The FBI has conducted five interviews with Carter Page about his contacts with Russian operatives and his work as an adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Page confirmed the meetings to the Post, and told the newspaper that he denied any wrongdoing during the “extensive discussions” he had with federal agents. The Post reported that there were five separate March meetings, amounting to ten hours of questioning in all.
In an email, Page told TPM that the agents who interviewed him “indicated that their ‘management’ was concerned that I did not believe the conclusions” of the intelligence community’s Jan. 6 report asserting that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Calling that report “fake,” Page added that agents’ questions were “MOSTLY RELATED TO FALSE ALLEGATIONS FROM THE DODGY DOSSIER AND THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN.”
Page has adopted that phrase to refer to a largely unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer, which was published by BuzzFeed in January, that alleged he and other Trump associates were involved with a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin.
In an unusual move for someone under FBI scrutiny, Page has not retained a lawyer, and has taken to writing long letters addressed to the congressional committees investigating the Trump team’s potential connections to Russia, quibbling with bits of witnesses’ testimony or about scheduling a date when he can come testify before the committees himself. He told the Post he did not bring a lawyer to his interviews with the FBI because he was not worried about unlawfully misrepresenting any information to agents.
Page advised the Trump team on national security policy for a few short months before he was dropped over his connections to Russia. The oil-and-gas industry expert previously worked in Russia for Merill Lynch, provided information to undercover Russian spies in 2013, and gave a speech in Moscow in the middle of the 2016 campaign that criticized U.S. sanctions against Russia.
He has strenuously denied engaging in any untoward behavior, framing himself as a victim of what he calls the “Clinton-Obama-Comey regime.”
The Post noted that Page’s interviews, which took place about a month before special counsel Robert Mueller assumed control of the sprawling federal probe, are the most extensive known questioning of any Trump associate. Mueller’s office is working to determine whether anyone involved in Trump’s campaign wittingly or unwittingly assisted Russia with its efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.