Ex-Trump adviser reveals contacts with Russians

Marsha Scott
November 8, 2017

Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump, testified to United States lawmakers that he met with a Russian deputy prime minister on two trips to Moscow in 2016 and consulted with senior Trump campaign staff about one visit.

Page wrote in a July 2016 email to Trump campaign aides that Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich "expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to a vast range of current worldwide problems", according to a transcript of more than six hours of testimony Page gave last week before a House of Representatives committee investigating Russian interference in the US election.

In July, Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he didn't know whether Page had traveled to Russian Federation.

Schiff's back-and-forth also included him citing an email that Page sent to the campaign in July where the adviser claimed he had "incredible insights and outreach that you received from Russian legislators and senior members, plural, of the presidential administration".

Page has always maintained he went to Russian Federation as a private citizen and unrelated to the campaign to meet with academics and deliver a lecture, in which he stated that he was not there to represent Trump.

The most common theme in Page's testimony was a relentless pivoting towards the dossier compiled by Steele, which he says has led to death threats.

Page addressed some of the questions about those trips in more than seven hours of testimony last week to the House committee. As regular readers know, this has become highly problematic: the FBI has investigated Page as a possible agent of Russian Federation.

Another adviser at the same time that Page joined the campaign, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russian Federation.

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Now the attorney general, Sessions has testified in front of the Senate that he was not "aware" of any Trump surrogates who had communications with the Russians.

At one point in the lead-up to the trip, however, Page pitched to campaign affiliates that Trump go in his place to Russian Federation.

Page did explain to lawmakers an email he sent to the campaign officials describing a "private conversation" with Deputy Prime Minister Arkadiy Dvorkovich, in which the Russian "expressed strong support" for Trump.

A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment; Clovis' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

In numerous public interviews, Page has always denied he met with other Russian officials, notably with Igor Sechin, a Putin associate.

Page said that he remembered the diplomat's name as Reka, likely referring to former ambassador Réka Szemerkényi, who left her post in 2015.

And while we're all still scrutinizing the transcript for additional details of note, Business Insider's report added that in mid-July 2016, Page also congratulated members of the Trump campaign's foreign policy team on July 14 for their "excellent work" on the "Ukraine amendment" - referring to the Trump campaign's quiet decision to alter the Republican Party's national platform on USA policy towards Ukraine in a direction Russian Federation preferred.

In an email to campaign officials in advance of the speech, Page wrote: "Please let me know if you have any reservations or thoughts on how you'd prefer me to focus these remarks", according to the transcript. He said he did not recall any discussion of hacked emails there. What's new and important here is the fact that Page told his colleagues on the Trump campaign about his trip, including top members of the Republican candidate's team.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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