WASHINGTON — A congressional committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election released a transcript late Monday of a seven-hour interview lawmakers conducted last week behind closed doors with Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
Some details from the interview were previously known, including the fact that Mr. Page traveled to Russia in summer 2016, when he was part of the campaign.
But the interview revealed new information about who in the campaign knew about the trip, what Mr. Page reported to the campaign and other trips he took last year.
Below are excerpts and key takeaways from the transcript.
It was widely known in the Trump campaign that Mr. Page was going to visit Russia in July 2016.
Mr. Page testified that he told at least four members of the campaign about his trip. Among the officials were the president’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski; Jeff Sessions, who served as a senior campaign official at the time and is now the attorney general; Hope Hicks, a campaign spokeswoman who now serves as the White House communications director; and J. D. Gordon, a foreign policy adviser.
MR. PAGE: I had just mentioned that — I forget the exact specifics, but I had mentioned to them, it was Corey Lewandowski and I believe Hope Hicks and J. D., just that I had received this invitation, you know, just wanted to let you know. And I forget the exact terminology.
MR. PAGE: So Corey said, if you have interest, you know, if it’s — I forget the exact terms, but, you know, if you have — I’ll add that to the record. But essentially he said, we can — if you’re not going to — you know, it has nothing —
REPRESENTATIVE TREY GOWDY, REPUBLICAN OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
MR. PAGE: No, not — not — if — you know, if you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.
Mr. Page contradicted his previous public statements that he never met with Russian government officials during his trip.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM B. SCHIFF, DEMOCRAT OF CALIFORNIA: So, Dr. Page, two days ago, you told the public on television you had no meetings with anyone except essentially the man on the street, correct?
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MR. SCHIFF: Two minutes ago, you said you had no private meeting with Arkadiy. Is that correct?
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MR. SCHIFF: And now you say you did have a private conversation with him on the subject of U.S.-Russia relations.
After meeting with government officials in Russia, Mr. Page reported to the campaign about his contacts.
MR. SCHIFF: Following your meeting, your trip to Russia, did you send a memo back to the campaign that conveyed the results of your trip to Russia?
MR. PAGE: I did offer some thoughts about some of my takeaways and experiences there, yes.
MR. SCHIFF: And in that document, Dr. Page, didn’t you state, on Thursday and Friday, July 7 and 8, 2016: “Campaign Adviser Carter Page” — you’re referring to yourself in the third person — “presented before gatherings at the New Economic School, N.E.S., in Moscow, including their 2006 commencement ceremony. Russian Deputy Prime Minister and N.E.S. board member Arkadiy Dvorkovich also spoke before the event. In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems”? This is a document Bates stamped Dr. Page, did you write that?
MR. PAGE: I did. It was a general sentiment of, you know, hope for the future. That’s all he expressed in that brief hello.
Mr. Page had difficulty recalling why he went to Budapest for the meetings and whom he met with.
Along with traveling to Russia last summer, Mr. Page went to Budapest, where he met with Hungarian government officials, including the Hungarian ambassador to the United States at the time, whom he had met that July at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
MR. SCHIFF: And was the purpose of your trip to Budapest in the late summer to visit with the ambassador?
MR. PAGE: It was — I’ve actually been working on a renewable energy project. Or it’s one of the projects we’ve been looking at. And so there’s an energy entrepreneur — there’s geothermal springs and developments going on in Hungary, and they’ve been pitching that for quite some time to me. And so, when she mentioned she might be there that time and, you know, it’d be interesting to — just offered to meet up and maybe meet with a few people, I figured that might be a good opportunity to do something which I had been hoping to do for some time.
MR. SCHIFF: So this conversation you had with the Hungarian ambassador at the Republican convention, you discussed a potential energy-related project with her?
MR. PAGE: I can’t remember if I — we were talking more just foreign policy things.
Mr. Page raised the possibility with campaign officials of Mr. Trump traveling to Russia to take Mr. Page’s place at the graduation where Mr. Page was scheduled to deliver a speech.
“I got another idea,” Mr. Page said in an email to Mr. Gordon and Walid Phares, also a campaign adviser.
“If he’d like to take my place and raise the temperature a little bit, of course I’d be more than happy to yield this honor to him.”
Mr. Page told lawmakers that for Mr. Trump, the trip would be similar to the one that Barack Obama made to Germany during the 2008 presidential campaign. Around the time that Mr. Page proposed the idea, George Papadopoulos, another foreign policy aide, was also pushing for Mr. Trump to travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Page told lawmakers that he did not know that Mr. Papadopoulos was pushing a similar idea.
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