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Page on Russia Investigation; Page on Nunes and Schiff Memos; Stoneman Douglas High Students Return Tomorrow. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 27, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: About his disdain for the Russia investigation. His most recent tweet, just two words, but it says it all, witch hunt. This comes as a new CNN poll shows that a majority of Americans do not believe President Trump takes the Russia investigation seriously enough.

Let's bring in Carter Page. He's a former Trump campaign adviser who was the subject of FBI surveillance over his contacts with Russians. The House Intel Committee released dueling memos about the warrants to surveil him.

Good to see you, Mr. Page.


CUOMO: First question, and I say this to you every time I see you, but it is usually off camera. You have had counsel at some point, right, when you were going to talk to the FBI?

PAGE: On the witch hunt side, yes.

CUOMO: Does counsel ever say to you, stop going on TV and talking about this situation? You are creating a record for investigators.

PAGE: I'm not concerned about a record because the more the record comes out, as we've seen over recent weeks and months, the better. You know, now that we're starting to learn the truth, it couldn't get any better for me.

CUOMO: Well, we'll get into that.

Have you been contacted by the special prosecutor -- the special counsel?

PAGE: You know, I don't talk about that because they've been quite -- very professional in terms of, you know, keeping confidentiality. And all I will say, Chris, is, I've been interrogated over 30 hours in total both -- by both executive branch and legislative branch of government.

CUOMO: But any of it by Mueller? You don't have to tell me the substance. You can respect him. But they have allowed people to come out and say, yes, I talked to him and here's what -- you know, here's what it was. But have you talked to them at all? Will you answer that? PAGE: All I can say is, you know, someone leaked that I talked for ten

hours to the FBI last March.

CUOMO: Right.

PAGE: Which has now been --

CUOMO: That was before Mueller. That's why I'm asking.

PAGE: Exactly. Well, you know --

CUOMO: If you have concerns that they're going to call you in, say, you said this, you said this, you said this, we checked it with this and this and this. No concerns?

PAGE: I have no concerns. Everything -- you know, listen, I'm trying to get out as much of the truth as I possibly can and that I can remember, right? So many of these questions, particularly if you've been in over 30 hours of testimony, right, I mean if someone's really nitpicking, they'll try to say, well, there's a slight nuance between what you said at hour 12 and what you said at hour 27, right? I'm doing the best I can, you know, to the best of my recollection.

CUOMO: And you'll speak to anyone who wants to speak to you?

PAGE: I have been, yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: Well, that's true. That's quid pro demonstrato. Here you are in the chair once again.

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, you look at a lot of this stuff and you say, this is just not believable. This is just so farfetched. But let me ask you something about this. Isn't it equally farfetched that if the FBI, or whomever you want to put together as conspiracists, wanted to get at Trump, here's what we're going to do. We're going to surveil this guy, Carter Page, who is not a fundamental aspect of Trump's campaign or his inner circle by any -- any definition. True?

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: OK. We're going to surveil him, but we're going to do it through a FISA court. And it's going to get four different judges involved. But this is what we're going to do. We're going to do it just weeks before the election and then extend it well past the end of the election and that's how we will hurt Trump. Doesn't that sound equally farfetched as a caper?

PAGE: Well, I think it's a cleanup act a little bit, right? They went down this path thinking that Mrs. Clinton was going to win. And so now they've got to, you know, find something, right? So the more -- keep it going as long as possible.

CUOMO: But Trump and his supporters say, they went after Carter Page as a way to hurt Trump. Why you? Why would they do that? There's so -- now we know there's so many other people they could have targeted with a lot more stuff to talk about that is close to the president than you. That doesn't seem to make sense, does it?

PAGE: Because if they want to start this Russia collusion theory, what better way of doing that than having a photo of someone actually in Moscow in 2016. You know, I happen to give a speech.

CUOMO: They had tons more with Manafort --

PAGE: But who --

CUOMO: And he was front and center in the campaign.

