Page said he mentioned July 2016 Russia trip to Sessions ‘in passing’

Page said he mentioned July 2016 Russia trip to Sessions ‘in passing’
© Camille Fine

Carter Page, a former adviser to President Trump’s campaign, told House lawmakers that he mentioned a July 2016 trip to Moscow to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Laura Ingraham: Migrant child detention centers 'essentially summer camps' Senate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents' MORE “in passing” days before he left.

The details of Page’s interactions with Sessions, then a Republican senator from Alabama, come in a transcript released Monday evening of his interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. 

Page said he mentioned the trip to Sessions “in passing” at a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club three days before he left for Moscow to deliver a speech at the New Economic School. He also characterized the speech as “unrelated” to his advisory role with the campaign. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I mentioned it briefly to Sen. Sessions as I was walking out the door,” Page said.

CNN was first to report last week that Page told House lawmakers that Sessions new of the trip before he left. 

Page said in “no way, shape or form” did he try to convey to Sessions that he hoped to be helpful in Trump’s efforts to improve relations with Russia, when questioned by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Schiff: ‘Deeply disturbing’ that FBI gave Nunes confidential info on Clinton's emails Schiff: White House using migrant kids’ grief and tears to build border wall MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking intelligence member. 

Page said that J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon official and national security adviser to the Trump campaign, was the first campaign official to know about the Moscow trip prior to his departure. 

In a statement to The Hill on Monday night, Gordon said he discouraged Page from taking the trip. 

“I discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow in the first place because it was a bad idea,” Gordon said. “Since I refused to forward his speech request form for approval, he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership.”

Page was among a group of five foreign policy advisers that Trump unveiled at a March 2016 meeting with The Washington Post editorial board. That group also included George Papadopoulos, a volunteer who has become a flashpoint in the Russia controversy since special counsel Robert Mueller revealed that he lied to FBI agents about his Russian contacts during the campaign.

Page, an energy industry consultant, has attracted particular scrutiny for the 2016 trip and his prior contacts with Russians.

Gordon described Page and Papadopoulos as volunteers and “peripheral members of a relatively peripheral advisory committee.”

Page characterized his interactions with Papadopoulos as “very limited” to lawmakers, though he disclosed that Papadopoulos was at the dinner during which he told Sessions about his trip to Moscow. 

House lawmakers questioned Page behind closed doors for nearly eight hours on Thursday.