On July 7–9, 2016, Carter Page traveled to Moscow for 3 days and gave two speeches at the New Economic School. In the speech, Page criticized the United States and other Western nations for a “hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change” in Russia and in other parts of the former Soviet Union. Source
Page later testified that, after Donald Trump identified him as a member of his foreign policy team, the director of the New Economic School invited him to make this speech, with the school funding his travel and lodging. Page indicated that because he was concerned about allegations or concerns about Russia at the time, he made several Trump Campaign officials aware he was making the trip, including Jeff Sessions, Sam Clovis, J.D. Gordon, Corey Lewandowski, and Hope Hicks. He provided the campaign with a draft of his speech and solicited direction about his speech’s focus. Page further stated that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski authorized him to make the trip. Source
Page testified that during this trip, he met people from Gazprom, and also with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Rosneft, at a social event arranged by Morgan Stanley. Page had known Baranov from Page’s previous work at Morgan Stanley with Gazprom, where Baranov was employed at the time. While Page falsely indicated that Baranov was a low-level employee at Gazprom, who had moved up after joining Rosneft, in fact, Baranov held a similar position while he was at Gazprom. Source
After he returned to the US, Page emailed Trump campaign officials J.D. Gordon and Tera Dahl, and promised to convey to them “incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here.” In another email to the campaign, Page wrote, “In a private conversation, [Deputy Prime Minister Arkady] Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems.” Source Page would later falsely claim that he had “no meetings” with Russian officials in 2016. Source
In September 2016, after the allegations about Carter Page meeting with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin in Moscow (see below) became public, Page announced he was taking a “leave of absence” from the Trump campaign. Source
After Page left the Trump campaign, in October 2016, the FBI obtained a 90-day FISA warrant (since, renewed more than once) to monitor him, based on a belief that he was acting as an agent of the Russian government, and that he knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on their behalf. Source
In December 2016, immediately following Rosneft’s sale of a 19.5% stake to unknown private investors Source (machine translation) Source2, Carter Page again traveled to Moscow. Source While there, he gave another speech at the New Economic School, complaining that “fake news” had hurt US–Russian relations. Source Page testified that during this trip, he met Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Rosneft, and a banker from Merrill Lynch, for lunch. Page also met Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich at a dinner. Page further testified that on the same trip, he also stopped for several days in London, UK, where he met with a business partner, Russian national Sergey Yatsenko, and the Ambassador from Kazakhstan, to discuss an ongoing privatization process in Kazakhstan, which they believed to be a business opportunity. Source
With the FISA warrant issued in October, it seems fairly likely that if Page’s December trip to Moscow were related to the subject conspiracy, then the FBI would have obtained key intelligence at this time.
On July 7 or 8, 2016, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin held a secret meeting with Trump’s foreign affairs advisor Carter Page, where Sechin discussed issues of future bilateral energy cooperation, and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia. Page reacted positively but was generally non-committal.
Sechin offered Page and Trump’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19% (privatized) stake in Rosneft in return for the lifting of personal and corporate western sanctions imposed on Rosneft. Page expressed interest and confirmed that, if Trump were elected President, the sanctions on Russia would be lifted. Page implied to Sechin that he was speaking with Trump’s authority.
During that trip, Carter Page also secretly met with Igor Divyekin in the Internal Political Department. Divyekin told Page that the Kremlin possessed a dossier of ‘kompromat’ on Hillary Clinton and said it could be released to the Trump campaign.
Divyekin may also have hinted or indicated (threatened?) to Carter Page that the Kremlin possessed ‘kompromat’ on Trump.
Comments/Corroboration of Steele Dossier
Public information very closely aligns with the details of the events as alleged in the Steele Dossier. Further, actions taken by the Trump campaign, Rosneft, Russian hackers, Wikileaks, and others all conform to the terms of the alleged deal. The only thing missing, really, is direct evidence of the parties explicitly making the agreement.
