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Trump campaign adviser Carter Page acknowledges meeting with senior Russian officials: transcript

Trump campaign adviser Carter Page acknowledges meeting with senior Russian officials: transcript

Page also told committee members that he told Jeff Sessions, who was then a US senator and is now attorney general, and Sam Clovis, then the national co-chairman of Trump's campaign, that he was traveling to Moscow to make a speech at the New Economic School.

An unverified dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele, which Page repeatedly referred to as the "dodgy dossier" said that Page was offered money from a deal privatizing a large portion of Rosneft past year.

Page said that before heading to Moscow, he informed then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski along with communications director Hope Hicks and J.D. Gordon, who was managing the candidate's national security team.

Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump as he ran for president previous year, told campaign aides he had gained "incredible insights" from Russian lawmakers and "senior members" of President Vladimir Putin's administration when he made a trip to Moscow in the midst of the US election.

Page has always maintained he went to Russian Federation as a private citizen and unrelated to the campaign to meet with academics and deliver a lecture, in which he stated that he was not there to represent Trump.

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In his July 2016 note, Page wrote that Dvorkovich had "expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to a vast range of current global problems". The Trump campaign knew about and had blessed Page's trip to meet with Russian officials, which means that the plausible deniability of blaming a few rogue actors inside the campaign has gone up in smoke, and if Jeff Sessions knew about the meetings, the revelation means a whole new world of trouble for the Attorney General.

Page's disclosure increases the pressure on Sessions ahead of a hearing scheduled for next week before the House Judiciary Committee.

At one point in the lead-up to the trip, however, Page pitched to campaign affiliates that Trump go in his place to Russian Federation.

For months, Page has denied meeting with Russian government officials while in Moscow.

"I had no coordination with him on that, no", Page testified.

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Page had consistently maintained that his trip to Moscow was to give a speech at a university.

Schiff's back-and-forth also included him citing an email that Page sent to the campaign in July where the adviser claimed he had "incredible insights and outreach that you received from Russian legislators and senior members, plural, of the presidential administration".

Page played down those comments, telling Schiff that his insights were drawn from listening to Dvorkovich's speech and public statements, and from reading the Russian press and watching Russian television. "It's important to remember that Carter Page and George Papadopoulos were peripheral members of a relatively peripheral advisory committee", he said. Some of his meals were also taken care of, according to Page's testimony, though some he paid for himself. It was on that trip that he met with the Russian officials.

Asked about the email, Page told lawmakers he did not mean that he had met with officials, but rather had learned of their views in local media, from scholars in Russian Federation and at a public speech given by Dvorkovich at a conference where Page was also speaking.Page said he had a "brief hello" with Dvorkovich.

Questioned by the committee, Page again denied meeting Sechin - but acknowledged he had met with other officials who work for Rosneft, the company Sechin leads, including the head of investor relations. When reporters began asking around past year about his Moscow trip, campaign officials stressed he had no formal role in the campaign.

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He said he was unaware at the time that Papadopoulos was making similar proposals for Trump to travel to Russian Federation, though he acknowledged he had received some of Papadopoulos' emails about Russian Federation.