U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly taking a closer look at the possibility of one of Donald Trump's foreign policy advisers secretly meeting with senior Russian officials about lifting economic sanctions if Trump was elected president, Yahoo News reports. The alleged meetings occurred before cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee heightened U.S. suspicions of Russia trying to influence the American election.
Carter Page, who has an office in Trump Tower and has been named by the Republican nominee as a foreign policy adviser, works at a New York-based consulting firm that "specializes in oil and gas deals in Russia and other Central Asian countries," Yahoo News reports. He has also advised and invested in the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom and accused the Obama administration's economic sanctions of driving down its stock.
The activities of ... Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election ... sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and "high ranking sanctioned individuals" in Moscow over the summer as evidence of "significant and disturbing ties" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.
Some of those briefed were "taken aback" when they learned about Page’s contacts in Moscow, viewing them as a possible back channel to the Russians that could undercut U.S. foreign policy, said a congressional source familiar with the briefings but who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser's talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being "actively monitored and investigated." [Yahoo News]
Page, for his part, did not comment to Yahoo News about the allegations. Read the full story here.