Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | carter page | denies | russian agent | intelligence | above board

Ex-Trump Adviser Page Says He Had No Improper Russian Ties

CNN's "The Lead"

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017 06:31 PM

A former adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump steadfastly denied working with Russia in any intelligence capacity in a new interview.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Carter Page was the subject of an FBI FISA warrant last summer as the bureau looked into whether the Trump campaign had any Russian links. Page spoke Wednesday with CNN's Jake Tapper and tried to clear things up.

"Of course I wasn't, Jake," Page said when asked if he was acting as an agent of Russia. "It's just such a joke that it's beyond words."

Page said if the reports are true the FBI spied on the Trump campaign — the Post report essentially makes that claim — that would be "a real game-changer."

It has also been reported a Russian named Victor Podobnyy, who was later found to be an unregistered Russian agent posing as a diplomat in the U.S., was heard on a tape talking about obtaining information and material from Page.

Page, a former Marine intelligence officer who has worked as an investment banker and oil industry consultant, said he has talked with foreign diplomats as part of his work — but work-related content was as far as the conversations went.

"I talk to diplomats all the time, [I am] based in New York a good portion of the time, the United Nations is based here," Page said. "You're always meeting with foreign diplomats. The reality is whenever you talk to a foreign government representative, the assumption is that on some level it's going to go back to the government in question.

"I never gave [Podobnyy] any information which is material or classified or in any way improper."

Page said the relationship between the two consisted of a few meetings during which Page, who also teaches a course at New York University, gave Podobnyy — who he did not know was a Russian agent at the time — information from his lectures.

"He never made any indication that he was trying to recruit me," Page said. "It was all just a casual conversation, exactly what I told my students at New York University. No offer was made, and there was no negotiation whatsoever."

When Tapper asked Page if he has spoken with the FBI, Page would not comment.

The interview then swung back to Page's involvement in the Trump campaign, which the campaign itself called "informal." Tapper asked Page who hired him but Page would not divulge that information.

Page also addressed the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election last year and said the reports about him and others on the Trump team working with the Russians had a bigger impact on the election than anything the Russians themselves supposedly did.

"What did we actually learn from all of these Wikileaks e-mails? It's that there's some dishonest things going on in the Clinton campaign," said Page, adding coverage of any Trump ties to Russia was far more intense than that of WikiLeaks.

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A former adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump steadfastly denied working with Russia in any intelligence capacity in a new interview.
carter page, denies, russian agent, intelligence, above board
Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017 06:31 PM
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