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Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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The full transcript of Carter Page’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee released Monday night sheds some new light on his contacts with Russian officials and how he relayed those conversations to the Trump campaign.

Though much of what Page discussed had previously been leaked to the press or discussed by other Trump campaign advisers, the 243-page transcript yielded some key new information.

For the first time, Page acknowledged that he had a “private conversation” with Russia’s deputy foreign minister during a July 2016 trip to Moscow. He also told lawmakers that he communicated with members of the Trump campaign about what he would say in a speech he delivered during that visit, contradicting previous statements about making the trip in his capacity as a private citizen.

The transcript of Page’s testimony, which was made public by his request, also lays bare the frustration felt by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who tried to keep the questioning on track.

Some highlights from Page’s meandering, nearly eight-hour-long interview are below.

Page confirmed Trump campaign altered Ukraine platform

The Trump campaign has quibbled about the extent of its involvement in softening the language on Ukraine in the GOP platform during the Republican National Convention, but Page confirmed that staffers were directly involved.

“As for the Ukraine amendment, excellent work,” Page wrote in a July 14, 2016 email to fellow Trump aide J.D. Gordon and several others.

Page said the email reflected his “personal opinion” and denied personally having any involvement in the change, which removed language promising that the U.S. would provide “lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian army to fend off Russian military intervention. The revised text instead offered “appropriate assistance.”

Though Gordon and others on the campaign have strenuously denied involvement, Texas delegate Diana Denman previously told TPM that he halted the national security committee’s discussion of her original amendment to “clear it with New York.” Denman said this was the only amendment set before the committee that she recalled Trump staffers intervening to table.

Like Papadopoulos, Page seemed to overstate his insider knowledge

Like George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian connections, Page seemed to overstate his insider knowledge about Russian politics.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) pressed Page to account for an email he sent after his July 2016 trip to deliver a speech at Moscow’s New Economic School promising campaign staffers “some incredible insights and outreach” he received from “a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here.”

It turns out those “insights” were gleaned from watching TV.

Page told Schiff that all he meant to convey in that email was that he would pass on “general things that I learned from listening to speeches” and “watching Russian TV in my few days in Moscow.”

Schiff replied, “This is not what you conveyed to the campaign.”

Page also notified campaign staffers that he would “speak alongside the chairman and CEO of Sberbank,” one of Russia’s largest financial institutions, during that visit. He told the committee that the Sberbank CEO “didn’t actually show up at all.”

Page proposed having Trump travel to Russia

In another similarity to Papadopoulos, Page thought it would be a good idea for Trump to travel to Russia in the middle of the campaign, despite scrutiny of the GOP candidate’s friendly rhetoric towards Russia.

In a May 16, 2016 email to Gordon and fellow campaign adviser Walid Phares, Page suggested that Trump could “raise the temperature a little bit” by traveling to Russia in his stead, and that he would be “more than happy to yield this honor to him.”

Page told the committee he did not know that Papadopoulos was separately pushing a Trump trip to Russia, and that he was “envisioning” a visit akin to Barack Obama’s well-received 2008 trip to Germany as a Democratic presidential candidate.

Lawmakers from both parties seemed frustrated by the rambling conversation

Throughout the interview, Page repeatedly provided more information than lawmakers requested or insisted that he’d had no contact with a certain individual only to double-back and say he may have actually met them in passing. These rhetorical tics seemed to grate on his questioners.

Schiff, in particular, repeatedly told Page that he was “not asking” for the answers he provided. He chided the former Trump aide for responding to questions about his Russia contacts with answers about Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Page’s own writings on lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was similarly withering in an exchange in which he asked Page to define the words collusion, coordination and conspiracy. When Page replied that all seem to refer to “things you shouldn’t be doing,” Gowdy cracked that “you can coordinate lunch,” and continued to push the point until Page provided straight answers.

CNN reported that lawmakers described Page’s testimony as occasionally confusing and contradictory.

The campaign tried to distance itself from Page

Towards the end of his marathon testimony, Page revealed that the Trump campaign and transition tried to sever ties with him early this year as the FBI investigation was ramping up.

