CNN’s Tapper Uses Ex-Trump Adviser's Own Words to Corner Him on Russia Contacts: That’s You 'Calling Yourself an Informal Adviser’

“Do you have relationships with Russian government officials? I can tell you I don't," Jake Tapper said.

Jake Tapper and Carter Page

CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday spoke with Carter Page, the onetime Donald Trump adviser whose contacts with the Russian government are under scrutiny by the FBI.

The Department of Justice on Saturday released documents relating to the FBI’s FISA warrant authorizing surveillance on Page. Tapper on Sunday asked Page point-blank: “Were you ever an agent of a foreign power?”

Page spent the majority of the interview declining to answer Tapper directly, even when confronted with his 2013 claim he’s “had the privilege of serving as an informal adviser.”

“That’s yourself calling yourself an informal adviser,” Tapper explained.

“Informal having some conversations with people,” Page insisted. “This is really nothing and just an attempt to distract from the real crimes that are shown in this misleading document. Page 8 [of the FISA warrant] talks about disguised propaganda including the planting of false or misleading articles, which is exactly what this is. That's kinds of the pot calling the kettle black by Mr. [James] Comey.”

Tapper explained the FISA warrant on Page has been renewed three separate times by two administrations, asking how he responds to “many people, over two administrations, four judges appointed by Republican over and over, believing that you are an agent of a foreign power.”=

“Actually, it would be a good question for them, Jake,” Page replied. “Whether they believe that what they did was appropriate now. You know, again, they were misled.”

As Page continued to dodge his questions, Tapper corned the former Trump adviser. “You keep saying it's spin,” Tapper said. “If you could directly answer the questions it would be great.”

“The application says you established relationships with Russian government officials including Russian intelligence officers,” Tapper said. “You’re telling me they pulled that out of thin air, you have no relationships with Russian government officials? You've already told me and this audience that you were an informal adviser to the Kremlin in 2013 and have relationships with government officials, right?”

Page said the FISA warrant is “the pot calling the kettle black.”

“Carter, you have relationships with Russian government officials, true?” Tapper asked.

“Well, let's see what they are talking about,” Page demurred.

“I'm asking you a straight question,” tapper said. “Do you have relationships with Russian government officials? I can tell you I don't but then again you lived in Russia, you're an academic and worked in energy in Russia and went there in 2016 to speak at the commencement address. Do you have relationships with Russian government officials?”

Watch the full video below:

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.