of salt).

But he’s not just a banker — see, he was a banker with Merrill Lynch in Moscow and has extensive business connections to the country. Extensive enough to warrant a probe into whether Page has opened private communication channels with top Russian officials, including talks about lifting economic sanctions.

Nothing like the smell of backroom dealings in the morning. In the words of the Hill, “According to multiple sources briefed on the issue, Page’s Russian dealings have been the topic of congressional briefings. ”

The attempts to memory hole Page have already started: in August, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told Reuters that Page was an “informal adviser.” If this seems to conflict with Page being listed as a foreign policy adviser, it’s got nothing on what spokesman Steven Cheung told the Hill on Friday — specifically, that Page has “no role.”

And, when asked about the report, Trump’s communication director Jason Miller told the Hill that Page has “never been a part of our campaign. Period.” He continued:

“Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign. I’ve never spoken to him, and wouldn’t recognize him if he were sitting next to me.”

He’s an “informal adviser” who plays “no role” that was listed by the campaign as a foreign policy adviser. Sure, that makes sense. Even Miller himself had no explanation when asked why Page was categorized as an adviser in the past. In fact, he didn’t even respond, according to the Hill report.

Although for all I know, it might make sense. Trump may have demoted Page at some point in the past — who among is privy to the inner workings of that trainwreck of a campaign? It’s not really my job to tell my readers how they’re supposed to think, and I should hope nobody feels that way.  However, “informal adviser” or not, it can’t be denied that in the wake of Manafort, Trump’s campaign has some really suspicious ties to Russia that should be scrutinized rather thoroughly.

And, if we’re being completely honest, Trump isn’t fit to run the midnight shift at a 7-Eleven, leave off a country. But some levels of honest are just frowned on in the real world.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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