Carter Page, a former aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he won’t testify before the panel for its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Politico reports.
A source with knowledge of the situation told Politico that Page would plead the Fifth Amendment, which, in effect, gives him the right to remain silent.
However, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner previously said they may force anyone relevant to the investigation, including Page, to testify before the panel through the use of subpoenas, Politico reports.
The Committee has requested meetings with prominent Trump advisers, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, in its investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Page, a Navy veteran, and investment banker turned Trump foreign-policy adviser, has come under fire after it was reported that he conducted meetings with a host of Russian nationals while he was working with the Trump campaign, including former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after denying that the meetings took place.
Page lived in Moscow in the early 2000s, when he was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch. He says he has served as an adviser “on key transactions” for Russia’s state-owned energy giant, Gazprom. In 2011, Page set up his investment fund, Global Energy Capital, with former Gazprom executive Sergey Yatesenko.
While a Trump campaign adviser, Page traveled to Moscow in July. The trip raised red flags at the FBI, which sought and obtained an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to surveil Page’s communications shortly thereafter. Both Page and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are the only members of Trump’s team publicly known to have been placed under direct FBI surveillance as a result of ties to Russia.
Page previously told Business Insider recently that he thought the FISA requests were “unjustified.”
Page took a “leave of absence” from the campaign in September after news broke of his July trip to Moscow. In a letter to the Department of Justice in February, Page said he had “decided to step back” from the campaign so he could “more effectively fight” allegations that he had inappropriate contact with the Russians, “and not create a further distraction for my colleagues.”
A dossier published by BuzzFeed earlier this year detailing Trump’s alleged ties to Russia accused Page of serving as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election.
Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting