Former Trump adviser Carter Page also met with Russian envoyPolitico reports that when Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak traveled to the GOP convention last summer, he met with then Sen. Jeff Sessions, as well as with two other Trump campaign advisers, including oil industry consultant Carter Page.
Page, at the time an unpaid foreign policy adviser to Trump, engaged in a conversation with the ambassador at the same July 20 luncheon in Cleveland where Sessions, now attorney general, and Kislyak chatted, according to J.D. Gordon, a national security adviser to the Trump campaign who was also present at the lunch.
Page declined to comment Thursday about what he and the Russian ambassador discussed, saying it was a private, off-the-record conversation. “Everyone assumes everything is nefarious!” Page said a text message. “Thanks, but no comment.”
Contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign staff are now the subject of investigations by the FBI and congressional committees into Russian interference in the election, and whether Trump campaign representatives played any role in it. On Thursday, Sessions recused himself from investigations into Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
The disclosure that other Trump officials met with Kislyak raise additional questions about White House assertions that the Trump campaign had little or no contact with Russian officials prior to the election.
Page’s conversation with Kislyak just days after news reports of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee is part of a broader pattern of activity by Page that raised U.S. suspicions about his interactions with the Russians, according to a former Obama White House official. At the time of the lunch, Page had just returned from a trip to Moscow.
The official said the Obama administration was gravely concerned in its final days about increasingly apparent ties between Trump associates and Russians, and about what appeared to be promises made by more than one individual to people affiliated with Russian President Vladimir Putin about policy changes that would occur once Trump was sworn in as president. The Obama official declined to discuss specifics but said Page was one of the Trump associates whose activities had drawn the most U.S. attention and concern.