A foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump is reportedly stepping down from the campaign – and pushing back on allegations he had private communications with top Russian officials.
Carter Page called the allegations "just complete garbage" in an interview with the Washington Post, but said was taking a leave of absence because they were causing a "distraction."
U.S. intelligence officials were looking into whether Carter had met privately with Kremlin-aligned Russian figures while on a trip to Moscow in July, Yahoo News reported last Friday.
"There's so little time between now and the election, this is in the best interests of the candidate," Carter told the Post. "It's so ridiculous, I want to have it behind us."
Trump listed Page as one of his foreign policy advisers last March.
"It's completely false and inconceivable that someone would even accuse me of that," Page added, saying he did meet briefly Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, but it was only an exchange of pleasantries, the Post reported.
The Post also posted the letter Page sent Monday to FBI Director James Comey, requesting the agency end any investigation into his Russian travels.
"As you may be aware, the source of these accusations is nothing more than completely false media reports," Page wrote.
"Yet for the record, I have not met this year with any sanctioned official in Russia, despite the fact that there are no restrictions on U.S. persons speaking with such individuals."
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