The news breaking today that Carter Page passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobny shines new light on the abrupt firing of Preet Bharara in early March. In an article in the Palmer Report, Bill Palmer connects the dots between Page and Bharara.
It goes like this:
- In 2013, Russian spy Victor Podobnyy first recruited Carter Page and convinced him to begin handing over documents.
- In January 2015, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara laid charges against Victor Podobny’s Russian spy ring in New York.
- Had Bharara continued to prosecute Podobnyy, the connection to Carter Page would have become public.
- So although Trump had previously told Bharara he could keep his U.S. Attorney position, Trump unexpectedly fired him last month.
Or as Palmer summarizes:
Trump fired Bharara in a last ditch effort to derail the prosecution of Podobnyy, before it could reach the stage where the public would have learned that Podobnyy was Carter Page’s Russian handler.
I would add that news that the Trump campaign approved a visit by Page to Moscow had just come out days before the Bharara firing. With the press focusing their attention on Page, perhaps Trump was spooked and felt he needed to get rid of Bharara. Also, there was some public speculation afterwards by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that there was a connection to investigations into Trump and the firing.
If Palmer is right, this is the connection. And if the firing was to prevent information about Page’s connection to Podobny becoming public, it has failed miserably. Which is a common theme for the Trump administration these days.