In the past week Donald Trump has seen the arrest of his campaign chairman and another campaign adviser, the guilty plea of a third adviser, and the imminent arrest of a fourth adviser. He might be wondering if his Trump-Russia scandal can find a way to get even worse for him. It turns out the answer is yes – very much so – based on the newly released transcript of Carter Page’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
Trump campaign adviser Carter Page testified privately before the House Intelligence Committee late last week. Now the transcript of that testimony has been released publicly. Page admitted to Congress that he met with Russian government officials during his summer 2016 trip to Moscow, and that Russia paid for his trip (link). This means Page is a paid foreign agent of Russia. It’s not clear if he broke the law in the process, as being a paid foreign agent is only illegal if your compensation is above a certain amount and you fail to report it. What is clear is that Page just incriminated Donald Trump and Hope Hicks.
Hope Hicks is a key adviser who has worked closely alongside Donald Trump during the campaign and during the administration. Carter Page told Congress that he informed Hicks of his trip to Moscow at the time. This is crucial, because a few months later, Hicks flat out asserted that “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign” (source: link). Lying to the media is not a crime in and of itself, unless it obstructs justice. However, by that time, multiple major media outlets had reported that there was a federal investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. If Page is telling the truth, it would suggest that Hicks obstructed justice by lying. It gets worse.
Carter Page would have run his Moscow trip past Hope Hicks because he wanted the approval of someone who had Donald Trump’s ear. If Hicks ran the Page trip past Donald Trump, it would mean Trump went on to obstruct justice each time he publicly claimed that he had no knowledge of any contacts between his campaign and Russia. Hicks is set to meet with Special Counsel Robert Mueller roughly ten days from now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report