Documentaries & Non-Fiction Series / News

Politicon 2018: Carter Page Crashes the “Active Measures” Panel

Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon

The second I saw Carter Page enter the theater, I knew the question and answer portion of the panel would get interesting. But before I get to that, I want to make sure to put a spotlight on this excellent film and its director, Jack Bryan. I saw Active Measures in the theater and while I’ve always believed Trump colluded, this film proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But more than that, Active Measures is such an interesting deep dive into Russia, how Putin came into power and his 30-year history of covert political warfare to disrupt and influence world events.

Now, I saw Active Measures in the theater when it first came out and one thing I admire is how Bryan puts just as many Democrats as Republicans on screen. Moderator Dr. Vince Houghton made a very good point that Bryan doesn’t talk to any Trump Republicans, but Bryan explains to Page, “When I see you in interviews, I don’t really trust what you have to say a lot of the time. It seems not compatible with the truth that I’m seeing or with the evidence I’m seeing elsewhere.” He continued to the audience, “For me to bring somebody in who I feel like I can’t vouch for saying the truth to the audience, it’s seemed counterproductive.”

Since Russians were convicted just this week of meddling in the 2016 elections, Houghton asks, “Do we need to send everyone in the world a message and how do we do that, that this is not ok. Don’t mess with us?”

Bryan: “Yeah. Reports are that in this election cycle, it’s not just Russia. Russia, China and Iran are all doing it. And that’s what scares me the most. It’s not just what happened to us in ’16, but if we don’t deal with it in a real way, I mean that Trump faces consequences for it, that Putin feels there are consequences for it in a real way, that I don’t think he’s fully feeling now, then it’s gonna be open season on American elections. And we’re going to feel very uninvolved with who becomes President next and with who our Congress is next, less than we do today already.”

Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon

Carter Page is the second person (and last since the back-and-forth is so extended) to ask a question. Here’s a portion:

Page says Christopher Steele, “hadn’t stepped foot in Russia for a long time. And you talk about money and influence in politics. I was a volunteer on the early campaign committee.” He talks about how a significant money went to “this dodgy dossier.” Page makes it clear as he’s asking his question that what he’s been accused of is completely false and preposterous and wants to know if Bryan encountered something like that in making the film.

Bryan: “I think that the question potentially is not an equivalency. I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that I believe that story is completely false.”

Page: “The one on me?”

Bryan: “Yes, the one on you.”

Page: “On what basis?”

Bryan: “On the basis of a couple of things. You were the subject of a FISA warrant in 2013. You had been meeting with people who were trying to make you a Russian asset. You look at the transcripts, you don’t look like you’re turning them down.

Chris Steele helped the FBI make the FIFA investigation, which was one of the largest investigations the FBI’s had in the last decade. He seems very reliable in that. I understand that you can’t prove a negative, but a lot of things in the dossier have turned out to be the truth. In the next couple weeks, I think there’s gonna be a few articles coming out showing that much more of it is the case. I have to look at what’s more reliable, that or you, who I think has made a lot of inconsistent statements.”

Page: “Like what?”

Bryan: “Like I think that you have said that you didn’t advise the Kremlin and then in a personal letter, you said you had. That would be one. As you’ve frequently been interviewed, there’s a little of horse trading going on, especially the early Chris Hayes interview.

Now listen, I could be wrong. I’m open to that, but you’re asking for my take on it. My take is that I think that that dossier, when I read what’s in there, I see it as being more credible than when I hear you speak. In terms of RT, they’ve said things about me that are fake. We show many things throughout the film of things they’ve put out there that were patently untrue.”

Referring to the Rosneft bribe, Bryan continues: “Right there. I think you’re mischaracterizing that. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not. My understanding of the potential Rosneft money was that it wasn’t just for you, but it was for people that could take sanctions off. So the notion that you’re implying that you were offered a billion dollar bribe, no one’s accusing that. I think that you’re framing it that way to make it seem ridiculous when, in fact, it isn’t.”

Page: “But I’ve never met Trump, I’ve never met Manafort, I never met Michael Cohen.”

Bryan: “I hear you, but you’ve also said you’ve had many meetings with Trump in other interviews.”

In terms of something that we can prove, Naughton brings up the Steele dossier, “Where I see some potential for pushback is this talking point that it’s the Democrat dossier. Why not come out and say the fact: the dossier was originally funded by Republican presidential candidates,” which gets applause by the audience.

He continues, “This is a fact. It was the opponents of Donald Trump in the actual primaries that funded the Steele dossier. Now, where me as a historian, I say does Steele have a bone to pick? I actually think he does. He was Litvinenko’s handler, a man poisoned by Putin. Steele was his MI6 handler.

Does he like Putin? Oh, no. He doesn’t like Putin. Now you could argue this makes him a really good intelligence officer, is that he was high enough to be handling Litvinenko and certainly no one in the American intelligence community with any weight would say that Steele doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

But let’s be serious about saying this is not the Democrat dossier. It can be the ‘dirty dossier’ or anything else. This was fully funded for months people like Jeb Bush, people like Marco Rubio and others. Trump won the primaries and the DNC or a group involved with the DNC took it over.”

Bryan: “To try to discredit the dossier by saying it’s opposition research, yeah. Opposition research only works if that’s the case. If you’re getting someone to do opposition research for you, you don’t want them bringing you lies that are just going to fall away when you make assertions. You want the things you’re saying to be true. You want somebody to give you back something that you can actually use and not look stupid.”

Edited and condensed.

Active Measures in available on VOD now.

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