Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page says he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid turning over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Page, a New York-based energy consultant, confirmed to The Daily Caller on Tuesday night that he will plead the Fifth in order to avoid a “perjury trap” he believes lies in wait for him if he meets with the committee.
Politico first reported earlier Tuesday that Page had informed the committee of his plans to invoke his constitutional privilege.
Page is of interest to federal and congressional investigators because of allegations laid out against him in the infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled last year by former British spy Christopher Steele. In the document, Steele alleged that Page worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to coordinate with Russian operatives to help the campaign.
But Page, who joined the campaign last March as a volunteer, has denied the allegations made in the Steele document, which he calls the “dodgy dossier.” He says that he has never met Donald Trump or Manafort.
Page, who has done business in Moscow, defended his decision to plead the Fifth, saying that he has offered to testify publicly at a hearing that the committee has scheduled for Nov. 1. A former naval officer, Page has offered to testify publicly before the committee on several occasions. But so far during its investigation, the committee has first met privately with its witnesses — a list which includes several former Trump campaign officials.
Page says that his decision to eschew cooperation with the committee is a “response to their request for a vast array of documents that are completely beyond the charter of the investigation.” He asserted that the committee “should already have access” to the information that it is seeking “given the illegal wiretaps against me.” Page’s reference is to a surveillance warrant obtained against him by the FBI last September, just after he left the campaign. Investigators reportedly relied on allegations from the dossier to obtain the warrant.
“I’m trying to avoid a massive perjury trap, since the government obviously has much more detailed records and data processing capabilities than I do,” Page told TheDC.
A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment on Page’s decision to plead the Fifth.
It is unclear what steps the panel will take, though last week, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee, said that the committee will take all steps necessary to compel testimony from desired witnesses.
Asked whether he has met with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian interference, Page told TheDC, “no comment.”
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