The controversial Russian dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele and circulated throughout Washington during the 2016 presidential election, was used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the basis for secretly monitoring Carter Page, a former adviser on foreign policy and national security to Donald Trump.
Page has fervently denied accusations of wrongdoing in his contacts with Russian officials, making several cable news appearances last week to defend his actions. That application got turned into a 90-day FISA warrant, which was renewed multiple times, and allowed for officials to monitor Page over the summer. A month later, during a speech to Moscow's higher education institute, the New Economic School, he openly criticized the US, saying it had a "hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change". His remarks accorded with Trump's positive view of the Russian president, which had prompted speculation about what Trump saw in Putin - more commonly denounced in the United States as a ruthless, anti-Western autocrat.
"In the months that followed, they said, more evidence came to light, including intercepts of Russian officials discussing Mr. Page and other Trump associates", the Times writes.
Page's relationship with Trump appears to have been fleeting. Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort already was under investigation for business ties to a pro-Moscow political party in Ukraine. Page has denied the information contained in the dossier.
Then-candidate Trump cited Page a year ago in an interview as one of his advisers on national security matters. "Page calls himself a 'junior member of the team" and Trump officials have said he had no influential role with the campaign. Victor Podobnyy, one of three men later charged with being unregistered agents of a foreign power, had met Page at an energy symposium and was recorded describing him as "an idiot" with dreams of lucrative deals. The war in Ukraine, he wrote, was "precipitated by USA meddling".
In recent months, Page has often seemed to revel in the attention he has drawn. He is believed to be the only USA national that the FBI is monitoring in connection to the Russian Federation investigation. Speaking to The Hill, Jason Miller, Trump's former communications director, said Page "never been a part of our campaign". "I would like to assume that as well right now".