Carter Page, an early foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said Thursday that he “can’t definitively say” the issue of US sanctions on Russia “was never raised by anyone” while he was in Moscow last July.
Page’s conversations with Russian officials last summer have come under scrutiny since an unverified dossier about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia named Page as a liaison between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the election.
The dossier alleged that Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state oil company, offered Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. The dossier says the offer was made in July, when Page was in Moscow giving a speech at the Higher Economic School.
Page’s trips to Moscow and contact with at least one Russian official last year are now reportedly under FBI investigation, and The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FBI obtained a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant last summer to monitor his communications.
Page — an energy consultant who worked with Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom and later founded his own firm, Global Energy Capital, in 2011 — told Business Insider on Thursday that “there were never ever any negotiations or promises whatsoever by me” to Russian officials, “as per my conversation with Jake and in contrast to the false allegations in the Dodgy Dossier.”
Page told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that he “never said” anything about Trump being willing to lift sanctions on Russia if he won the election. But on Thursday morning, he appeared to shift his story after some pressing by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I mean, topics may have come … I don’t remember, we’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript,” Page said, moments after saying that he “absolutely” never discussed with anyone in Russia that Trump would be open to lifting sanctions.
“I don’t recall every single word that I ever said,” Page added.
“But what you’re saying is it’s possible that you may have discussed the easing of sanctions with the Russians,” said Stephanopoulos.
“Something may have come up … I have no recollection, and there is nothing specifically that I would have done that would have given people that impression,” Page replied.
Page told Business Insider later that there was “no shift” in his story.
The US’ sanctions on Russia “is a major issue in the Russian economy, for average individuals on the street even if it has had minimal impact on the senior people that have been directly targeted,” Page said. “I can’t definitively say it was never raised by anyone as mentioned this morning.”
Watch Page’s exchange with Stephanopoulos below:
“Something may have come up…I have no recollection.” Carter Page on if he ever discussed the easing of sanctions with the Russians. pic.twitter.com/O2buQV34W8
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 13, 2017
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