Former Trump Aides Now Being Investigated by FBI Say They Did NOT Have Repeated Contact with Russian Officials During the Campaign
Paul Manafort and Carter Page have come forward to deny allegations that they had repeated contact with Russian officials throughout the presidential campaign, according to CBS News.
Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to President Trump, called the allegations, “completely fabricated by paid consultants and private investigators.”
Both Page and Manafort have both had extensive business ties to Russia, but there's no evidence to indicate the existence of any improper relationship between them and the Russian government.
Page had come under fire due to his business ties in Russia through an energy investment firm he founded, but he denied being in constant contact with any Russian government officials throughout the campaign, saying “I have only said hello to a few Russian officials over the course of the last year or so.”
After a speech he gave in Moscow at a policy conference just before the 2016 Republican National Convention, Page came forward to reiterate that he had not been in Moscow as a representative of the Trump campaign, and was only in Moscow to discuss his academic views.
Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, had worked previously as a political consultant in the Ukrainian government under Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Manafort had helped Yanukovych secure a victory in his election in 2010, but Yanukovych would ultimately flee to Russia in 2014 following protests and allegations that he was making decisions for Ukraine under the influence of the Russian government.
According to CBS News, neither Page nor Manafort has been contacted by the FBI about any investigation into their dealings with Russian officials.
After National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned his post on Monday due to pressure related to potentially improper contact he may have had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, there has been renewed pressure for a full investigation into any potential illicit dealings the Trump campaign may have had with Russian officials.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump campaign officials, including Manafort and Page, had been in contact with Russian intelligence officers throughout the campaign, but their report also indicates that there is currently no evidence of cooperation between the two parties.