Former Trump adviser grilled by House committee behind closed doors

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Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to President Trump’s presidential campaign, met behind closed doors with members of the House Intelligence Committee for nearly eight hours on Thursday.

Page’s appearance before the committee comes amid key developments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Moscow.

Page answered the members’ questions, according to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who has been spearheading the House committee’s investigation following the recusal of Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Page told reporters after the interview he was “excited” about the investigation’s progress.


Still, Conaway signaled that Page has not yet fully complied with the committee’s subpoena requesting certain documents.

“We expect him to comply with the subpoena fully,” Conaway said, adding that Page would not say on Thursday whether he would.

“He answered all the questions when I was in the room,” Conaway said. “He was fulsome with his answers.”

Page, an energy industry consultant, has come under scrutiny amid the ongoing investigations by Congress and the Justice Department into Russian interference in the 2016 election, particularly for a trip he took to Moscow in July 2016, and his prior contacts with Russians.

The Washington Post reported in April that the FBI had obtained a warrant last year to monitor Page’s communications as part of the investigation into Russian interference.

Trump aides have described the role that Page played in the campaign as minimal.

Speaking to reporters following his interview with the committee, Page said that he was “excited” by the revelations that have come out in recent weeks about the “dodgy dossier,” referring to the controversial dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that recently was revealed to have been funded by the Democratic National Committee. The dossier makes unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia.

“It is very promising that now that these lies that were first put out there in September 2016 are now being completely understood and disclosures are being made by the executive branch,” Page said. “We’re getting to the bottom of this, so I’m really excited.”

He also said he is “working to help and provide everything” to the committee that he can.

“There’s been a lot of unfortunate disclosure of my personal information in violation of certain rules in the past so I’m concerned about that,” Page added. “But I am confident that greater professionalism will be exhibited in the future. So, it’s all good.”

Page was interviewed days after Mueller revealed charges against former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Richard Gates.

The special counsel’s office also revealed Monday that George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser brought on by the campaign around the same time as Page, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia-connected foreign nationals.

Page and Papadopoulos were among a group of five foreign affairs advisers that Trump named during a meeting with The Washington Post’s editorial board in March 2016.

Page said during an interview on MSNBC this week that Russia “may have come up” in his emails with Papadopoulos during the campaign, though he said “nothing major” was discussed. According to email records, Papadopoulos for months sought to set up a meeting between Russian government officials and the campaign and at times said he received encouragement from campaign aides, court filings unsealed Monday showed.

Page also met behind closed doors with staffers on the Senate Intelligence Committee last Friday.

He arrived to meet with House lawmakers at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning and was not seen leaving until after 5 p.m. Lawmakers were visibly exhausted as they exited and re-entered the secure room in order to vote.

“That may have been the longest one,” quipped Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.). “You can’t say that he tried to get out early.”

The committee plans to release a transcript of the interview in coming days.

Earlier in the afternoon, Ike Kaveladz was also seen entering the secure area. Kaveladz is a Russia-born California businessman who was identified as the eighth attendee of the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians. The meeting took place after Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, had been offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton. It also included Manafort, Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

A lawyer for Kaveladz has said that he attended the meeting to serve as a translator for Veselnitskaya, though she already had her own translator present at the meeting.

Bloomberg had reported on Tuesday that the House Intelligence Committee scheduled an interview with Kaveladz for Thursday.

Tags Christopher Steele Donald Trump Donald Trump George Papadopoulos Hillary Clinton Jared Kushner Mike Conaway Paul Manafort Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

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