U.S. hearing on Russia points the finger at Hungary

New revelations at the Congressional hearings into Russia’s interference into last year’s American elections provide powerful evidence for allegations first presented by the Hungarian Free Press in April of this year. (See: András B. Göllner. „The Budapest Bridge”. Hungarian Free Press, April 13, 14, 21, 2017, and its sequel „Creatures in the Budapest Hills”.) In the 243 page transcript of Carter Page’s closed door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, released earlier this week, the former member of the Trump team’s Foreign Relations Advisory Group made some startling revelations that will surely broaden the focus of the hearings. It will no doubt add additional fuel to the parallel criminal investigation headed by Robert Mueller, the Special Investigator appointed by the US Department of Justice.

Along the way, the new revelations may also help to explain the sudden and so far unexplained removal of Réka Szemerkényi, from her post as Hungary’s Ambassador to the US. The former Ambassador is a close personal confidant and friend of Hungary’s pro-Russian strongman, Viktor Orbán. She often boasted that she had the best access to the Trump team in Washington. When pressed for his motivation in firing his close confident, the Hungarian autocrat shrugged his shoulders and said: “I do not concern myself with women’s issues”. That careless comment may come back to haunt him.

The revelations by Carter Page may also cause some sleepless nights for J.D. Gordon, who was Page’s boss, and Jeff Session’s deputy director of the Trump campaign’s National Security and Foreign Policy Team. We have reported earlier on Gordon’s Hungarian visits to Budapest, his own liaison with the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. We questioned his relationship with a group in Hungary, the AJTK, which is well known as one of the Hungarian government’s highly funded money-laundromats – a “think tank” that strives to whitewash many of Orbán’s rule of law violations.

No doubt, Congressional investigators and Robert Mueller will be keen to know, how Gordon profited from his Hungarian connections, and why did he and Jeff Sessions heaped lavish praise, during the Trump campaign, on a government that many around the world, including the European Parliament, has branded as a Human Rights and Rule of Law violator.

Mr. Page was grilled, late last week, about his Russian contacts, and his contacts with the Ambassador of a country, Hungary, that is internationally recognized as Vladimir Putin’s Trojan Horse within the Western Alliance, a country that anyone with an ounce of Foreign Policy savvy knows, is the European Headquarters of Putin’s secret services.

A few months ago, Page casually revealed that during last year’s Labor Day long weekend he visited Budapest to relax by the Danube. (See  Natasha Bertrand. „US and European Officials Spied on Me in Budapest.” Business Insider. July 20, 2017.) In his new testimony, he tells a different story. He admitted under pressure, that his visit was arranged by the government of Hungary. Page admitted, that he met the Hungarian Ambassador to Washington at the Republican Convention, and engaged her in a conversation about US-Russian relations. He admitted, that the Hungarian Ambassador’s offer to set up a visit for him, may have been due to her knowledge of his role as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Trump. Page admitted to meeting senior Hungarian government officials in Budapest, and to talking to them about US-Russian relations. He also admitted that there were Russians participating in these conversations, and that he kept up his contact with one of the Hungarian officials, after his return to the US. When pressed for names and details of his Hungarian meetings, Carter Page suddenly froze. He developed a powerful case of amnesia, and blamed his loss of memory, on the hostile media attacks he’d been subjected to during the past year.  

Carter Page / Sputnik News

Carter Page’s amnesia appears to be similar to the one his former campaign boss, J. D. Gordon is suffering from. The latter has gone through many a mental metamorphosis regarding his own visits to Budapest, or about his financial contracts with one of the Hungarian government’s money laundering outfits. His reflection on the role he played in softening up the Republican Convention’s resolution on the Ukraine has provided more zig zags than the great Wayne Gretzky showed us during his illustrious career in the National Hockey league.

The new Congressional revelations add further proof for the wisdom of applying a tight leash on witnesses that may come before the investigators, such as Paul Manafort, who is reportedly forced to wear ankle shackles while being confined to house arrest before his upcoming court date. Evidence tampering is a serious crime in countries that follow the Rule of Law. So are efforts to silence witnesses who may help to further investigations into the wrongdoings of public officials. The Washington Times in a recent article has reported on Gordon’s own efforts to silence this writer. (See here.)

The coming weeks may reveal much more to us about “The Ugly Americans” on Donald Trump’s electoral team than anything we have heard before. Stay tuned to these pages.

András Göllner

20 Comments

  1. Triangulation is an old Hungarian foreign relations model that provides short term benefits (at least to the rulers), but will surely damage the country when it is left without allies in a conflict that it fostered. Orban is in over his head playing a big role in the East vs. West struggle just as Horthy was when he decided to ally with Germany.

  2. This article is an attempt by a group of people in Hungary to internationalize Hungary’s internal politics. You want badly to try and place Hungary at the center of every other country’s problems so they can blame Hungary, when we all know that Hungary doesn’t have the means, will, or even the reason to try and interfere with other countries internal domestic affairs…. especially the United States. Hungary is a landlocked nation, with less people the than the U.S state of NY, and smaller than the U.S state of Pennsylvania.

