Another associate of Donald Trump has come forward to deny allegations contained in a 35 page dossier with unsubstantiated allegations that Russia and the Trump campaign were in cahoots during the U.S. presidential election.
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In an interview with ABC News, onetime Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, said that he never met with key Russian officials on Trump’s behalf.
“It would have been an honor to meet [Russian oil executive and Putin ally] Igor Ivanovich [Sechin], but I never had that opportunity,” said Page, an energy executive who traveled extensively in Russia who Trump initially identified as one of his early foreign policy advisers.
Page, whose name appears repeatedly in the dossier gathered by a former British spy, under the heading “Secret Kremlin Meetings Attended by Trump Advisor,” called the assertion that he met with Sechin or other Russian officials on Trump’s behalf “absolutely ridiculous.”
“Never happened,” he said emphatically.
Page did not, however, agree with senior Trump aides who argued that he had no advisory role in helping shape the candidate’s foreign policy.
Trump had initially named Page during a recorded meeting with Washington Post editors as one of a handful of people helping him bone up on international affairs. But as Page’s name began surfacing in media reports suggesting Russian influence on the campaign, aides began to dismiss him.
In August, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Page “does not speak for or represent the campaign in any official capacity.”
In January, the description from spokesman Sean Spicer was even more emphatic: “Carter Page is an individual whom the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign,” he said.
Page said he remains in contact with Trump aides and, just as he did when he first volunteered to help Trump about a year ago, he continues to “to help in any way I can.”
“I think, you know, very broadly, they're on the right track including on Russia,” Page said. “So I'm very optimistic. And I think there's great things happening.”
Page says he was never offered money by Russian officials to help persuade Trump to drop the crippling economic sanctions that the U.S. imposed after the Russian invasion of Crimea.
“If I were offered a prize of many billions of dollars, that would be quite an offer,” he said. “But that was never dropped in my lap, no.”
That said, Page did not rule out having met, in passing, with senior Russian officials in the course of his travels.
He said he frequently lectures in Russia at academic events attended by a range of people, including many who were encouraged by Trump’s pro-Russia posture during the 2016 campaign.
“I heard feedback in this regard,” he said. “Across the board feedback that people were very excited. You know, it reminded me of 1991, my first trip to Moscow at the end of the Soviet era when there was a great optimism in the streets about the possibilities for a major change in U.S.-Russia relations.”
ABC News' Cho Park and Paul Blake contributed to this report.