An adviser to Donald Trump criticized United States policy toward Russia in a July trip to Moscow, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday. The trip came the week before the Trump campaign reportedly worked to soften language in the Republican party platform regarding U.S. support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.
“Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change,” Trump adviser Carter Page said in a speech at a graduate school in Moscow in July, according to Huffington Post.
He also called for the U.S. to lift sanctions on Russia that were put in place after the annexation of Crimea.
Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who has advised pro-Russian Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, has denied that the campaign tried to change the platform, and there’s no evidene that Page was involved.
This all comes as Trump has praised Russian Leader Vladimir Putin, suggested he won’t support NATO allies, said he would look into recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea, and called for a better relationship with Russia.
Page has investments in the Russian energy giant Gazprom, and consults businesses looking to work with Russian entities, according to the Huffington Post. And he told Bloomberg News in March that U.S. sanctions on Russia have hurt his business.
“So many people who I know and have worked with have been so adversely affected by the sanctions policy,” Page told Bloomberg in March. “There’s a lot of excitement in terms of the possibilities for creating a better situation.”
In his July speech in Moscow, Page said that if the U.S. were to lift sanctions on Russia, American companies could begin to work with Russian entities in the oil business, according to the Huffington Post.
Trump has denied that he has any business investments in Russia, but he has yet to address whether Russian businesses entities are invested in his projects.