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In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 7, Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser Carter Page said he had “brief interactions” with Russian ‘junior attaché’ Victor Podobnyy in 2013—whom U.S. officials suspected was a spy.
Page did not go into detail about his meetings with Podobnyy—even as committee leaders continue to mull a subpoena to discover more about the former adviser’s interactions with the Russian attaché.
Instead, in nine pages addressed to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, Page accused the committee of “gangster tactics” and refused to divulge details of other, more recent contact he allegedly held with senior Russian officials during Trump’s campaign.
“Let us please move beyond the noise of last year’s pathetic lies by a bitter losing campaign,” Page wrote, “as we jointly refocus our attention on substantive and relevant matters that can help fix the direction of your Committee and this country.”
In the letter, Page stated he mentioned his meeting with Podobnyy when questioned by FBI agents in 2013. He also said President Barack Obama’s administration had details of his dealings with Russian officials because the FBI had him under surveillance.
The bureau put the former campaign adviser under surveillance less than a year ago, as part of its investigation into alleged coordination between Moscow and Trump’s election campaign team.
The warrant issued by the FBI reportedly stated there was reason to believe Page was acting on behalf of a foreign country by allegedly speaking with Russian operatives on behalf of the Trump campaign (the FBI has yet to complete its investigation of the matter).
Page has previously denied reports he was working for Russia, telling CNN in an interview the suggestion he did so was “beyond a joke.”
Page’s name appeared in an unverified private intelligence dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, which was released last summer and alleges he met with Russian officials during Trump’s campaign. Page has previously dismissed the information in the document, saying it’s bogus.
In his letter to the committee, Page claimed listing the contacts he has had with Russians would cost the committee “hundreds of hours” of work, and he described the request for information as “illogical”.
“As a perceived weaker party,” Page wrote, “I have also been effectively and falsely characterized as a narcissistic loony tune amidst other far worse false accusations by the Clinton/Obama regime.”
In the letter, Page acknowledged a minute financial interest in Russia between 2015 and 2016, stating he had previously sold shares in Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom—although he said this left him with a net loss of at least $5,000. He said had no further financial ties to the country.
He also criticized the communication methods of the Senate Intelligence Committee—in particular its alleged failure to respond to a number of queries Page claims he submitted in March.
Rather than responding to individual questions from Page, the former adviser claims he received a “massive information dump” from the committee.
“It seems logical that having an actual conversation like human beings might prove more productive,” Page wrote, “as you had originally offered and in contrast to the Big Brother methods of the Obama Administration in 2016.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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