    Yes, Hungary has lobbyist in Washington, but so does every country who has relations with Washington. That is normal. Carter Page’s ties are benign and meaningless, but do try and hype them to appear as though he were. You’re attempting to turn routine meetings and contacts (that happen everyday) in Washington into some grander conspiracy.

    • Na, na Kahlifa,

      Hungary is “the motor of the European manufacturing”, the “leading force” in “the year of rebellion” the only …whatever.
      Read Hu gov press.

      BTW spending millions of dollars on political lobbying with no specific economic goals or even political such, but for a meeting with potus and whitewashing a dictatorship is probably misappropriation, a felony.

  3. György Lázár says:

    Kudos to Congressman Schiff who questioned Page extensively about his August 2016 trip to Budapest, where Page met with Hungarian ambassador to the United States, Ms. Réka Szemerkényi. Initially Page was vague about the purpose of his trip, calling it a “long weekend.” Then he said it involved a possible business project involving renewable energy—yet he couldn’t recall whether he’d set up meetings on the renewable-energy project before he traveled to Budapest or not, implying a different motive for the trip.

    “You plan a trip to Budapest after meeting with the Hungarian ambassador, but you can’t recall any specifics about what you discussed or why you’d be traveling there to meet with her?” Schiff asked.

    “I have an interest in foreign policy, and I have an interest in energy markets, right?” Page replied. He denied that the ambassador had invited him to Hungary because of his role on the Trump campaign. Asked whether he had kept in touch with anyone from that trip, Page offered a self-contradictory answer: “I believe it was just [the ambassador], and there was one other person who was also a foreign-policy person who I stayed in touch with. I cannot remember his name.” Page also could not recall what the man’s portfolio or role was. Asked whether he was an intelligence agent, Page said, “People don’t wear badges.”

    Szemerkényi and her husband have extensive Russian contacts and business interests. Ms. Szemerkényi’s husband Mr. Szabolcs Ferencz is a board member of a Swiss energy trading business MET Group jointly owned with Russian businessman Ilya Trubnikov….

    • The Hungarian state controlled oil company MOL outsourced to the MET Group a gas purchase deal which landed at least $ 360 million profit into private pockets instead of the state budget.
      A perfect example of the Orban mafia state operation.

  4. This whole Russia hysteria thing is nothing but a US deep state tantrum aimed at the winner of an election, which they found to be inconvenient in regards to the globalist agenda they serve. These hearings are their way of controlling perhaps the only candidate that was not their puppet, which happened to emerge as the victor. As for Mr. Gollner’s attempts to somehow tie Hungary to this, it is laughable! Sorry to break it to you, but Europe is busy making nice with Russia. Trade between EU-Russia is up by over 20% compared with last year (so much for those sanctions), Gazprom reached a new record in nat gas sales to Europe last year, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a go, with countries like Hungary actually being the ones trying to oppose it. Not to mention Junker’s recent statements in regards to Russian-EU relations. Trying to paint Hungary as the one which is the most pro-Russia country in the EU within this context is absurd. Hungary simply pursues its economic interests, same as Germany or any other country in the EU. And trying to present routine interactions between government officials as something sinister reminds me of the movie “Canadian Bacon”, except it is not as funny. Although I find such increasingly desperate attempts at attacking Hungary increasingly humorous, especially given that I don’t really think it will work anymore. This smear campaign has not worked for the past eight years, starting with the “Viktator” campaign in response to Hungary’s turn away from the IMF and its decision to invite the banks to share in the misery they created. The Western MSM tried with the migrant crisis as well, but in the end Orban emerged looking as the only EU leader not living & lost in wonderland, given that two years on EU policy looks more and more like what Orban has been proposing all along. Trying to tie Hungary to the US political circus is by far one of the most desperate ideas to date, which is why the MSM is not bothering.

  5. Hungary could NOT , and would NOT be able, nor afford to do to any of that alleged activity even if she really wanted to do really hard. That is why there is not one word of reality or facts stated but the attempts of raising suspicions. Those stated articles months ago, has been demanded by the readers to give any substance to it. Yet, not an iota has ever been revealed. All happened “in the hills of Buda” and “under a Budapest bridge”. Un-named bridge, miles away from the any hills of Buda. Hm??? Supposedly arranged by Orban. Just why the hell Orban would think of doing anything, pro or con, in case Trump and Putin are , as alleged , secret partners against Hillary and the liberal leftists. ?

    I see, every comment is approved and posted. Mine , listed before the rest ,is marked a “..awaiting moderation.” That means to be eliminated.

    • Bendeguz–are you really so foolish and ill-informed as to suggest that Hungary cannot afford what it is doing? Here are the facts: Hungary’s Prime Minister’s Office directly paid Connie Mack IV, a US lobbist, over $1 million in 2015 and then offered half of a $5 million contract to his firm, to clear Orban’s sullied image in DC. These are facts.