Page divulged that he received letters in January from the campaign’s law firm, Jones Day, instructing him not to “give the wrong impression that you’re part of the administration or the Trump campaign.”

Page said he had never misstated his relationship to the campaign, and only spoke to the media “to try to clear up this massive mess which has been created about my name.”

Trump staffers apparently tried to cut off these conversations with the press. Page said he had his first and only conversation with Steve Bannon in mid-January, when the former White House chief strategist contacted Page to tell him it was “probably not a good idea” for him to appear on MSNBC.

Page told lawmakers he understood Trump staffers’ concerns and lamented that he was “the biggest embarrassment surrounding the campaign.”

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The House Intelligence Committee on Monday night released the full, unclassified transcript that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s provided in closed-door testimony last week.

This release was specifically requested by Page, who spent months going back and forth with lawmakers over the terms of his testimony and which requested documents he would agree to produce. The former Trump foreign policy aide met with the Senate Intelligence Committee last week as well, and sat for some 10 hours of interviews with the FBI about his contacts with Russia in multiple interviews this spring.

Page has consistently dismissed investigations into that country’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, referring to them as a “witch hunt.”

The full 243-page document is below.

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A barrage of reports over the weekend divulged what was framed as a major new development in the Russia investigation: former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page admitted that he met with a senior Kremlin official during a July 2016 trip to Moscow.

But we already knew this detail. In an interview with the Washington Post over a year ago, Page acknowledged that he met and shook hands with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich during a graduation event at the New Economic School, where both men were invited to give speeches.

It is Page’s subsequent downplaying of that encounter that made it seem like a new revelation when reports emerged that Page divulged the encounter in his lengthy closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee late last week. By repeatedly insisting he met mostly with “scholars” and had no formal meetings with Russian government officials on his Moscow jaunt, Page turned his run-in with Dvorkovich into red meat for hawk-eyed reporters looking for any discrepancy in how Trump campaign staffers describe their contacts with Russia.

In text messages to TPM on Monday, Page reiterated that he “covered this irrelevant point” in that September 2016 interview with the Post and that the renewed focus on the meeting was a “complete waste of time.” He added that he had “moved on to more important things.”

A review of that original story shows that his description of the run-in has stayed consistent. He volunteered to Post columnist Josh Rogin that he met and shook hands with Dvorkovich at the event in an “exchange of pleasantries.” On Friday, he told the New York Times that he said “a very brief hello to a couple of people,” including a “senior person” who he later told CNN was Dvorkovich.

What seems to have gotten Page in trouble is his overly strict definition of what constitutes a “meeting.” In his many conversations with the press over the past year, Page adamantly denied that he ever met with Russian government officials over the course of the 2016 campaign.

Asked by PBS in February if he’d had “any meetings with Russian officials in or outside of Russia” in 2016, Page replied, “no meetings, no meetings. I might have said hello to a few people as they were walking by me at my graduation—the graduation speech that I gave in July, but no meetings.”

As the Times noted, in multiple conversations with the newspaper about his Moscow trip he either denied meeting with any Russian government figures or avoided the question by saying he met with “mostly scholars.”

These blanket denials came back to bite him before, when he was forced to admit in March that he had also exchanged a quick hello with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention. The situation played out again this weekend because Page has insisted these encounters with high-level Kremlin figures were not long or involved enough to qualify as “meetings.”

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Safely ensconced in Moscow, the Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties who met with three top Trump campaign figures at Trump Tower last summer is now offering her own version of what went down at the private meeting that has become a central focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In an interview with Bloomberg published Monday, attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya claims that Donald Trump Jr. suggested that a law imposing sanctions on high-profile Russians could be reviewed if his father was elected and also requested written evidence for her allegations about Hillary Clinton’s campaign receiving illicit funds.

Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg she is prepared to provide this account to the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as to special counsel Robert Mueller. She said that she would only testify before Congress if her answers were made public—a condition that the committee has not yet agreed to.

