Trump campaign adviser Carter Page acknowledges meeting with senior Russian officials: transcript

Graham Urges Sessions To Testify Again On Russia

House Intel Releases Carter Page's Testimony

(CNN)Carter Page's six-plus hours of testimony before the House intelligence committee makes clear senior members of the Trump campaign were aware of the former Trump foreign policy adviser's July 2016 trip to Russia - and Page may have had interactions with more Russian government officials beyond what he's previously acknowledged, according to a transcript of the interview released Monday night.

Page also told committee members that he told Jeff Sessions, who was then a USA senator and is now attorney general, and Sam Clovis, then the national co-chairman of Trump's campaign, that he was traveling to Moscow to make a speech at the New Economic School.

Page offered the Trump campaign a "readout" about his trip, including the discussions with Russian officials.

The Trump campaign knew about and had blessed Page's trip to meet with Russian officials, which means that the plausible deniability of blaming a few rogue actors inside the campaign has gone up in smoke, and if Jeff Sessions knew about the meetings, the revelation means a whole new world of trouble for the Attorney General.

Page's email was read aloud by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., when Page met behind closed doors last week with the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 president election.

There are two important takeaways from Page's testimony. He maintained that his interaction with Dvorkovich consisted of a brief greeting, and that he had learned his views on the campaign while listening to Dvorkovich's public address.

The House Intelligence Committee Democrats said that Page negotiated an agreement with the panel, after receiving a subpoena from the committee, that allowed him to testify in private with the understanding that a transcript of his interview would be made public. Clovis's decision came just days after court filings indicated that he may have encouraged President Trump's campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to set up meetings with Russians for the Trump campaign.

The transcript shows Page, a Navy veteran who worked for a time in Moscow as an energy consultant, was at times combative and evasive in response to committee questions. Schiff read from a document Page sent back to the Trump campaign after the trip.

His testimony Thursday also contradicted previous comments by Jeff Sessions, now USA attorney general in the Trump administration, who was a top Trump campaign surrogate in 2016.

In one email to fellow campaign aides, Page suggested that Trump perhaps take his place and travel to Moscow "to raise the temperature a little bit" and, in another, he asked how campaign officials would "prefer me to focus" his remarks.

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.

He said he was unaware at the time that Papadopoulos was making similar proposals for Trump to travel to Russian Federation, though he acknowledged he had received some of Papadopoulos' emails about Russian Federation. It was on that trip that he met with the Russian officials.

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

That seems to confirm findings by former British spy Christopher Steele, who reported in his dossier that "official close to Presidential Administration Head, S. Ivanov, confided in a compatriot that a senior colleague in the Internal Political Department of the PA, Divyekin (nfd) also had met secretly with Page on his recent visit".

Page said during his testimony Thursday that he informed then-U.S. Sen.

Page's comments provide the latest confirmed contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russians during the presidential race.

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