Trump Russia probe reveals advisorʼs visit to Budapest
The ongoing U.S. investigations regarding alleged Russian interference in last year’s American presidential election have suddenly revealed a link to Hungary, albeit a very tenuous one. Carter Page, a former campaign adviser on Russia to Donald Trump, has admitted he traveled to Budapest, but apart from that, not much else.
Carter Page is the founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital, a New York investment fund and consulting firm specializing in the Russian and Central Asian oil and gas business. He was named by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisors during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Page testified last week behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee. The transcript, totaling 243 pages, has been made public and has been described by The Atlantic as "a farrago of legal claims, bluster, contradictions, and concessions."
Page came into the spotlight last year in connection to his travel to Russia, during which he allegedly met high-ranking Russian officials. According to his recent testimony, last year he traveled not only to Russia, but also to Hungary, after meeting the countryʼs ambassador to the U.S. at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Page said he went to Budapest in August 2016 to discuss a renewable energy project, but could not remember the names of the government officials whom he met.
Page denied that the ambassador, whom he repeatedly referred to as Réka (Réka Szemerkényi served as Hungaryʼs ambassador to the United States from 21 January 2015 to July 2017), had invited him to Hungary because of his role on the Trump campaign. The Atlantic noted that the fact Page could not recall whether he’d set up meetings on the renewable energy project before he traveled to Budapest implied "a different motive for the trip."
Asked in the hearing whether or not he had kept in touch with anyone from the Budapest trip, Page said that apart from the ambassador, there was one other foreign policy person with whom he stayed in touch, but claimed that he could not remember his name, nor his portfolio or role.
Online news portal index.hu contacted Ernő Megyesy, adviser to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the United States, who confirmed meeting Page last year. He said the meeting took the form of a discussion on general issues lasting 30-40 minutes, but energy projects were not among the issues discussed.
"I was surprised by how general the discussion was," Megyesy told index.hu, which concludes that the goal of Pageʼs visit to Hungary remains unclear.
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