This is the first time Veselnitskaya has offered details of her version of the June 2016 sit-down at Trump Tower. Her willingness to testify highlights the precarious position of Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who were all in attendance at the meeting, which didn’t become public until after Trump took office. The eldest Trump son eagerly accepted an invitation to the meeting, which was billed as an opportunity to receive Russian government “dirt” on Clinton.

Though both Veselnitskaya and the Trump campaign have said the encounter was a bust and that she possessed no valuable information about the Democratic candidate, Mueller is investigating their exchange as part of his probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s attorney, told Bloomberg that his client had no comment on the interview.

As Veselnitskaya recalled, Trump Jr. offered to review the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on a group of Russian officials implicated in the murder of a Russian accountant who exposed widespread government tax fraud. The law is a particular irritant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who retaliated against its passage by barring Americans from adopting Russian children.

“Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,’’ Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg, allegedly quoting Trump Jr.

She told the publication that Trump’s son also asked for financial documents that would support her claims that Clinton’s campaign may have received money from wealthy donors who allegedly evaded U.S. taxes, which she could not provide.

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Carter Page acknowledged Friday that he was copied on an email chain in which fellow Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos suggested hooking the Trump team up with Russian government officials.

“I was one of many people on that email chain,” the perpetually chatty Page told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an on-air interview.

The March 24, 2016 email in question was highlighted in the plea agreement Papadopoulos entered into after lying to FBI agents about the extent of his contacts with individuals like Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor of diplomacy who allegedly spent months trying to connect Papadopoulos with Russian officials.

In it, Papadopoulos said he was taking steps “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump,” according to court records. The email went to “several members of the Campaign’s foreign policy team,” prosecutors alleged. Among those receiving the email, it has since been reported, was Sam Clovis, who told Papadopoulos: “Great work.”

Page told CNN that he had never heard about Mifsud’s subsequent offer to provide Russian government “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, which was also detailed in court records

He told Tapper his interactions with Papadopoulos during the campaign were limited to a “couple of brief conversations” and a “few emails.”

Page also divulged that he had told “a few other people” on the campaign that he planned to travel to Moscow in July 2016 to deliver a speech in his capacity as a private citizen. News that he had mentioned the visit to Attorney General Jeff Sessions drew headlines, as it complicated Sessions’ claims that he did not know about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts.

Asked who else was informed, Page played coy, saying, “It will come out.”

Politico previously reported that Page told then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, his fellow national security adviser J.D. Gordon, and spokeswoman Hope Hicks about the trip.

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Democrats on Capitol Hill want answers from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

This week’s deluge of fresh information from congressional and federal investigators revealed two previously undisclosed instances in which Sessions was allegedly directly informed about contacts between Russia and Trump campaign staffers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Though Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cautioned that perjury allegations were based on a “very careful standard,” he and other top Democrats claim Sessions appears to have failed to disclose the extent of what he knew about these contacts in his testimony to Congress.

That testimony has varied in its specificity. In June, Sessions gave a flat “no” to the Senate Intelligence Committee when asked if he was “aware of any communications” between Trump campaign officials “about Russia or Russian interests in the United States” prior to Trump’s inauguration. He offered a narrower response before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October, saying only that he had seen nothing “that would indicate collusion with Russians to impact the campaign” when asked if he’d ever overheard conversations with campaign staffers “who talked about meeting with the Russians.”

However Sessions chooses to interpret lawmakers’ questions, we now know of at least three instances in which he was allegedly told about or personally participated in communications with Russian officials or institutions during the 2016 campaign.

Those Two Times Sessions Met With The Russian Ambassador

Sessions incidentally kicked off a chain of events that led to the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the Russia probe when he said during his confirmation hearing that he was “not aware” of any communications between the Trump campaign and Russian government, nor had he himself had any.

As it turned out, Sessions had twice met with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Furor over this discrepancy ended up prompting his recusal from the Russia investigation, clearing the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein eventually to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation

Sessions’ defense that he’d had those meetings in his capacity as a senator was belied by his role as a prominent surrogate of the Trump campaign and by intelligence intercepts that showed Kislyak boasting to his superiors in Moscow of speaking to the Alabama Republican about campaign-related matters.

