On Thursday, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, admitted that he told Jeff Sessions that he was traveling to Russia during the campaign.
In closed-door testimony, Page described the conversation that he had with Session in which he told the then-senator that he was taking a trip to Russia in July 2016, though Page told CNN after his testimony that the trip had nothing to do with the campaign.
“Back in June 2016, I mentioned in passing that I happened to be planning to give a speech at a university in Moscow,” Page told CNN, noting that it was the only time he had interacted with Sessions.
“Completely unrelated to my limited volunteer role with the campaign and as I’ve done dozens of times throughout my life. Understandably, it was as irrelevant then as it is now. If it weren’t for the dodgy dossier and all the chaos that those complete lies had created, my passing comment’s complete lack of relevance should go without saying.”
Page has faced scrutiny for his connections to Russia, especially because he was a visible force pushing for better relations with Russia on national television.
What’s more, this puts a spotlight on Sessions, who was put under a microscope in three different congressional hearings. The Page testimony once more raises doubts as to how much Sessions knew about contacts with Russia when he did not reveal any such knowledge during his testimonies.
However, Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the House intelligence committee investigation, downplayed the testimony, saying, “I don’t make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other. If I were Sessions, I wouldn’t have recalled it either. It was just in passing. He was walking out of the room. A guy he had never met before, grabs him, ‘Hey, I’m out on the team. I changed my travel plans to go to Russia.’”