After testifying to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Thursday, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page told CNN that he told Jeff Sessions that he had plans to travel to Russia in July 2016.
“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. “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 told CNN that it was the only time he met Sessions, who at the time was a national security adviser to the campaign and now serves as attorney general.
Page said that he told this to the House Intelligence Committee, and the Republican leading the committee’s Russia probe, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) confirmed that to CNN. Conaway said that Page told the committee that Sessions did not react to Page’s heads up about the trip.
“I don’t make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other,” Conaway told CNN. “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.'”
Page’s claim that he told Sessions about an upcoming trip to Russia comes after a guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe revealed that a campaign aide, George Papadopolous, had conversations several people with ties to the Russian government and wanted to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sessions was reportedly present at a campaign meeting where Papadopolous floated the Trump-Putin meeting.