Chris Hayes spars with former Trump aide over Russian ambassador meeting

A former foreign policy adviser for Donald TrumpDonald TrumpIn the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue Comey friend: If I were Trump, I would be scared How Trump plans to remake the lower courts MORE's presidential campaign on Thursday tiptoed around allegations that he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at an event during the Republican National Convention.

Carter Page, an investment banker who served as an early foreign policy adviser to Trump, sparred with MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes in an interview, ducking questions about his reported conversation with Kislyak in July without denying such talks took place.

“I’m not going to deny that I talked to him. Although I will say that I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland,” Page said. “Let’s just say that much.”

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USA Today reported on Thursday that Page and another early adviser on Trump’s campaign, J.D. Gordon, spoke to the Russian ambassador at an event hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation in Cleveland during the RNC.

But Page insisted that he couldn’t speak about the encounter, because doing so would be disrespectful to the event’s organizers.

“I may have met him possibly, what might have been in Cleveland,” he said. “Again, I’m respectful to the organizers; I’m respectful to confidentiality rules.”

Hayes chided Page at numerous points in the interview, saying his indirect answers only made the situation appear more suspicious.

“There’s this pattern, which you appear to be part of, in which there’s this kind of bizarre disassembling about the basic facts of the matter,” he said. “Do you understand why that reads to people as fishy?”

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump admin pitches stricter rules on ‘sanctuary cities’: report DOJ asks judge to reassess after sanctuary city update: report Sessions postpones Senate testimony on DOJ funding MORE also met Kislyak at the Heritage Foundation event in July. He came under fire on Wednesday night for failing to disclose during his confirmation hearing in January that he spoke with the ambassador during Trump’s presidential campaign, at the Heritage event and several months later in his office. Sessions maintains the conversations were within his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

That revelation led to Sessions recusing himself on Thursday from the government’s investigation of Russian election meddling and Trump’s potential ties to Moscow.