Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Tuesday denied a report that he informed the Senate Intelligence Committee he would refuse to appear before the panel to answer questions in its investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
As Page told TPM, he remains eager to do so, but wants to testify publicly. He said he was offering to appear at a Nov. 1 open hearing on the role social media played in influencing U.S. voters.
At the same time, however, Page confirmed Politico’s reporting that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid turning documents over to the committee.
Page told TPM that the committee asked for information on “every aspect of my life”—a request that he said goes beyond the confines of the panel’s investigation. Pointing to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant that the Washington Post reported the FBI took out to monitor his communications, Page said that intelligence agencies already had access to all the relevant information they needed to know.
“Asking for more information is by definition a false testimony/perjury trap,” Page said in a Wednesday phone call. “They’ll say, ‘You said X and Y, but we see you also see you also said X, Y and Z. It makes no sense at all.”
Page did not elaborate on how testifying publicly precluded the possibility that he could contradict the information intelligence agencies may have collected about him.
This unusual legal strategy is of Page’s own design. The former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, who is under scrutiny for his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 race, is representing himself in federal and multiple congressional investigations.
It’s unclear if the committee has formally invited Page to testify or considered his offer to appear on Nov. 1. A spokeswoman did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.
Page claims to have sent lengthy letters to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees refuting any inappropriate contacts with Kremlin-linked officials and accusing lawmakers of engaging in a “witch hunt.” He also released those letters to reporters.
The energy consultant has been more forthcoming with federal investigators looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, sitting down for some ten hours of interviews with FBI agents earlier this year.
This post has been updated.