The Washington Post reports: As Donald Trump surged in the Republican primary polls in the early months of 2016, his outsider campaign faced growing pressure to show that the former reality-TV star and noted provocateur was forming a coherent and credible world view.
So when Carter Page, an international businessman with an office near Trump Tower, turned up at campaign headquarters, former officials recall, Trump aides were quick to make him feel welcome.
A top Trump adviser, Sam Clovis, employed what campaign aides now acknowledge was their go-to vetting process — a quick Google search — to check out the newcomer. He seemed to have the right qualifications, according to former campaign officials — head of an energy investment firm, business degree from New York University, doctorate from the University of London.
Page was in. He joined a new Trump campaign national security advisory group, and, in late March 2016, the candidate pointed to Page, among others, as evidence of a foreign policy team with gravitas.
But what the Google search had not shown was that Page had been on the FBI’s radar since at least 2013, when Russian officials allegedly attempted to use him to get information about the energy business.
By the summer of 2016, Page, who had been recently named as a Trump adviser, was under surveillance by FBI agents who suspected he may have been acting as an agent of the Kremlin. [Continue reading…]