At least six people close to Trump almost certainly knew about offers from Russians of dirt on Clinton

at least six members of Trump’s broader team knew about offers of dirt from Russians during that campaign — and, depending on how that information was shared, as many as 10 may have, including Trump.

.. Torshin-Trump Jr. In May, a former member of the Russian parliament named Aleksandr Torshin made repeated efforts to contact Donald Trump Jr., the candidate’s son. He sent multiple emails hoping to set up a meeting with Trump Jr. when both were at a National Rifle Association convention in Kentucky. The two met briefly at a dinner associated with that event. It is not clear whether Torshin had any information to offer Trump Jr.

.. Agalarov-Veselnitskaya-Trump Jr.-Manafort-Kushner.

.. It is apparent that Agalarov and Trump Jr. almost certainly spoke on the phone multiple times before that meeting and that Trump Jr. informed both Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort of what was being offered.

.. The question is whether any of those three also informed Trump. There is good reason to think he knew. The night that the meeting time was set up, following calls between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner — and the day after Trump Jr. had a call with a blocked number before agreeing to the meeting — Trump told reporters, “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”

When that dirt did not materialize, the speech about Clinton the following Monday did not either.

.. Dvorkovich-Page.

.. This is noteworthy not only because of the connection between Page and a senior government official but because of what other reports suggest about Page’s time in Russia. Specifically, the controversial dossier of reports compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele includes a report from mid-July alleging that Page met with a Russian official who “rais[ed] a dossier of ‘kompromat’ ” — compromising material — “the Kremlin possessed on TRUMP’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary CLINTON, and its possible release to the Republican’s campaign team.”

.. WikiLeaks-Trump Jr. The following month, Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks exchanged private messages on Twitter. None of those messages suggest Trump Jr. and the organization coordinated the released of information damaging to Clinton. But the exchange occurred shortly before WikiLeaks began releasing the emails stolen from Podesta in early October.

.. So we are confident the following people were offered or told about information allegedly incriminating Clinton:

  • George Papadopoulos
  • Roger Stone
  • Michael Caputo
  • Donald Trump Jr.
  • Jared Kushner
  • Paul Manafort

It is possible that the following other people knew about or received similar offers, too:

  • Stephen Miller
  • Carter Page
  • J.D. Gordon (if Page was offered dirt)
  • Donald Trump

Trump’s argument has long been that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. That claim increasingly depends on how one defines “collusion.”

At least six people close to Trump almost certainly knew about offers from Russians of dirt on Clinton

Roger Stone, means that at least six members of Trump’s broader team knew about offers of dirt from Russians during that campaign — and, depending on how that information was shared, as many as 10 may have, including Trump.

.. Papadopoulos sent an email to Trump adviser Stephen Miller the day after Mifsud reached out to him, telling Miller he had some “interesting messages” coming in from Moscow.

.. Trump’s argument has long been that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. That claim increasingly depends on how one defines “collusion.”

How Carter Page got tangled up in the Russian web

The sharpest rebuttal to Trump came from Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee. He told Fox News that after talking with intelligence officials about the probe, “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.”

.. the Kremlin can be very aggressive indeed in trying to cultivate Americans. This counterintelligence primer never seems to have been offered to members of the Trump campaign.

..  he had a “private conversation” with then-Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. He also wrote in a July 8, 2016, email to two campaign staff members that he received “incredible insights and outreach” from senior Russian officials.

.. In 2013, Russian intelligence allegedly made a run at Page. The story is outlined in the 2015 indictment of three Russian intelligence officers, which includes a transcript of FBI surveillance of Victor Podobnyy, a Russian U.N. team member who was actually an intelligence officer

.. his plan was to “feed [Page] empty promises” and “get documents from him.”

.. Even Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee concluded in their final majority report that Page “was already a subject of interest for the FBI” when he became a Trump adviser in March 2016.

..Page is the type of susceptible and ambitious individual with impressionable views broadly aligned with the Russian government’s worldview who would be a prime target of the Russian intelligence services.

Former Trump Aide Carter Page Was on U.S. Counterintelligence Radar Before Russia Dossier

Court documents, testimony show foreign-policy adviser was known to authorities as early as 2013

Carter Page, who served as a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, was known to U.S. counterintelligence officials for years before he became a prominent figure in a dossier of unverified research about the future president’s ties to Russia.

What prompted the FBI to suspect that Mr. Page was acting as an agent of Russia?
.. the former Trump aide has been known to U.S. counterintelligence officials dating back to at least 2013, nearly three years before he joined the Trump campaign.
.. Mr. Page’s dealings with Russia date back to more than a decade before Mr. Trump ran for president and his opponents began crafting the dossier.For three years, starting in 2004, Mr. Page was living in Moscow, where he opened an office for the investment banking firm Merrill Lynch & Co. He also served as an adviser on “key transactions” involving the Russian state-owned energy company PAO Gazprom and RAO UES, the Russian state-controlled electricity monopoly, according to Mr. Page’s biography.
.. In January 2013, Mr. Page was in New York at an Asia Society event on China and energy development, when he met Victor Podobnyy, a junior attaché at the Russian consulate in New York City who was in the audience
..  March 2013, Mr. Page met with Mr. Podobnyy again over coffee or a Coke, he told the House panel in his testimony. Mr. Page, asked why he had sought out Mr. Podobnyy a second time, said he wanted to practice his Russian.
.. He was interviewed by FBI counterintelligence agent Gregory Monaghan and another FBI agent, who were investigating whether Mr. Podobnyy was a Russian intelligence agent
.. In 2015, Mr. Podobnyy was charged with posing as a U.N. attaché under diplomatic cover while trying to recruit Mr. Page as a Russian intelligence source.
.. The criminal complaint filed by U.S. federal prosecutors alleged Mr. Podobnyy was an agent for the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. The complaint also detailed Mr. Podobnyy’s discussion in April 2013 with Igor Sporyshev, a second alleged SVR agent posing as a Russian trade representative, about efforts to recruit “a male working as a consultant in New York City.” Mr. Podobnyy was afforded diplomatic immunity and left the country.
.. Mr. Page had provided the Russians with documents, which Mr. Page said were “nothing more than a few samples from the more detailed lectures” he was preparing for a course he was teaching at New York University at the time.
.. Over the course of the campaign, Mr. Page traveled to Russia at least twice and kept top Trump campaign advisers abreast of his travels
.. In the speech, he criticized the U.S. and European states for their behavior toward states of the former Soviet Union for their “often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
.. He declined to answer questions after the speech about U.S. politics, saying that the purpose of his speech was academic, and refused to meet with reporters, leaving the auditorium through an exit backstage.
.. Mr. Page told the House that while in Moscow, he “briefly said hello” to Arkady Dvorkovich, deputy prime minister of Russia, and met with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Russian oil giant PAO Rosneft... Before hiring Mr. Steele, the firm’s research had been paid for by a conservative news outlet that opposed Mr. Trump. 
.. Mr. Page’s name surfaced repeatedly in the fall of 2016 in classified briefings given to high-level members of Congress, according to people familiar with the matter. That was around the same time the FBI and the Justice Department were applying for a surveillance warrant against Mr. Page in the FISA court.