Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos tried desperately to connect President Trump to former campaign adviser Carter Page, presenting him as a Russian agent working with the Kremlin during an interview on the ABC morning show. However, no matter how hard the former Clinton staffer pressed Page, he didn’t gain any ground in proving his Democrat-agenda-driven talking points.
The ABC anchor started off the interview by graciously letting Page argue his defense first, before trying to tear it apart.
“You say this Republican memo that was released shows the abuse of your civil rights was even worse than you imagined. Why?” Stephanopoulos posed.
After Page replied that there was no basis for the wiretapping warrant, Stephanopoulos touted the FBI, saying they had to have “probable cause” to spy on him. He then cited a case in 2013 which first put Page on the FBI’s radar, saying he was “the target of a Russian recruitment effort” where he was charged with “giving documents” to someone accused of espionage.
Page pushed back on that claim, saying that entire story was being blown out of proportion by the media. “This is sort of spin,” he argued before explaining that he was a teacher at NYU at the time, and had handed out course documents and notes to his class of students.
“[S]o in terms of -- it sounds when you say giving documents to a quote/unquote spy...It sounds a lot worse than reality but that's reality,” he added.
Stephanopoulos tried again, confronting Page about his quote in 2013 picked up by TIME Magazine, where he called himself an advisor to the Kremlin.
“These are your words. I served as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin. You're advising the Kremlin!... At one point, you say you're an adviser to the Kremlin, then you’re an adviser to Donald Trump!” Stephanopoulos pressed.
Page defended himself, saying that this was during the G20 Summit where there were “a lot of people” advising, besides him, from all parts of the world. He added that Democrats were the ones who set this whole thing into motion, providing the FBI with information based on an unsubstantiated dossier:
“Look, the probable cause based on all the evidence that keeps dripping out and now has been further substantiated with the Friday first memo is it was based on that dodgy dossier which was, you know, a political stunt,” he argued.
Stephanopoulos defended the Democrats, saying they had other reasons to doubt Page’s story. “The Democrats have said it was not based just on that dossier but said there were other reasons,” he explained, adding that Trump appointees renewed the FISA warrant afterwards.
Clearly seeing he was not going to get any admissions from Page, he tried one last time to connect Page to Trump and the Russia investigation.
“You've been under surveillance from the court since October 2016. Since that time have you ever spoken to Donald Trump?” he asked.
Page not only denied having ever spoken to Trump since the campaign, but denied speaking to him in any form in his entire lifetime. This genuinely surprised Stephanopoulos who repeated the question again.
“You have never spoken to Donald Trump in your life? No e-mail, no text, nothing like that?” he asked, flabbergasted.
“Never,” Page adamantly denied, as Stephanopoulos ended the interview.
To read the entire transcript, click below:
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined by the man at the center of this memo controversy Carter Page. Thanks for joining us this morning. You say this Republican memo that was released shows the abuse of your civil rights was even worse than you imagined. Why?
CARTER PAGE: It just -- there is no basis for it. If you think about our Constitution, you know, due process rights, freedom of, you know, First Amendment rights, it was just shredded, the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know you can't get a warrant like this, a wiretapping warrant like this, unless they can demonstrate probable cause you were working as a foreign agent and you actually had been on the FBI's radar for working for Russia for several years, you were the target of a Russian recruitment effort back in 2013, the FBI interviewed you about that, correct?
PAGE: I was a witness to a case that they were doing, so I was supporting the FBI.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, you gave documents to someone they believed-- charged with espionage.
PAGE: This is sort of spin because I gave them-- I was teaching a course down Broadway here at NYU and I told them a couple of things about what I was talking about in my course and I gave them a couple of my notes from or the documents that I gave my students, so in terms of -- it sounds when you say giving documents to a quote/unquote spy --
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does sound --
PAGE: It sounds a lot worse than reality but that's reality.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also wrote just a couple months after that in September 2013 to an academic press -- this was reported by Time magazine-- “Over the past half year, I've had the privilege to serve as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin.” You were recruited at one point by a Russian agent then you wrote yourself that you were informal adviser to the Kremlin so that does lead people to believe, is this guy working with Russia?
PAGE: Well, you know, first of all it's the G20 summit was in St. Petersburg that year and they were bringing people from around the world so a lot of people were -- from literally Australia, UK, here --
STEPHANOPOULOS: These are your words. I served as an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin. You're advising the Kremlin!
PAGE: There was a lot of people advising -- we were part of an informal group, you know, and meeting in Geneva, Paris and the New York stock exchange. The first meeting was in the New York stock exchange. The center of capitalism, right?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You can understand how that would raise questions and could lead to probable cause on the one hand. You say you're an adviser on the one hand to the Kremlin then you’re an adviser to Donald Trump.
PAGE: Look, the probable cause based on all the evidence that keeps dripping out and now has been further substantiated with the Friday first memo is it was based on that dodgy dossier which was, you know, a political stunt which is unfortunate, which is false evidence, so if you talk about obstruction of justice, that's real --
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Democrats have said it was not based just on that dossier but said there were other reasons and this was an application that was renewed at least three times by people who worked for President Trump as well by judges appointed by Republican presidents.
PAGE: Well, it'll be interesting. I appreciate The New York Times putting in their request for the FISA document--
STEPHANOPOULOS: They want all the underlying documents.
PAGE: I hope they get it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think that’s going to show?
PAGE: I have no idea. What I have seen thus far is complete ridiculousness. The fact that the dossier and news reports, when a lot of same newspapers, The New York Times, pitched this information by Mr. Steele and they said, you know, no way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you've been under surveillance from the court since October 2016. Since that time have you ever spoken to Donald Trump?
PAGE: I never spoke with him since -- I never spoke with him any time in my life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have never spoken to Donald Trump in your life.
STEPHANOPOULOS:No e-mail, no text, nothing like that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Carter Page, thanks very much.