American oil industry consultant and former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump
Russia Conspiracies and Fracking Technologies
As the Russia investigation continues to rage in newspapers, classified meetings, and Twitter handles, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is at the center of it all.
If you’ve been following the Russian collusion investigation closely, his name probably sounds familiar.
He’s been subpoenaed by the U.S. Senate, targeted by government surveillance, and even received a presidential Tweet of support. Here, Carter talks with Stansberry Research founder and Investor Hour host Porter Stansberry…
Porter Stansberry: You’re probably most widely known for being at the center of the Russian conspiracy case that the FBI is supposedly putting together. I think that it’s so implausible that it’s almost laughable, but what do you make of all this? Why would anybody suppose that President Trump is under the spell of Russian agents?
Carter Page: This is almost more of a media question than a foreign policy question and links between news organizations and political operatives. As someone who actually has spent time in Russia, I became the centerpiece of that process very quickly…
Starting in September 2016, when the first stories from this crazy dossier that the Democrats paid for to smear the Trump campaign and myself, it’s really had an amazing shelf life, given the fact that so many people were quick to buy into this. And I think what’s been interesting over the last nine months or so is that, as truth continues to come out regarding who is actually behind this, we find that there was clearly a lot of wrongdoing by certain operatives in the U.S. government.
Porter Stansberry: My notes here say that you have chosen to be your own lawyer in this matter, and you’re up against the Federal prosecutors and Mueller, who have unlimited resources and don’t hesitate to play dirty. Is there a rationale to that decision? Shouldn’t you be with a big firm that can help you stand up to these guys?
Carter Page: There’s the – what I call the “witch hunt” side of the question, and then there’s the civil side.
I am suing the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is a federal agency. They were the ones that retransmitted the Yahoo News report, which was used as part of the illegitimate foreign intelligence surveillance court warrant that was placed on me in October 2016. And I’m also suing both Oath Inc., which is the owner of Yahoo News and Huffington Post, which put out over a dozen defamatory articles.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial approach throughout life. And big defamation cases – there’s this famous case against ABC News called the “Pink Slime case” – major cases like that sometimes run into tens of millions of dollars of legal fees.
So I thought it was a great time to actually dig into the details myself. And you know, in any law case, it’s always a balance between facts and the law. And I think the facts, once they’re fully known, it should be a pretty easy case. But there’s a lot of major lies in Washington right now that need to be worked out that have really damaged President Trump’s administration.
That ties back into the sort of an investor focus of what Trump is dealing with in Europe right now, because I think there’s a dark cloud over his administration based on this completely fraudulent story.
Regarding the special counsel investigation, there are a lot of leaks to the Washington Post and others regarding my spending over 10 hours with the FBI in March 2017. There’s been less news about my cooperation with the special counsel investigation, but it has been reported in the New York Times and Washington Post and others that yes, I spent time with them last year, and in that case I did have a great team of lawyers helping me, but nothing that was accused against myself or anyone I knew has any merit or basis to it whatsoever.
Porter Stansberry: Well, I applaud you for taking on those powerful interests in a libel or defamation case. I just hope you also have some healthy life insurance, because people like Vince Foster, when they take on these powers they – sometimes they don’t end up in a good place.
Carter Page: Yeah. Well, I think the Vince Foster analogy may have some merit to it. There were a lot of death threats that I received when these fake stories started coming out in September 2016, when the Democrats were trying to pitch the false story about the Trump campaign and myself to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post – they all contacted me and kept asking about these same false allegations, starting in July 2016.
I always denied it, and because it was so blatantly obvious that it’s false and there was not much to talk about, but eventually they found someone that they could talk with or rely upon, which was Yahoo News, and I guess the rest is history. And our courts were significantly abused through that process. So yeah, it was plenty of drama.
We were predicting that the Eagle Ford would become one of the largest oil discoveries in the world, and certainly the largest in continental U.S. history.
