U.S. Expels Russian Spy Who Tried to Recruit Ex-Trump Aide

U.S. Expels Russian Spy Who Tried to Recruit Ex-Trump Aide

U.S. Expels Russian Spy Who Tried to Recruit Ex-Trump Aide

Reports emerged Monday that a former adviser to President Trump's election campaign met Podobnyy three years before the 2016 race.

The adviser, Carter Page, met with a Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobnyy, who was later charged by the United States government alongside two others for acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government.

Page "wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back", Podobnyy told Sporyshev, according to the transcripts obtained by BuzzFeed.

Page is one of a number of Trump-affiliated figures whose potential ties to Russian intelligence have been under scrutiny by Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. "Buryakov operated under non-official cover, meaning he entered and remained in the United States as a private citizen, posing as an employee in the NY office of a Russian bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB)". Several Russian banks - but not VEB - have been lobbying to lift or ease the sanctions since they were imposed.

Page - from whom Trump's transition team disassociated itself earlier this year - said the role he played was to provide "assistance to the US federal investigation". "I think he needs to explain himself", Graham told the Today Show on March 28. "He got hooked on Gazprom thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up", Podobnyy said. "I also promised him a lot".

Page acknowledged to ABC News in a separate interview Monday that he that he is the individual identified as "Male-1" in a 2015 court document submitted in a case that led to the indictment of three men accused of being Russian spies. "While Page's interactions with Podobnyy are a clear example of contact with a Russian spy, Page said in a statement that he believed Podobnyy was" a junior attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations".

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In response to the Post story, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said "we are not aware of any meetings" and a Prince spokesman said the meeting "had nothing to do with President Trump".

The 2015 court document also charged two other Russians, Evgeny Buryakov and Igor Sporyshev, as part of the conspiracy. "For now his enthusiasm works for me", Podobnyy said, adding later that "I will feed [Page] empty promises".

But in January, after Page was identified by The New York Times as being among people the Federal Bureau of Investigation was "examining" for his ties to Russia, White House Press Secretary declared: "Carter Page is an individual the president-elect does not know".

The court filing says Page met Podobnyy at an energy conference, and over the course of six months emailed and "provided documents to [Podobnyy] about the energy business".

A couple months after requesting the DOJ's help in combatting Clinton's "hate crimes" against him, however, Page now says the DOJ has been out to get him.

Page - an energy consultant with strong business ties to Russia but little name recognition in foreign policy circles - was named an adviser to Trump's campaign in early 2016 but was axed amid reports of a federal probe into his potential communications with Russian senior officials.

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