As the Russia investigation closes in around Trump’s circle, a few are getting nervous, and they’re starting to talk.
There seems to be a pattern when someone who worked for the Trump campaign reveals he or she was also in contact with Russian officials: higher-ups, including Trump himself, claim the employee was “low-level” and insignificant.
Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, certainly fell into that pattern.
According to Politico:
Page, who testified last week before the House Oversight Committee as a part of its ongoing probe into Russian election meddling in 2016, told congressional investigators in testimony revealed Monday that he had asked the former Trump campaign chief and Hope Hicks, now the White House communications director, about his trip to Moscow in 2016 in which he met with Russian officials and discussed the presidential campaign.
During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, Lewandowski maintained that he scarcely knew Page, whom he described as a “low-level volunteer” in the Trump campaign.
Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, said he didn’t think Page had played any formal role in the campaign, and that he had never met him.
Trump went down a similar path with George Papadopoulos, who he said was a “low-level volunteer” after Papadopoulos confessed to lying to the government about his communication with Russian officials.
What’s Happening Now:
Perhaps Lewandowski might have come to his senses about the Trump method, because he’s walking back his statement about Page.
On Tuesday, Lewandowski said his memory had been “refreshed”, and that he could now recall Page asking him for permission to travel to Moscow.
Lewandowski was on FOX News again when he flipped his stance, claiming that he had previously forgotten about the encounter because he was occupied with so many things while running Trump’s campaign.
Perhaps Lewandowski realized that there was a way to prove he knew about Page, and got ahead of the curve to make sure nobody could accuse him of lying, just forgetting.
However, his new statement did come with one suspicious edit:
“All I was clear about was if you’re going to travel, please do not pretend to be a part of the campaign and say that you are part of the campaign, because you are not,” he said.
In his testimony before Congress, Page backed up Lewandowski’s version of the story.
So the next question, naturally: if Page was telling the truth, why did Lewandowski not just acknowledge it the first time it was brought up? Why deflect?
The conclusion is not necessarily that Lewandowski lied; he could have just forgotten and recovered it later. However, it is sort of difficult to jump from not remembering someone at all to approving them for an overseas trip. In addition to, it does follow a pattern of Trump’s closest circle concerning the Russia investigation: deny, deny, deny.
Plus, while abroad in Moscow, Page discussed the Trump campaign with Russian officials. So it wasn’t exactly a harmless trip that could slip under someone’s radar.
Every revelation in the Russia investigation has been followed by an intense effort by Trump’s circle to cover the revelation in mist. Whether or not this is another example of this, or just someone making a stupid mistake in the public eye, is yet to be seen.