A one-time foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign denied Monday afternoon that he had ever sought to become a Russian spy.
“I didn’t want to be a spy,” Carter Page told ABC News. “I’m not a spy.”
Page, whom the Trump administration has portrayed as a minor player in the 2016 campaign, and who stepped down from his advisory job after it was revealed that the FBI was investigating his possible ties to Kremlin-aligned Russian figures during a trip to Moscow, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he gave information to undercover Russian agents in 2013.
Two of those agents were under cover of diplomatic immunity when they were charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting a third agent, who was not officially working in a diplomatic capacity and served time in an Ohio prison for conspiring to act as a foreign agent.
According to ABC News, FBI court filings revealed that spy recruiters were overheard telling one of the agents, Evgeny Buryakov, about “the attempted use of Male-1 as an intelligence source for Russia.” Page confirmed to Buzzfeed that he is “Male-1.”
According to the FBI’s filings, ABC reported, Page and one of the agents discussed business, and Page emphasized his ties to the Russian energy giant Gazprom. The agents were later heard laughing, according to the filings, and saying that Page didn’t know they were government agents.
“I shared basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents with Podobny who then served as a junior attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations,” Page said in a statement to ABC, before explaining that the information was culled from lectures he was giving at the time at New York University.
Watch clips of ABC News’ interview with Page below: