SEMANTICS

Former Trump Adviser Carter Page Flip-Flops on Russia Meetings

Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to President Trump, stumbled through an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday night, admitting to having met with a Russian official after previously denying it. As Trump’s team faces increasing scrutiny over ties to Russia, Page admitted to meeting with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak but downplayed the significance of it, at one point questioning the meaning of the word “meeting.” “Anderson, a great analogy is you and I were members of the same health club here in New York previously. And I remember walking by you even though we didn't know each other and I said, 'Hi, Anderson,' and you said hello and we, you know, a nice little exchange for half a second. Now, does that to you constitute a meeting?” he said. He said he’d “never spoken with Ambassador Kislyak for more than ten seconds.” Citing confidentiality, he declined to say what he discussed with Kislyak. In a previous interview with PBS NewsHour, Page had denied having any meetings with Russian officials. The admission comes after revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Kislyak twice during Trump’s campaign, a fact which he had failed to disclose during his confirmation hearing. Page left Trump’s campaign last September amid scrutiny over his involvement with Russia, but he has maintained that he never did anything wrong. He was named in a New York Times report in January as one of several individuals on Trump’s team under investigation as part of a probe into Russia’s alleged election meddling.