Carter Page: Who is he and how is he linked to Trump?

As the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election continues, investigators are looking for information from one of President Trump’s campaign advisers, Carter Page.

Page, who was a foreign policy adviser to Trump when he was a candidate, has been asked by congressional investigators to turn over records pertaining to Russian contacts and communications for the past seven years.

During a lengthy testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee last week, Page said then-Sen. Jeff Sessions was aware of a trip he made to Russia during the campaign. That revelation contradicts what Sessions, now the attorney general, previously told the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

Here’s a look at who Page is and how he is connected to Trump.

Who is Carter Page?

Page, 46, is the founder and managing partner at Global Energy Capital LLC, an investment service company in New York. He was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch for seven years, having spent time in London and Moscow, in addition to New York, his biography on the company’s website said.

One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RC1F2B7C0A30

Carter Page was an adviser to Donald Trump when he was just a presidential candidate.  (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Page spent three years in Moscow, where he opened a Merrill Lynch office, according to his biography.

Much of Page’s life is relatively unknown. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and has an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

What is his connection to Trump?

Page is a former foreign policy adviser to Trump. He left the campaign after only a few months as his connections to Russian officials were questioned. He was also mentioned in the unverified dossier.

White House officials have sought to downplay the role he played in the campaign.

"I did nothing that could even possibly be viewed as helping them in any way," Page has told Fox News about his conversations with Russian officials.

TRUMP AND THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: WHAT TO KNOW

Foreign Policy reported in April 2017 that Russian intelligence agents once unsuccessfully tried to recruit Page as a spy in 2013. Page has contended that any information he shared with Russians was nothing more than "the same energy documents that [he] sent [and] gave" to his students at NYU. 

He also gave a lecture at a Russian school in 2016.

Trump has publicly defended Page. In May 2017, Trump accused congressional Democrats of blocking the former campaign adviser from testifying.

“So now it’s reported that the Democrats, who have excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don’t want him to testify. He blows away their case against him [and] now wants to clear his name by showing ‘the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan…’ Witch hunt!” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.

What has happened in congressional inquiries?

The Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Page last month, requesting records pertaining to Russian contacts from the past seven years. Page has expressed concern that the request could lead to “entrapment.” He told Fox News that the investigation is a “witch hunt” and said he is not “intimidated” by it.

WILL CARTER PAGE FACE LEGAL TROUBLES?

He previously asked to testify in an open session before House investigators as, he said, “it is important that the American public have an opportunity to hear the truth following the outrageous allegations that have been made against me on behalf of the Clinton campaign.”

Page has also said in a 23-page letter that he was monitored by the F.B.I. through a FISA warrant and “under the most intensive surveillance by the Obama administration as part of their 2016 domestic political intelligence operation.”

Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 2 without a lawyer present. He did invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was asked why he had not turned over documents the committee requested. 

He did testify that he had contact with a high-level Russian official while on a trip to Russia in 2016, according to transcripts of the hearing. During the trip, Page said he “briefly said hello” to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Page also testified that he had alerted then-Sen. Jeff Sessions – now the U.S. attorney general – of the trip he took to Russia, contradicting previous testimony given by Sessions. Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee in July that he wasn’t aware if Page traveled to Russia.

Additionally, Page testified that he did not have information about Russian election interference.