When Papadopoulos Offered To Hook Trump Up With Putin

At a March 2016 meeting with the campaign’s hastily-assembled foreign policy team attended by Sessions, then-aide George Papadopoulos allegedly offered to use his “connections” to orchestrate a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump insists his memory of this meeting, which came out in court documents unsealed Monday, is hazy. But a source told NBC News that Sessions immediately “shut down this idea of Papadopoulos engaging with Russia,” pivoting the conversation to other topics.

That same source later modified those remarks, saying it was unclear that Sessions remembered putting the kibosh on this Trump-Putin meeting, but that he definitely did so.

When Page Told Sessions He Was Traveling To Moscow

In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee and an interview with CNN this week, former campaign adviser Carter Page divulged for the first time that he allegedly told Sessions he planned to travel to Moscow in July 2016.

Page said he mentioned the trip, which he said was “completely unrelated” to his campaign role, “in passing” during a brief encounter with Sessions.

A source familiar with the conversation told CNN that the run-in happened at a June 2016 dinner at the Capitol Hill Club attended by members of Trump’s national security team, and that Sessions “didn’t respond” when Page informed him of his upcoming visit.

Page has previously said that he met no Russian government officials during that trip to deliver a speech at the New Economic School.

As these new alleged details about his attorney general trickle out, Trump has other matters on his mind. He sent off a flurry of tweets Friday urging the Justice Department to look into how the Democrats “rigged” the 2016 primary and told reporters he was “disappointed” in the department for failing to take those steps.

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The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in the U.S. has increased by 67 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) audit released Thursday.

Some 1,299 incidents of physical assaults, vandalism, and defacement of Jewish institutions occurred between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 of this year, compared to 779 over the same period last year, with a notable spike after August’s violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The audit also found a notable increase in anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism in schools. Incidents in K-12 grade schools during the period covered by the review more than doubled from 130 to 269, while those on college campuses went from 74 to 118.

In Healdsburg, California, for example, a sixth-grade Jewish boy was taunted with swastikas and cigarette lighters and told by classmates that they would burn him “like they did in the Holocaust.”

Other examples cited by the ADL include a Fairfax, Virginia Jewish Community Center being defaced with the SS symbol and words “Hitler was right,” and an Orthodox Jewish woman in Brooklyn being called a “fucking Jew” by an assailant who pulled her wig off.

“We are astonished and horrified by the rise in anti-Semitic harassment, incidents and violence targeting our communities,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “While the tragedy in Charlottesville highlighted this trend, it was not an aberration. Every single day, white supremacists target members of the Jewish community—holding rallies in public, recruiting on college campuses, attacking journalists on social media, and even targeting young children.”

The ADL’s data is drawn from victims, law enforcement, and community leaders, and includes both criminal and non-criminal acts.

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The Justice Department is considering charging six Russian government officials allegedly involved in hacking and obtaining sensitive information from the Democratic National Committee’s computers during the 2016 campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

People familiar with the investigation told the newspaper that discussions about whether to bring a case are in early stages but that it could happen as soon as next year.

As the report points out, the U.S. would be more likely to publicly identify those individuals and impose significant restrictions on their travel than actually attempt to arrest and jail them.

The case could shed light on how exactly the DNC’s computers were infiltrated. The U.S. intelligence community’s January assessment that the Kremlin “ordered an influence campaign” aimed at disrupting the 2016 race offered little detail on how intelligence agencies reached that determination and did not identify any specific actors involved.

The DNC case is a joint investigation by federal prosecutors and FBI agents based in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Philadelphia, and is being conducted separately from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, according to the Journal.

The Russian government has denied interfering in the U.S. election, and President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the conclusion that the Kremlin was behind it, positing that other countries could also have conducted cyberattacks against Democratic operatives and organizations.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Russian hackers’ 2016 targets extended far beyond the U.S. presidential race, targeting Russian opposition figures and U.S. defense contractors.

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Being under federal investigation hasn’t stopped former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos from trying to advance his career.

