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Trump campaign adviser met with Russian government officials: report

Carter Page (pictured on July 8, 2016) briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign, though he split from the campaign before the election and the White House says the president has no relationship with him. | Pavel Golovkin/AP

A foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign testified that he met Russian government officials during a trip to Moscow four months before the election, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Carter Page acknowledged his July 2016 meeting with Russian officials and business executives in closed-door testimony given Friday before the House Intelligence Committee, the Times reported.

During the testimony, officials read an email that Page sent to at least one fellow Trump campaign aide describing his insights from the Moscow meeting, the report said.

Page had previously acknowledged the trip, but downplayed it during multiple interviews over the past few months when he denied meeting with Russian government officials, saying he had met “mostly scholars.”

Page, an energy consultant, told the Times on Friday evening that he “had a very brief hello to a couple of people” in Russia, including one “senior person,” though he would not identify the person.

He left the Trump campaign shortly after the Moscow trip, and Trump advisers have distanced themselves from Page since then.

After leaving the campaign, Page made another trip to Moscow in December 2016 to meet with “business and thought leaders,” the Times reported. The Kremlin has said they never had any contact with him.

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FBI agents interviewed Page earlier this year as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Three congressional committees are also investigating.

Page lived in Moscow from 2004 to 2007 while working for Merrill Lynch, and became embroiled in a 2013 FBI investigation into unregistered Russian intelligence agents in New York, the Times reported. He was not charged.

News of Page’s testimony comes on the heels of the first charges filed as a result of the special counsel investigation. Former aide George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.