Trump aide admits to meeting with senior Russian officials

Ex-campaign foreign policy adviser testifies to July 2016 meeting

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WASHINGTON — Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page told congressional investigators that he spoke privately with Russia’s deputy prime minister and several legislators during a campaign-approved trip to Moscow in July 2016, the latest member of the Trump team to belatedly acknowledge contacts with Russian officials last year.

During seven hours of closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 2, Page contradicted his previous public denials of any meetings with Russian government officials. He also urged the campaign to send Donald Trump to Moscow instead of him to “raise the temperature a little bit,” according to an email obtained by the committee.

Page became at least the ninth member of President Trump’s campaign team or White House staff to confirm direct contact with senior officials in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government during the 2016 campaign or during the transition, a pattern that has created a growing headache for the White House.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and several congressional committees are investigating whether those meetings and communications illegally aided Moscow’s ambitious attempts to interfere with the U.S. election campaign through hacking of Democratic Party emails, social media posts and ads, and other efforts.

Page, a Manhattan-based energy consultant, was unknown to foreign policy veterans in Washington when then-presidential candidate Trump named him to a small team of foreign policy advisers in March 2016.

After his visit to Moscow that July, Page reported to campaign officials in an email that he had received “incredible insights and outreach” from his discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, from members of the Russian legislature, known as the Duma, and from “senior members” of Putin’s government.