Politicon 2018: Carter Page Crashes the “Active Measures” Panel
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 donâ€™t really trust what you have to say a lot of the time. It seems not compatible with the truth that Iâ€™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 canâ€™t vouch for saying the truth to the audience, itâ€™s seemed counterproductive.”
Since Russians were convicted just this week of meddling in the 2016 elections,Â Houghton asks, “Do we need to send everyone in the world a message and how do we do that, that this is not ok. Donâ€™t mess with us?”
Bryan: “Yeah. Reports are that in this election cycle, itâ€™s not just Russia. Russia, China and Iran are all doing it. And thatâ€™s what scares me the most. Itâ€™s not just what happened to us in â€™16, but if we donâ€™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 donâ€™t think heâ€™s fully feeling now, then itâ€™s gonna be open season on American elections. And weâ€™re going to feel very uninvolved with who becomes President next and with who our Congress is next, less than we do today already.”
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, â€œhadnâ€™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.â€ He talks about how a significant money went to â€œthis dodgy dossier.â€ Page makes it clear as heâ€™s asking his question that what heâ€™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 youâ€™re saying, but Iâ€™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 donâ€™t look like youâ€™re turning them down.
Chris Steele helped the FBI make the FIFA investigation, which was one of the largest investigations the FBIâ€™s had in the last decade. He seems very reliable in that. I understand that you canâ€™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 thereâ€™s gonna be a few articles coming out showing that much more of it is the case. I have to look at whatâ€™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 didnâ€™t advise the Kremlin and then in a personal letter, you said you had. That would be one. As youâ€™ve frequently been interviewed, thereâ€™s a little of horse trading going on, especially the early Chris Hayes interview.
Now listen, I could be wrong. Iâ€™m open to that, but youâ€™re asking for my take on it. My take is that I think that that dossier, when I read whatâ€™s in there, I see it as being more credible than when I hear you speak. In terms of RT, theyâ€™ve said things about me that are fake. We show many things throughout the film of things theyâ€™ve put out there that were patently untrue.”
Referring to the Rosneft bribe, Bryan continues: â€œRight there. I think youâ€™re mischaracterizing that. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s intentional or not. My understanding of the potential Rosneft money was that it wasnâ€™t just for you, but it was for people that could take sanctions off. So the notion that youâ€™re implying that you were offered a billion dollar bribe, no oneâ€™s accusing that. I think that youâ€™re framing it that way to make it seem ridiculous when, in fact, it isnâ€™t.”
Bryan: “I hear you, but youâ€™ve also said youâ€™ve had many meetings with Trump in other interviews.”
In terms of something that we can prove, Naughton brings up the Steele dossier, â€œWhere I see some potential for pushback is this talking point that itâ€™s the Democrat dossier. Why not come out and say the fact: the dossier was originally funded by Republican presidential candidates,â€ which gets applause by the audience.
He continues, â€œThis 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 Litvinenkoâ€™s handler, a man poisoned by Putin. Steele was his MI6 handler.
Does he like Putin? Oh, no. He doesnâ€™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 doesnâ€™t know what the hell heâ€™s doing.
But letâ€™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 itâ€™s opposition research, yeah. Opposition research only works if thatâ€™s the case. If youâ€™re getting someone to do opposition research for you, you donâ€™t want them bringing you lies that are just going to fall away when you make assertions. You want the things youâ€™re saying to be true. You want somebody to give you back something that you can actually use and not look stupid.â€
Edited and condensed.
Active Measures in available on VOD now.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…