CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Carter Page repeatedly if he had any relationships with Russian government officials, and Page responded by dodging the questions.
Page wouldn’t answer the singular most important question about his relationships with Russian government officials.
Here is one segment of the transcript that shows how Page tried to dodge:
TAPPER: Well, let me ask you. You keep saying this is spin. But if you could just directly answer the questions, it’d be great.
TAPPER: It says — the application also says that you — quote — “established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.”
You’re telling me that they pulled that out of thin air? You have no relationships with Russian government officials? You have already told me and this audience that you weren’t an informal adviser to the Kremlin in 2013. You have relationships with Russian government officials, right?
PAGE: Well, let’s see what they’re — what they’re referring to specifically.
As you correctly noted, there’s a ton of information that’s blacked out. If you read Mr. Clapper and co.’s DNI report of January 6 2017, there’s a big, long section in there about how R.T. and Sputnik, these Russian propaganda agencies, allegedly were influencing the elections.
I mean, now we know that — through these documents that the — that the defamatory article in September 23, 2016, was used as a central source of this.
So, really, again, it’s another situation of the pot calling the kettle black. And the fact that you have this $500 million-plus-a- year organization, Broadcasting Board of Governors, funding this ridiculous smear campaign…
TAPPER: Well, but, Carter, Carter, you didn’t answer — I mean, you have relationships with Russian government officials, true, yes?
PAGE: Well, I — let’s see what they’re talking about. I talked with a few…
TAPPER: I’m just asking you a straight question. Do you have relationships with Russian government officials?
I can tell you, I don’t. But, then again, you lived in Russia. You’re an academic. You have worked in energy in Russia. You went there in 2016 to speak at a commencement address.
Do you have relationships with Russian government officials?
PAGE: Well, the main one that they’re focusing on, Jake, if you read through the full 400-plus pages…
The interview ended with Tapper thanking Page for taking his questions, which is different from answering them.
Carter Page is causing Trump more problems
The interview with Tapper was a disaster. The obvious reason why Page wouldn’t answer the question about his relationships with Russian government officials is that he is guilty. Page was pulling from Trump’s playbook. He was trying to discredit the evidence and deflect. All Carter Page managed to do in the Tapper interview was call attention to the fact that didn’t deny his relationships with Russian government officials.
The Russia scandal has moved to a different plane of political conversation. When a Trump foreign policy advisor doesn’t answer questions about his relationships with Russian government officials, that is a problem for Trump. It shines more light on the sort of people who were involved with the Trump campaign and the connections that they had.
This story is not going away, and the more people like Carter Page talk, the worse it gets for Donald Trump.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association