Trump campaign adviser Page met Russian officials in 2016 Moscow trip

Posted November 05, 2017

According to documents unsealed Monday, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, frequently communicated with Russians about arranging a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and even pitched a potential summit to Sessions and Trump at a meeting of the then-candidate's foreign policy team on March 31, 2016.

"Jeff Sessions was the head of the national security operation" in Trump's campaign, Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview. The trip was "completely unrelated to my limited volunteer role with the campaign and as I've done dozens of times throughout my life".

However, according to court documents unsealed this week by special counsel Robert Mueller -the chief investigator in the Russia probe- the attorney general was at a meeting in which members of the Trump campaign discussed meeting with Russian officials who claimed to have "dirt" on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Jeff Sessions testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington in October.

"I don't know", Trump told reporters Friday on the White House lawn as he prepared to board Marine One for the first leg of trip to Asia.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday evening. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other.

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Reported testimony from former campaign policy adviser Carter Page only adds to questions about what Sessions knew. He also testified that he was "not aware" of anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicating with the Russians.

On Wednesday, Democrats said Sessions needs to clarify his comments.

"The attorney general has been entirely truthful and consistent on this matter", the source said, referring to Sessions' testimony before Congress where he rejected the notion of meetings and interactions with Russians during the campaign season.

Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 in Republican leadership who serves on the intelligence and judiciary panels, said he was unaware of Sessions' attendance at that meeting until now.

It's possible Papadopoulos may have been at Trump events that Sessions also attended, including a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club with some members of the foreign policy committee during the summer of 2016, the person said. "And I am very frustrated by that", he said. Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation and Moscow denies interfering in the 2016 election.

Asked at a Senate hearing last month whether he believed Trump campaign surrogates had communications with Russians, Sessions replied, "I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did, and I don't believe it happened". The documents seem to show George Papadopoulos was the adviser who offered to set up the meeting.