More than two decades after penning an academic paper examining the tensions between the executive branch and Congress over national defense secrets, Carter Page is now at the center of a controversy involving similar issues.
“It is true that congressional leaks may be used as potent political devices,” wrote Page, who now finds himself in a heated battle over the role of Congress, the handling of classified information and suspected Russian collusion.
Page, who served as a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign in 2016, gave an interview Tuesday to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” in which he discussed the specifics of his role.
He revealed that he never spoke with then-candidate Donald Trump.
“You’ve been under surveillance … since October 2016,” said ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “Since that time, have you ever spoken to Donald Trump?”
“I never spoke with him since,” Page answered. “I never spoke with him any time in my life.”
“You’ve never spoken with Donald Trump in your life?” Stephanopoulos pressed. “No email, no text, nothing like that?”
“Never,” Page said.
However, the former campaign advise has remained in the spotlight, particularly with the Friday release of a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo compiled by Republicans that alleges the Obama DOJ abused the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act to surveil the Trump campaign.
The four-page document — produced by intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes — accuses senior DOJ officials of relying on information from the unverified Trump-Russia dossier to obtain warrants to spy on the campaign. The dossier itself, though, was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, who were looking to dig up dirt on the opposition.
Though Page has been at the center of the memo, some law enforcement officials have admitted that his role is less prominent — if nonexistent — in regard to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Page, who has viciously denied accusations of being a Russian spy, has been open about his ties to Russia, and has even gone so far as to call himself a Kremlin adviser in a 2013 letter that he later made public.
“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” the letter read.
“The main ‘issue’ is a perennial misunderstanding about Russia that’s continued throughout much of the past century, particularly in Washington,” Page told NBC News last week.
Moreover, some on Capitol Hill have deemed the controversial memo misleading, with the House Intelligence Committee voting unanimously to release a document rebutting its accusations.
That document will be going to Trump, who can choose whether or not he wants the information to be released.
Though Page testified last year before the intelligence committee as part of the Russia investigation, he admitted in a recent interview that the GOP memo is “even worse than I could have possibly imagined,” according to The Hill.
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