Porter Stansberry: Let me move past the scandal and ask you a broad question about the oil business, which I know you also know a lot about.
At Stansberry Research, we started tracking fracking and horizontal drilling in the early 2000s and we had one of our best contacts, a guy named Cactus Schroeder, in the oil fields and around the Eagle Ford area.
So, very early on, we brought that story to our readers, beginning in the 2007-2008 time frame. We were predicting that the Eagle Ford would become one of the largest oil discoveries in the world, and certainly the largest in continental U.S. history.
And if you’ll remember, that was the height of the peak oil madness. So our research firm was talking about the inevitable oil boom that was coming, while at the same time, all the headlines were that there was a twilight in the desert of Saudi Arabia, and we would soon be out of hydrocarbons.
So we have been firmly on the camp of much larger U.S. oil production and growing global production. So we were not surprised or upset by the price declines that happened in 2014, and we have not been surprised to see the growth of U.S. production, relative to the rest of the world.
What I don’t think we have a good grasp on, and what maybe you could help us with, is: What’s going to happen over the next several decades, not just in the next five years or next year?
What’s going to happen to the relative political power and influence of the large oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, as the U.S. produces more and more hydrocarbons, and garners a larger and larger share of the world market?
Carter Page: A lot of those same factors have already been increasingly in play, and I think it speaks to two elements of President Trump’s policy which have really been major positive drivers over the course of the last year and could be a lot bigger if they were allowed to fully flourish.
The fracking and shale revolution was really based on technology. And up until January 2017 and the beginning of President Trump’s administration, there was a lot of environmental and restrictive government policies that really limited some of the steps that energy producers could take in terms of fully developing those capabilities.
It sort of speaks to this concept of political risk. Political risk is often viewed in an international context, but there’s definitely a state-level element to it as well. But I think overall, it speaks to the sort of the positive nature of some of the steps President Trump has been taking to develop a much more constructive relationship with some of those countries.
Some of the risk that you’re referring to in terms of those possible tensions could be much greater if you know the powers that be and the foreign policy establishment in Washington used or leveraged some of those developments in a very negative way.
I think what President Trump has done – not only in Saudi Arabia, throughout the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) in the Middle East, but also Russia – is trying to find new solutions that are going to be much more constructive and much more cooperative…
A lot of it comes down to relationships, and I think the steps that President Trump has been taking to help push forward some of those relationships with key energy-producing states, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, I think can be a major step forward on both fronts and can really provide a significant amount of upside.
Porter Stansberry: What do you think about investing in Russia right now? Obviously the Russian market is very cheap compared to the U.S. market. It usually trades at a discount, but the discount is probably as wide as it’s been in the last decade or more. Buying Russia today is certainly a contrarian idea. The dollar has been very strong, and Russia has been sort of out-of-favor internationally. You know more about Russia than most people. Would you be buying Russian stocks?
Carter Page: Well, it’s interesting. I’ve been involved in various Russia investment initiatives going back to 2004 when I moved over to Moscow, and with another guy, opened a Merrill Lynch office in Moscow.
And so, living there from 2004-2007, I think there are a lot of similarities to what we saw right now in terms of the misunderstanding. I think there’s a lot of misinformation in terms of what actually is happening there, and I think that speaks directly to what you’re referring to with the price imbalances and the undervaluation of a lot of assets in Russia.
I went on a lot of investor meetings with some top Russian companies over the years, and I think what’s interesting when you’re meeting with major Western investors and some senior executives from Russian companies is that it’s a process of working through misunderstandings.
Because I think there is a great imbalance of knowledge, and I think that’s what makes the last two years particularly timely and a major turning point. Because I think a lot of that same information has escalated, and they sort of use this as a way to tear down, first, candidate Trump, but then try to damage his administration with this completely fake Russia story, which started the witch hunt that Mr. Comey and various people started during the 2016 election campaigns, leading up to President Trump’s victory in November 2016.
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