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Trump campaign adviser met with Russian intel operative

ASSOCIATED PRESS: A foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013 and provided him documents about the energy industry, according to court filings.

The Russian, Victor Podobnyy, was one of three men charged in connection with a Cold War-style Russian spy ring. According to the court documents, Podobnyy tried to recruit Carter Page, an energy consultant working in New York at the time, as an intelligence source. Page is referred to in the filing as “Male-1.”

Page briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, though he split from the campaign before the election and the White House says the president has no relationship with him. He’s among the Trump associates under scrutiny as the FBI and congressional committees investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

When contacted Monday by The Associated Press, Page said he was not available for comment. He confirmed to BuzzFeed News, which first reported on the filings, that he was “Male-1.”

Trump has vigorously denied that he or his associates were in contact with Russia during the election. He’s blasted the focus on his possible Russia ties as a “ruse” and has insisted that the real story is the leaking of information to the media and allegations that he and his associates were improperly surveilled by the Obama administration.

“The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers,” Trump wrote in a tweet Monday morning.

Page’s contacts with Podobnyy happened about three years before Trump listed him as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. Trump and his advisers have been vague about how Page became connected with the campaign.

The court filings include a transcript of Podobnyy speaking with Igor Sporyshev, who was also charged in the spy ring, about Page.

“I like that he takes on everything,” Podobnyy says. “For now his enthusiasm works for me. I also promised him a lot.”

Go to AP to read more.


How could Trump go it alone on North Korea?

CNN: US President Donald Trump says he stands ready to fix the nuclear threat posed by North Korea — with or without China.

Trump, who will meet with China’s President at his Mar-A-Lago estate this week, declared Sunday that he would be willing to go it alone to restrain the secretive country’s nuclear weapons program should Beijing fail to act.

“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” Trump told the Financial Times in an interview.
Trump didn’t elaborate on exactly how he plans to stop North Korea leader Kim Jong Un from developing his arsenal. Some analysts have suggested his cryptic comments could simply be a way to unbalance Xi Jinping ahead of the landmark summit on Thursday and Friday this week.
However, taking cooperation with China, North Korea’s main ally and economic benefactor, out of the equation could lead to a much-needed change in dynamics with the provocative North Korean regime, said Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Waiting for China to pressure North Korea didn’t work for Bush, it didn’t work for Obama and it won’t work for Trump. We just don’t have the same priorities,” he said.

Mexico doubles down on pivot away from U.S.

  @CNNMoneyApril 3, 2017: 5:20 PM ET

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