Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser for the Donald Trump presidential campaign, said Monday on MSNBC that he was likely on email chains with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos last year and that in some of those messages Russia “may have come up.”
Papadopoulos’ role in the Trump campaign was thrust into headlines on Monday following a federal grand jury indictment of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime associate Rick Gates. While the indictments were headline news, many say the bigger revelation centered on the 30-year-old Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser who has been working with special counsel Robert Mueller since his secret arrest in July.
Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a conversation he had with a Kremlin-linked professor who told him he had “dirt” on presidential rival Hillary Clinton that stemmed from “thousands of emails,” according to court documents.
Page, whom MSNBC host Chris Hayes congratulated on “not being indicted” himself at the start of the segment, was asked if he had met Papadopoulos and if they were on emails together when they were both working for the Trump campaign. Page said they had met “briefly a couple of times early in the campaign” and, when pressed, said they were on “probably a few emails” together.
“Perhaps, yeah,” he told Hayes when asked again if such messages exist. Asked twice if those emails mentioned Russia in any capacity, Page said, “It may have come up from time to time,” though he specified such references included “nothing major.”
Page’s comments appear to partially rebut an assertion made by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday to play down Papadopoulos’ role, saying he was simply “a member of a volunteer council.”
“He was part of a list that was read out in The Washington Post,” Sanders said during a White House press briefing. “I hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or, as you want to push, that he is like a senior member of the staff. He was not paid by the campaign.”
Page met with the Senate Intelligence Committee for five hours Friday and is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 2. He told Hayes on Monday that he appeared without a lawyer in front of the Senate and that he wants “to get the truth out there.” He noted that “some people are helping me,” when asked if he had personal legal representation, and that he had an “informal adviser.”
At the end of the segment, Hayes thanked Carter for his appearance and had this to say about his willingness to talk about his time working for Trump:
“I legitimately hope you’re innocent of everything, because you’re doing a lot of talking,” Hayes said. “It’s either admirably bold, or reckless.”