Donald Trump’s legal team was trying to distance the president from international businessman Carter Page in the aftermath of the 2016 White House race, amid mounting questions about Russia influencing the outcome, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
Attorney Don McGahn told Page in a December 2016 letter to “immediately cease” saying he is a Trump adviser and to stop suggesting he was more than a short-lived advisory council member “who never actually met with the president-elect.”
Page’s communications were being wiretapped by the FBI at least since last summer because the federal government had reason to believe he was acting as a Russian agent, as first reported by The Washington Post.
The U.S. intelligence community says Russia meddled in the race, in which Trump upset Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton but found no evidence of vote tampering.
FBI Director James Comey recently acknowledged the agency has been investigating the issue.
And top congressional committees are also expected to intensify their probes as members return from break to Washington next week – three days after Fox News obtained the letter.
“You were merely one of the many people named to a foreign policy advisory committee in March of 2016 — a committee that met one time,” McGhan, now White House counsel, also wrote in his letter to Page. “You never met Mr. Trump, nor did you ever ‘advise’ Mr. Trump about anything. You are thus not an ‘advisor’ to Mr. Trump in any sense of the word.”
Page is an international financier who specializes in Russia’s oil and gas markets and once worked in Moscow.
He has acknowledged being among those who talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at last summer’s Republican National Committee convention, where Trump won the GOP presidential nomination.
Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.