Former Trump adviser pleads the Fifth in congressional Russia probe

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A former adviser to President Trump, Carter Page is pleading his Fifth Amendment right and is refusing to hand over documents following inquiries from a congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Page said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request for a “vast array” of documents is “beyond the charter” of their inquiry. He did, however, say he would testify publicly before the panel, offering to appear Nov. 1 at the committee’s open hearing on Russian attempts to influence the election through social media, according to CNN.

Page has been under investigative scrutiny since the release of a Yahoo report last year that claimed his visit to Moscow in July to give a speech included meetings with high-ranking officials, including Vladimir Putin ally and oil executive Igor Sechin. Following that report, the FBI obtained a warrant to monitor Page on suspicion he knowingly engaged in undercover intelligence activities on behalf of the Kremlin, the Washington Post reported in April.

Page is refusing to release the documents out of suspicion the U.S. government has more detailed accounts of his activities in Russia, gleaned from its own surveillance operations, and that it is trying to catch him in a “perjury trap.”

He denies all allegations of secretive meetings with Russian officials and deems the Yahoo report as based off of the unverified anti-Trump “dossier” compiled by a British spy.

Page has recently sued media outlets in the Manhattan federal court.

Federal court documents show that he was previously the target of a Russian intelligence operation in 2013, as well.

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