Four months ago, shortly before he was arrested for lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian nationals during the campaign, he asked his followers on LinkedIn for their “thoughts” on him pursuing a congressional run. In October, around the time he pleaded guilty to those allegations, he expressed interest “in meeting with prominent publisher” and queried his LinkedIn connections for recommendations. And just a week ago, before his case was unsealed, Papadopoulos put out a call for “speaker bureau recommendations.”

This might seem like a remarkable degree of hubris for someone facing felony charges. But it represents a pattern for the 30-year-old Chicago native, who leveraged an inflated resume and the chaos of the crowded 2016 Republican primary into advisory roles on two major presidential campaigns.

On LinkedIn, a platform designed for self-promotion, Papadopoulos’ penchant for self-inflation stands out, dating back to his years at DePaul University, where he graduated in 2009 with a degree in political science.

Dick Farkas, Papadopoulos’ former professor and a Russia expert at the university, remembered him as a “nondescript” and not “particularly noteworthy” student who displayed no “particular interest” in Russian affairs.

Noting that Papadopoulos describes himself as concentrating on “international political economy,” Farkas told TPM that the school offers political science students no option for a concentration or specific regional focus and called it a “classic case of George embellishing his credentials.”

The listed phone number was disconnected at the Lincoln Square residence where the Chicago Tribune reported Papadopoulos currently lives with his mother and brother. A message left for his father, Antonios Papadopoulos, at his nephrology office in the suburb of Addison was not returned.

After receiving a masters degree from the University College London in 2010, Papadopoulos settled in Washington, D.C., where he claims on his LinkedIn to have spent some four and a half years as a “research associate” at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. The institute told the Washington Post he was actually an unpaid intern who served as a contracted researcher to several fellows working on a book.

With just this thin resume and a few appearances at energy conferences abroad under his belt, Papadopoulos reached out to to Ben Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, through a LinkedIn message asking for a job, as Bennett recalled to the Post. Eager to beef up the campaign’s foreign policy team, Bennett told the Post he simply asked a friend at the Hudson Institute if Papadopoulos was an “okay guy” and brought him on board.

After a six-week stint with the Carson campaign, Papadopoulos was cut loose in January 2016 as part of what Bennett told the Post was an effort to reduce staffing costs.

How exactly Papadopoulos landed on Trump’s foreign policy team a few months later remains unclear. What’s known is that Sam Clovis, then the campaign co-chairman, was tasked with quickly pulling together a foreign policy advisory team, and that Papadopoulos’ name ended up on a list of five individuals that Trump announced were advising him on national security issues at a March 21 meeting with the Washington Post’s editorial board.

Court documents say that Clovis told Papadopoulos on March 6, shortly before he officially joined the campaign, that improved U.S.-Russia relations were a “principal foreign policy focus.” The young volunteer adviser seemed to take this advice and run with it, leveraging his new campaign title to communications with individuals he “understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials,” according to his statement of offense.

One was Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor of diplomacy, who Papadopoulos told senior Trump officials could connect the campaign with high-ranking officials in Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Papadopoulos told the Trump team that another one of his connections was Vladimir Putin’s niece, though the FBI said the “Female Russian national” he met with actually had no relation to the Russian president.

Farkas, Papadopoulos’ former professor, told TPM he was skeptical his one-time student was actually making these kinds of high-level connections.

“I’ve traveled enough and I’ve studied enough about things Russian to know that he did not have the access he was claiming to,” he said.

In an interview this year, Papadopoulos told the Wall Street Journal he stayed on the campaign through the transition. His first interview with the FBI came on Jan. 27, just seven days after Trump was sworn in.

Though his recent LinkedIn queries suggest he’s continued to pursue a range of professional options while assisting the Mueller investigation, he currently appears to have no formal affiliation and is listed only as an independent “oil, gas and policy consultant.” In October, he tweeted a photograph of himself holding a briefcase on a London street with the hashtag #business.

The only current affiliation listed on his page is membership in the Cyprus-based International Presidential Business Advisory Council.

Contacted about this listing in August, the head of the organization, John Georgoulas, told TPM that “Papadopoulos is NOT a member of IPBAC, never was and we have never worked together.”

His claim to membership, Georgoulas added, was “weird and not true!”

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