A former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign whose communications reportedly were monitored by the FBI over suspicions he was acting as an agent of a foreign power refused to disclose who brought him onto the team in a Wednesday interview.
Carter Page’s connection to the Trump campaign received renewed attention after the Washington Post reported Tuesday that the FBI and Justice Department obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant last summer to keep track of his communications. Asked repeatedly by CNN’s Jake Tapper to “clear things up” by sharing the name of the individual who brought him onto the Trump team, Page demurred, saying he wanted to protect that person’s “privacy.”
“Was it Paul Manafort?” Tapper asked, referring to Trump’s former campaign chairman.
“It was not Paul Manafort,” Page replied. “I’ve never met Paul Manafort and I’ve never spoken with him. Again, out of respect to their privacy, if I told you a name, Jake, there would be dozens of phone calls on that individual’s phone within the next ten minutes.”
“Was it Sam Clovis?” Tapper pressed, referring to a top campaign policy adviser.
“I have no comment,” Page said, insisting the person’s name was “not relevant.”
“Someone was trying to bring you into the campaign, I’m trying to find out who it was,” Tapper said.
“It’s an irrelevant person,” Page said.
“He was not the first person that brought me in,” he added, presumably referring to Clovis. “I can assure you of that.”
“At least we know it was a man,” Tapper snarked.
Page previously made headlines for confirming that he met briefly with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and also confirming that he met with and passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in 2013.
“I didn’t want to be a spy,” Page told ABC News after his 2013 meeting was first made public last week. “I’m not a spy.”
The Trump team has sought to diminish its relationship with Page, who left the campaign in September 2016. An anonymous GOP source close to the White House, and Page himself, both insisted to NBC News that Page actually never met Trump. The GOP source also said Page had no official title, was never on staff and received no compensation for his role.
This information conflicts with Page’s conversation with Tapper, in which he accepted the premise that some individual brought him onto the Trump campaign in an advisory role.