Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the latest former Trump staffer who turned out to be foreign agents, hedged dramatically when asked if he had discussed easing of sanctions with his contacts in Russia.
Since the bombshell revelation that Carter Page, once a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, was the subject of a secret court order obtained by the FBI, Page has been on a big media tour on television to defend himself, but he is not able to provide many answers about his conversations with Russia.
In an appearance on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos asked Page about easing sanctions against Russia. Page started with an aggressive denial, but his resolve withered quickly, apparently when he realized there could be recordings to refute him:
STEPHANOPOULOS: In any of these conversations with Russians, either in Russia or back here in the United States, did you ever suggest to any of them that President Trump, or candidate Trump, would be open to easing sanctions on Russia?
PAGE: Absolutely not.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Never, not once?
PAGE: I never offered that, no, nothing along those lines, absolutely not. I mean, it may — topics — I don't remember — we'll see what comes out in this FISA transcript.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you know what you did?
PAGE: I don't recall every single word that I ever said, but I would never make any offer or intimate anything that —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like from what you're saying it's possible you may have discussed the easing of sanctions.
PAGE: Something may have come up in a conversation — I have no recollection, and there is nothing specifically I would have done that would have given people that impression.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you can't say without equivocation that you didn't discuss the easing of sanctions.
PAGE: Someone may have brought it up. I have no recollection, and if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for.
Page, as we have reported, was selected to Trump's foreign policy team by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and his emergence as a key figure in the Trump/Russia investigation is yet another reason to demand an independent commission and a special prosecutor. Sessions may have recused himself from the Russia investigation, but he still wields power and influence at the Justice Department, where the investigation resides.
Trump's White House has already demonstrated a willingness to manipulate classified information in order to cover up for Trump, so the Page transcripts, and any similar evidence, needs to be kept safe from these political influences.