Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page touted his credentials as an adviser to the Russian Kremlin in 2013, according to a letter obtained by TIME. The letter was sent by Page to academic press about an unpublished manuscript.
“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” Page reportedly wrote.
The FBI has been investigating Page’s connections with the Russian government for one and a half years. Page is at the center of a controversial memo that has plunged the White House and some House Republicans into a heated battle with the FBI as well as the Justice Department. Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee released a memo last week alleging abuses in the FBI’s obtaining of FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Page was the subject of those warrants. The FBI disputes those claims.
It has been reported that the nexus of the FBI’s interest in the campaign was a conversation about alleged Russian interference between another Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopolous and an Australian diplomat. That diplomat, in turn, notified American authorities of the potential wrongdoing.
The 2016 presidential election is not the first time the FBI has shown interest in Page. In 2013, the FBI busted up a Russian spy ring that was operating in New York City. Russian spies, working under diplomatic cover, were attempting to recruit Americans to pass along government secrets to Russians. Specifically information about sanctions that were to be imposed on Russian businesses and individuals.
During the course of the investigation the FBI was able to record several conversations the spies were having. One of the conversations, according to court filings, detailed the potential success they felt they were having in recruiting one particular American to their efforts. That American was identified as Carter Page.