Carter Page brought up the idea of having President Trump travel to Russia during the presidential campaign, according to a closed-door testimony he gave last week.
In a May 2016 email to advisers J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares, Page wrote, “If [Trump] would like to take my place [on a trip to Russia] and raise the temperature a little bit, of course I’d be more than happy to yield this honor to him.”
Page, who highlighted Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign speech in Germany, told the House Intelligence Committee he envisioned a similar address from Trump.
Page said he was unaware that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, had spoken about setting up a meeting between Trump and President Vladimir Putin.
Page, who told the committee he mentioned his July 2016 trip to Jeff Sessions, along with Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, and Gordon, previously said his trip to Russia was unrelated to his foreign policy role in Trump’s campaign.
But before he traveled to Moscow to deliver his speech at the New Economic School, Page wrote to campaign officials and asked them to let him know “if you have any reservations or thoughts on how you’d prefer me to focus these remarks.”
Page also told the committee he “briefly said hello” to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow.
He previously denied meeting with any Russian government officials during the trip.
Under repeated questions about the contact Page said, “It was a very brief interaction. It was some nice pleasantries. I cannot recall the precise words I said, but it was sort of best wishes, and, you know, that’s about it.”
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the committee’s top Democrat, pressured Page on what he suggested were inconsistencies in his testimony and past statements.
He noted how Page told the committee that he had met only one Russian government official during his July 2016 trip to Russia, and yet had told campaign officials in an email that he had received valuable insights from legislators and senior members of the Russian presidential administration.
“Are you being honest in your testimony?” Schiff asked. “Because it doesn’t seem possible for both to be true.”
Page said the insights he was referring to were based on materials he had read in the press, “similar to my listening to President Trump in the various speeches that I heard of his.”
With News Wire Services