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Two more former Trump aides spoke with Russian ambassador: report
Two other members of President Trump's campaign team spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at an event held during the Republican National Convention, USA Today reported on Thursday.
J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, two of Trump's early foreign policy advisers, met with the Russian diplomat at a conference hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation in Cleveland in July. Several other national security advisers for the campaign were there as well.
The nature of the conservations was not clear, but people involved in the events surrounding the convention said it is not unusual for members of presidential campaigns to speak with foreign officials.
"I'd consider it an informal conversation just like my interactions with dozens of other ambassadors and senior diplomats in Cleveland," Gordon told USA Today.
Page wouldn't give details of their conversation but said "I had no substantive discussions with him."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also met with Kislyak during the event. The former Alabama senator came under fire Wednesday night amid reports that he spoke with the ambassador twice during the campaign, once at the Heritage event and another time privately in September.
He said he had not talked with Russian officials over the course of the campaign during his confirmation hearing to become attorney general in January.
Sessions announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon that would recuse himself from any existing or future investigations that relate to the Trump campaign. Probes into Russia's attempts to meddle with the election reportedly involve examining Trump aides' contacts with Moscow.
The revelation that Gordon and Page spoke with Kislyak is the latest in a series of reports involving the Russian diplomat. Trump's first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned last month after it was revealed that he discussed sanctions with Kislyak in the month before the president took office.
The New York Times also reported on Thursday that Flynn attended a meeting between Kislyak and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in December. A White House spokesperson said the meeting was meant to "establish a line of communication" between the incoming administration and the Kremlin.
Carter, an investment banker with extensive business ties to Russia, came under FBI scrutiny during the campaign amid suspicions that he had been communicating with Russian officials. He worked with the campaign from March to September of last year.
[Source: By Max Greenwood, The Hill, Washington, 02Mar17]
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