Carter Page wished Trump to take 2016 journey to Russia


The House Intelligence Committee on Monday evening launched greater than 200 pages of transcripts from its marathon interview of former Trump marketing campaign adviser Carter Page, sprawling testimony that contained new particulars concerning the closely-scrutinized international coverage aide’s relationship to Moscow.

The at-times tense interview — which pbaded off behind closed doorways final week — additionally highlighted an more and more public partisan rift on the committee.

Page, who all through sought to characterize himself as a scholar whose title has been unjustly defamed, instructed lawmakers that he steered to his fellow international coverage advisers that Trump might make a visit to Russia throughout the marketing campaign.

“The concept there was — taking into consideration Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump picks interim alternative to guide IRS Trump has spent .75 million on White House redecorations Colbert compares Trump to ‘a loopy previous man yelling on his entrance garden’ MORE‘s speech as a candidate in Germany 2008. That was what I used to be envisioning,” Page stated.

In an e-mail to J.D. Gordon, who was then working the marketing campaign’s international coverage advisory group, and Walid Phares, one other international coverage adviser on the marketing campaign, Page steered that then-candidate Trump might make a journey that he had scheduled to Moscow in his place.

“I got another idea,” Page wrote, in response to an e-mail learn out by the committee’s prime Democrat, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffHouse Republicans rising impatient with Russia probe Intel Dem: Uranium One probe is an ‘orchestrated’ distraction House committees announce probe into Russia uranium deal MORE (Calif.). “If [Trump would] wish to take my place and lift the temperature a bit bit, in fact I’d be more than pleased to yield this honor to him.”

He stated he couldn’t recall if both Phares or Gordon replied to his suggestion, however believed that they “probably” didn’t.

Page finally took the journey himself, in July of 2016. During that go to, Page instructed lawmakers, he exchanged “pleasantries” with a senior Russian authorities official.

That change lasted not than 5 or 10 seconds, Page stated. It pbaded off at a speech he gave as a part of graduation proceedings at a Russian college, which Page says paid for his journey prices.

CNN has beforehand reported that the FBI grew involved after the journey that he might have been compromised by Russian operatives.

In December, the identical Russian official — Arkadiy Dvorkovich, a deputy prime minister — “stopped by” a dinner Page stated he attended with lecturers from the college.

Page instructed investigators that the July journey was “unrelated” to the marketing campaign.

But he nonetheless knowledgeable different marketing campaign officers that he can be touring to Russia. Page instructed investigators that he “mentioned it a few times” to Gordon.

Page testified that shortly earlier than he left for Moscow, he additionally talked about the journey “in pbading” to then-Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDallas Morning News: Cornyn ‘betrays’ GOP by backing Roy Moore Overnight Regulation: Trump declares opioids a public well being emergency | Mark Kelly lobbied Scalise on weapons | Warren rips plans to ease financial institution oversight | Coal business advocate tapped for mining regulator Bipartisan teams name on DOJ to scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (R-Ala.), who was chairman of the international coverage advisory panel. In “no way, shape or form” did he attempt to convey to Sessions that he hoped to be useful in Trump’s efforts to enhance relations with Russia, Page stated.

He additionally “sent a note” to marketing campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks and then-campaign supervisor Corey Lewandowski.

“I wanted to be very careful because there was starting to be some allegations about or concerns about Russia in general,” Page instructed investigators.

Page has lengthy been of eager curiosity to lawmakers probing Russian interference within the election, because of the 2016 Moscow journey and his look in an unconfirmed file of opposition badysis alleging connections between the Trump marketing campaign and the Kremlin.

In his testimony, he denied any wrongdoing linked to Russia. He targeted totally on the allegations contained within the file — which he repeatedly known as “the dodgy dossier” — and his declare that he was the topic of unlawful authorities surveillance.

He additionally instructed lawmakers that he was “not convinced” that Russia tried to intervene within the U.S. election to badist increase Trump’s possibilities.

“In all of my trips over the past year and a half to Russia — or my two trips to Russia in the past year and a half — I’ve never seen any evidence of that type of inference,” he stated.

Trump aides have described the function that Page performed within the marketing campaign as minimal.

He was one among a handful of people who had been apparently rapidly added to the marketing campaign at a time when Trump wanted to indicate that he had an inventory of international coverage advisers. Trump named him throughout a gathering with The Washington Post’s editorial board in 2016 — together with George Papadopoulos, the younger aide who just lately pleaded responsible to mendacity to federal investigators about his contacts with Russia.

The uncommon badociation of the House Intelligence interview — a closed-door session with a transcript made public after the very fact — was at Page’s request.

Throughout his testimony, Page characterised himself as “cautious” and “careful.” In a number of situations, he pleaded his Fifth Amendment rights to keep away from turning over sure paperwork. He insisted that nothing within the paperwork is incriminating, however argued that “an aggressive prosecutor” would possibly discover inconsistencies between his personal data and the data he believes the federal government has gathered.

The Washington Post reported in April that the FBI obtained a warrant final yr to observe Page’s communications as a part of the investigation into Russian interference.

Page, who has not retained a lawyer, typically gave meandering, erratic responses that prompted lawmakers to aim to steer him again.

“Dr. Page, if you would try to focus on the question I’m asking,” Schiff urged at one level.

The prolonged interview was punctuated, too, by heated exchanges between Schiff and several other committee Republicans. Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayHouse Republicans rising impatient with Russia probe GOP seizes on new Clinton revelation Former Obama aide Ben Rhodes questioned by House intel leaders MORE (R-Texas), who’s main the investigation, accused Schiff of claiming “in a kind of off-handed, derogatory way that we had not informed you that he had originally pled the Fifth.”

“I just wanted to correct the record, Adam, to say that we did on a relatively timely basis.”

In one other contentious second, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Schiff wrangled over whether or not Page ought to present his cellphone quantity in a written format or verbally — which Rooney believed would turn out to be a part of the general public report.

“I just don’t understand why it has to be made public for the world to consume,” Rooney stated. “He can write it down and give it to you. I don’t know why it has to be issued into the report.”

“I don’t know why you’re arguing,” Schiff stated. “We support redacting this from the public record, but I do think that the witness ought to be under oath as to what phones he’s using.”

Read the complete transcript of Page’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee right here.

— Olivia Beavers, Joe Uchill and Morgan Chalfant contributed.

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