  6. Orban was a vocal Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign, as soon as it became apparent that Trump would win the Republican nomination and stood a reasonable chance against Hillary. As well, Orban has long invested in building strong support and influence within DC, especially among Republicans. Connie Mack IV was a handsomely paid lobbyist for Orban in DC. Connie Mack IV split a $5 million contract with Hungarian pro-Fidesz think tank Szazadveg. In 2015, Orban paid Mack IV $1,057,233.89. As Politico wrote in 2016:

    “Mack is paid directly by Orban’s office, not the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. His job is to burnish the image of the oft-vilified prime minister by working the media and his former colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. FARA records show that Mack disseminated information and spoke with members of the panel — including House Foreign Affairs Europe Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and ranking Democrat Gregory Meeks of New York, Randy Weber (R-Texas), Ted Poe (R-Texas), William Keating (D-Mass.) and Albio Sires (D-N.J.) — about “Strengthening US/Gov. of Hungary Relations,” according to FARA filings, in advance of a May 2015 Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S.-Hungarian relations…Rohrabacher, who has a much-publicized soft spot for Putin-era Russia, told POLITICO in a brief interview that Mack “knows all of us, and he has direct contact with the top people here. That’s the kind of communication a lot of countries need.”

    See the lengthy Politico piece: https://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/congress-foreign-lobbying-228982

    Hungary is deeply invested in the Trump administration and Russia is deeply invested in Hungary. It’s not hard to put 2 and 2 together here, folks!

  7. Nicholas Molnar says:

    The hatred of Orban created regular false or fake news on your publication and is similar to the misinterpretation of every step or word by Trump in the majority of ultra liberal American press.

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      You have had your one opportunity to claim that something is “fake news.” You will only be permitted to post another comment on this site if you provide evidence to back this up. Until then, please do not comment–I will delete all further posts.

      • Mr. Gollner calls me a “troll” on a “Orban troll farm”, on a regular basis, for disagreeing with him. Will you hold him to the same standards, and demand that he prove that I am such a “troll”, or that an “Orban troll farm” even exists, in the absence of which he will be barred from commenting? I personally think you are breaching the ethical rules of fair play in allowing everyone an equal opportunity to express their opinions or feelings on this one, which ultimately reflects negatively on this site, but it is your site so do as you wish!

        BTW, Mr. Gollner’s use of labels such as “autocrat”, amounts to a gross distortion in regards to Hungary, therefore it is meant to mis-inform, therefore can arguably be called “fake news”.

      • Peter, Robert M, Lovas or whoever.

        I agree that there is no proof re the “troll farm”, which however is immaterial, since you act like ones.

        Re “the truth about Hu”:
        Orban’s is a fascist light regime + as corrupt as the Latin American dictators circa 60s.
        The posts of Hungarian Spectrum and the HFP offer literally hundreds of examples, i.e. proof of the above. It is not for nothing that the Orban regime is suppressing/repressing all independent media, NGOs and individuals.

        Your gratuitous statements repeat ad naseum just clog the blog, which is your goal I suppose, and for which they should be deleted.

        • Currently ranked 57’th least corrupt, ahead of most South American countries. Also ranked as free in terms of democracy. All this, while the organizations doing these rankings are in fact left-globalist leaning ideologically speaking, therefore it is likely that there is significant bias. Germany’s media for instance is being ranked as one of the top 20 in terms of freedom. Now we all know what a joke that is! Can you remind us again how many days it took its media to start reporting on the rape & molestation of at least 1,200 women that occurred in a number of towns? Not to mention the new law that intimidates social media into extreme censorship.

          So yes, calling Hungary authoritarian is fake news, given that it is false.

  8. Mr. Adam;
    I absolutely have NOT stated, nor have even used the term; “fake news” !!!
    Yet, you again erased my posting. Van you name, what have I stated in it that is listed in your new posting rules?

  9. Lanark;
    In that case, just why Hungary does not hold Orban responsible for spending the public money on un-budgeted item, that may only be personnel interest of his own ?
    Griping about it here, all that is waist of time, and just hot air!

  10. The sudden amnesia affected Jeff Sessions, Trump’s son-in law, Kushner, Carter Page, Paul Manafort and many others who “amended” their sworn testimonies when Muller revealed controversies.
    They must be on the same Trump-diet with the sudden revelations of “misremembering”. Organ was among the first ones to be invited by Trump to the WH. Unsure if he ever came, as a Trump changes opinions every hour…

  11. LANARK, have rresponded to your 11-8, 6;37 pm statement.
    I quoted from the report in response, but was eliminated the entire comment of mine.

    I am totally convinced, as I have stated before a few times, you have the best government you deserve.
    Can blame no-one but yourselves.

    • Bende

      Maybe the Hungarians got the gov they deserve, but we don’t know this as there are no free and fair elections in Hungary, the last one was in 2010 (and I’m being generous on the latter).

  12. @ Marianne

    Orbán has been put on ice after the start of the congressional investigations, because his visit would draw the heat to a liaison, that goes to the heart of Trump’s “Russia Thing”. We were given an unexpected peek of this liaison by Carter Page last week, until he quickly shut the curtain, and developed amnesia. It is to hide this liaison, that Orbán withdrew her Washington Ambassador from her post, and sent many members of the pro-Russian troll farm, that operated on Hungary’s territory packing. Sebastian Gorka, a protegé of the Mercer family, is part of the same play. The truth will come out, someday.

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