US Intelligence officials have confirmed that allegations that Page met with senior Russian officials close to Putin on this trip were being “actively monitored and investigated.” Source
Page’s second trip in December is especially difficult to explain outside of the alleged conspiracy involving Rosneft. Page has said his life was ruined after the claims in the Steele dossier were published, beginning as early as late July, 2016. Yet he nevertheless decided to visit Moscow and meet with senior government officials and executives at Rosneft. The process of privatizing the large Rosneft stake was public news, and Page’s trip took place one day after Rosneft finalized the sale of its 19.5% stake. , which was what is alleged to have been the subject of Page’s July meeting.
Regarding the Rosneft stake: the timing of meetings between Trump campaign leaders and Rosneft officials is very tight with the sale, and Trump officials have repeatedly lied to conceal these meetings. The parties to the Rosneft sale made false statements about the identity of who made the purchase and took steps to conceal the true parties’ identities. The value of the stake actually sold (19.5%) also lines up with the alleged payment of the brokerage fee on a 19% sale, as alleged in the Steele dossier.
On April 27, 2016, the Center for National Interest hosted an event at the Mayflower Hotel, with Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions attending. (source) Additional attendees included Bud McFarlane (source), Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (source), Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio (source machine translation), and the Singapore Ambassador. Source Trump gave a speech written largely by Richard Burt, Republican lobbyist for Russian natural gas pipeline New European Pipeline AG. Source
If the Steele dossier’s allegations are true, the Mayflower event was likely either where the Rosneft deal originated, or at least partially negotiated. These parties all appear to have involvement in this deal with Rosneft.
On December 7, 2016, Igor Sechin announced that Russia completed the sale of a 19.5% stake in Russian oil company Rosneft for US$11 billion, to Qatar and commodities trader Glencore. Because the money from the sale went to the Russian state, rather than to Rosneft, US sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine did not apply. Source
Rosneft claimed the buyer was a 50/50 joint venture between Qatar and Glencore. However, public records show the ownership went to a Cayman Islands company whose owners cannot be traced, and a Singapore investment vehicle, funded partly by a loan from Italian bank SanPaolo, and partly by Qatar. Because they used the Cayman Islands company, it is not possible to determine from public records who now owns that 19.5% stake of Rosneft, or who was the source of substantial other, undisclosed funding. Source
On December 8, 2016, Carter Page traveled once again to Moscow. Russian government-controlled news agency TASS reported that, in an interview with Page, he confirmed that he met with some of the top managers of Rosneft, but not with Igor Sechin. Source (machine translation)
Regarding the sanctions: when this document was prepared, the sanctions were still in place, but Trump has made attempts to obstruct or lift them and still appears to wish to do so. Trump additionally has delayed implementation of new sanctions imposed on Russia since he entered office.
On December 29, 2016, President Obama imposed additional sanctions on Russia for its election interference. Sergey Kislyak was summoned to the US State Dept. and briefed on the new sanctions. Kislyak was irate and threatened a forceful Russian response. Kislyak left and called Michael Flynn, in a call recorded by US intelligence. Flynn urged Russia not to respond, saying relations would improve once Trump was in office, and implying that Trump would lift the sanctions. Source
In January 2017, almost immediately after taking office, Trump administration officials pressed State Department staffers to develop plans to remove sanctions against Russia. The State Dept. coordinator of sanctions Dan Fried responded to objections from State officials and contacted Congress to attempt to have the sanctions codified, to complicate Trump efforts to lift them. Another State Dept. official, Tom Malinowski, also alarmed, brought up the issue with Congress. Source
In August 2017, after Congress passed legislation with a veto-proof majority imposing further sanctions on Russia, Trump signed the bill despite expressing his disagreement with it. The bill required the Trump administration to spell out what entities belonged to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors, and would be subject to the sanctions, within 60 days; Trump failed to do so and missed the deadline. Source