Opinion

Does Carter Page Even Have a Lawyer? Because This MSNBC Interview is a Legal Mess

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page appeared on MSNBC Monday night and I have no idea why.

Normally, when someone is connected to any kind of criminal investigation, the best advice is not to say a word to the authorities without having a lawyer. Well, conventional wisdom be damned, because Carter Page was ready to party, eager to tell host Chris Hayes whatever he wanted.

About a minute into the segment, I was already thinking that either Page already struck a deal with the feds that gives immunity for all of this, or he just loves being on TV so much that he’ll reveal anything to anyone who will listen. Here are five moments that had me staring at the screen in disbelief.

1. Discussing George Papadopoulos’ Emails

Hayes didn’t waste any time. Early on, he brought up the emails that George Papadopoulos admitted to being a part of regarding the Trump campaign setting up a meeting with Russians to get information on Hillary Clinton.

“Were you on email chains with Papadopoulos?” Hayes asked.

“Yeah, probably a few,” Page readily admitted.

Well, that was easy. One would think it would take a formal deposition with a lawyer present to get that kind of information, but nope, Page is here to play ball.

2. Meeting with Russians

Next, Hayes mentioned how Papadopoulos discussed how the Trump campaign wanted to send a low-level staff member to meet with Russians.

“Are you the person they’re talking about?” Hayes asked.

“I don’t think so,” was Page’s initial response.  I wasn’t exactly convinced, and I’ll bet neither were any investigators from Robert Mueller‘s office who probably set their DVR’s for this one.

While Page tried to make a stronger denial, he pretty much blew it right away. Continuing to talk about trips to Russia, Page recalled, “They said if you want to go on your own, they’re fine with that.” So first he says he doesn’t think the campaign was talking about sending him to Russia, but then he admits that he talked to them about going to Russia and they were cool with it.

3. More on those emails

In case you weren’t convinced when Page said he was “probably” on email chains with Papadopoulos that discussed meeting with Russians, he was all too happy to say it again. When Hayes asked about whether he was on specific emails from Papadopoulos about Russians discussing Clinton’s emails, Page said, “I might have been.”

4. He didn’t even read the whole statement

As the conversation continued to focus on Papadopoulos’ statement, Page finally admitted, “I haven’t read the sort of fine print.”

Um, what? So the guy readily goes on national television and seems to incriminate himself like crazy, and he didn’t even read the 14-page document that he was there to talk about? His lawyer is probably thinking of quitting at this point. Unless…

5. Does Page even have a lawyer?

Late in the segment, Hayes asked Page if he had legal representation, and the answer was a little bizarre.

“I have some people that are helping me,” he said. When asked again if he had an attorney, he said, “I have some informal advisers and a formal adviser.” Whatever that means, Page acknowledged that he did not have a lawyer with him when he testified before the Senate for five hours.

Remember when I said that maybe Page had a deal with the feds that protects him? Now I’m thinking maybe not. If he didn’t even bother to hire an attorney to help him with this stuff, there’s a decent chance he just has no idea what he’s doing or what kind of damage he could cause.

Page also talked about how he’s representing himself in a defamation lawsuit against new outlets, regarding stories about the infamous Trump dossier. The saying goes that someone who represents himself in a court case has a fool for a client.

Why such an aversion to lawyers? One brief consultation would have told him that he should be keeping his mouth shut right now, and certainly not spilling his guts on TV. Last I checked, MSNBC doesn’t have subpoena power, so there’s no good reason why Page was even there in the first place.

Within the span of 10 minutes, Page admitted that he was aware of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also indicated that he’s ready to talk, doesn’t necessarily see a need for a lawyer, and he said he’s been cooperating with investigators since March. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bob Mueller has a poster of this guy on his wall with hearts drawn on it.

By the end, even Hayes could barely believe how much Page was saying.

“I genuinely hope, Carter, that you are innocent of everything, because you’re doing a lot of talking.”

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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