The New York Times has a story today on how a Carter Page visit to Moscow initiated the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign:
WASHINGTON — Ever since F.B.I. investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Mr. Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention.
That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.
I’m prepared to believe the worst of Page, but if he is at the center of this scandal, it is likely to be a nothing-burger. He was the very definition of a marginal player in the Trump campaign, and that probably over-states it. Per Business Insider, this is how Page has described to the Senate his role in the campaign, obviously trying to pump it up, none too impressively:
“For your information, I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year,” Page wrote. “As a sister skyscraper in Manhattan, my office at the IBM Building (590 Madison Avenue) is literally connected to the Trump Tower building by an atrium.”
This is not to say there won’t be embarrassing revelations about the likes of Carter Page and (especially) Paul Manafort, but so far we haven’t seen anything even close to the goods.