When The Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky sat down for an interview with Charleston Scarlton in June, he was trying to learn the truth behind a mystery that had dogged the 2016 presidential election.
Scarlson, a former executive producer at Fox News and now the director of digital media for the presidential campaign, said he was working on a story on the shadowy Trump campaign, which he believed had colluded with Russia to help Trump win the election.
The story, titled “The Man Behind the Curtain,” was meant to reveal the inner workings of a dark-money nonprofit and its relationship to Russia.
Scamp was not the only reporter digging into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.
The Post’s David Fahrenthold reported on that story, too.
Scamps book, The Man Behind The Curtain, was a revelation.
It’s the story of a former Fox News executive, a Russian-born businessman, and a Trump surrogate, who worked together to uncover the truth about the Russia conspiracy.
“It’s been the most frustrating thing for me, because I wanted to know the truth,” Scamps said.
“That’s what journalism is supposed to be about.
It was my job.”
What Scamps discovered is not only a stunning account of the campaign’s collusion with Russia, it also reveals the secret Trump surrogate that helped the campaign win.
That surrogate is a Trump loyalist named Carter Page, who has since changed his name to Michael Cohen.
Cohen was a long-time Trump ally and fundraiser, and Page is now the Trump’s chief strategist and senior adviser.
He was an informal adviser to Trump for several years, and the two met in Trump Tower on a number of occasions.
The meeting between Cohen and Trump took place shortly after Page had announced that he was forming a super PAC, The Trump Victory, to promote his presidential bid.
Page’s super PAC was also a front for the Russian government, and it has been a constant thorn in the side of the Trump administration.
In May 2016, a month before Trump won the election, the Washington Post reported that the Kremlin was trying unsuccessfully to hire Page as an adviser.
Page was also an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, who was running for president at the time.
Page, whose father is from Azerbaijan, has been critical of Trump, saying in May 2016 that Trump was a fraud.
He also accused the president of lying about the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
Page has since publicly acknowledged that he met with Cohen and others to help arrange the Trump Victory PAC.
The Trump campaign later denied the meeting took place.
“I did not ever have any contact with Carter Page,” Trump said at the top of a statement about the meeting.
“Carter Page never met with me in person.
Carter Page never had any contact or contact with me during the campaign.”
Page did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Page did, however, meet with a former top campaign aide, J.D. Gordon, at Trump Tower in April 2017.
Page also met with then-candidate Donald Trump Jr. and other top Trump campaign officials during the presidential election, including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
In September 2017, Page was charged with tax evasion and obstruction of justice for his role in a failed scheme to hide the $150,000 he spent on travel expenses for trips to Moscow and other European countries.
He has denied the charges.
The investigation into the campaign also found that Carter Page had met with top Trump adviser Paul Manafort, who at the same time was working as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump team.
In April 2018, the FBI indicted Manafort and six other Trump campaign associates, including Carter Page.
Manafort was charged in a separate investigation.
He denies the charges, and he has denied any knowledge of the meeting with Cohen.
“Mr. Page and Mr. Cohen were not involved in any campaign finance violation whatsoever, but the indictment does allege that Mr. Page engaged in illegal activities by knowingly and willfully making false statements in connection with a criminal investigation of Carter Page and others,” a court document filed in the case said.
Scarsdale was not among the Trump advisers indicted.
“In the years since Mr. Carter’s resignation, the Trump-Russia investigation has grown increasingly complex and difficult to understand,” a senior White House official told the Post in August 2018.
“This was a case where the president and his advisers and campaign surrogates were all at the table, and everyone was working to advance the interests of the president.
That is why we are taking these matters seriously and will continue to investigate.”
The Trump administration has yet to formally comment on the Carter Page investigation.
The fact that Page and Cohen are now cooperating with the investigation is another important element of the story.
Page said in May that he had told the FBI he was not involved with the Trump Trump campaign and had no knowledge of any campaign-related activities.
“As a former campaign aide and