PAGE: Was he ever in Russia in 2016?

CUOMO: I don't know.

PAGE: I don't think so.

CUOMO: But I'm saying in terms of --

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: If you wanted to plant seeds, that's what I'm saying. You're just not the right target. I'm not saying I have no opinion plus or minus on what they have on you. I don't know.

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: But what I'm saying is, you would not be the first place to start. Would you acknowledge that?

PAGE: Well, I am a private -- I'm a private figure. I'm not someone that's, you know -- I seem quite outspoken now. I'm hoping to go into the woods some day after this is all said and done. I'm just trying to get the truth out to make up for the terrible damage that was done for our democracy.

CUOMO: Right. And, again, I don't -- well, but let's start in terms of damage for the democracy. You don't deny that Russians interfered in the election, do you?

PAGE: All the evidence I've seen so far, Chris, indicates that the -- there was much more interference by the U.S. government compared to the Russian government.

CUOMO: Wait. You think that the United States government interfered in this last election more than the Russians did?

PAGE: If you look at the January 6, 2017, DNI report, right, there are two themes. Number one, hacking. Number two, government propaganda, fake news, right?

[08:35:04] CUOMO: Through troll farms and other types of social media seeding.

PAGE: Well, actually, no, that -- that -- that report talks about the two main state-controlled assets RT and Sputnik.

CUOMO: Well, but I'm saying the understanding -- but I'm saying the understandings from the intelligence community and what has come out to us through all the different investigations is that Russia had a concerted effort to try to mess with people's minds during this election and did it to some great effect. How it affected the election, we don't know. But it was certainly an earnest effort on their behalf. You say no?

PAGE: Well, look, again, just look -- let's look at evidence we actually have. No one examined the DNC's server, right? You know, that was done -- outsourced to some, you know, law firm hired consultant to look at it, instead of, you know, allowing the FBI to have a look. And now we understand why, I think. So that's --

CUOMO: Yes, but why?

PAGE: That's on the hacking side. And, you know, we --

CUOMO: Why? Why shine a light on the unknown for purposes of speculation and ignore what is known.

PAGE: Well, that's my point. Yes.

CUOMO: They know that Russian troll farms that were working with them were trying to disseminate negative information and seed different types of opposition here during the election to mess with people's heads.

PAGE: Well, that's the second -- that's the second theme. I was talking about the hacking. And we know I've been hacked. I mean that's as per the memo by the minority.

CUOMO: Understood. But I'm saying, why deny that Russia was trying to mess with our election? Why do that?

PAGE: Look, I have no evidence. I see the evidence that I -- you know, if you compare everything that was written and said by RT and Sputnik and compare that to radio-free Europe, 45 days before the election, give or take, and then two days before the election, putting out this fake story, world premiere of the dodgy (ph) dossier --

CUOMO: But all the stuff on -- but all the stuff on -- on the -- we'll get to the dossier. But all this stuff on social media that has been shown to be what we call now bots as part of our common vernacular, you know all of that is there. You know that the proof of it is fairly clear. Why ignore it in favor of another political theory?

PAGE: Well, because, again, you know --

CUOMO: Because it makes you look like you're a little sympathetic to the cause. You know, that's why --

PAGE: Look, I am --

CUOMO: That's why I'm pressing you.

PAGE: I am sympathetic to facts, Chris. And if you look, it was interesting that indictment a couple of weeks ago. They were talking about, you know, a couple million dollars here, right, or maybe a couple thousand dollars in some swing states. Compare that to radio- free Europe sponsored by the Federal Agency Broadcasting Board of Governors. They had a budget of over $100 million. This is a big operation based in Washington putting out fake --

CUOMO: Yes, but it doesn't -- but it's immaterial. It's immaterial to what we're talking about. I'm not saying what you like and don't like. They just indicted 13 different people. They could have done 55 or 60 if they wanted to, right, based on what they're looking at. Why ignore that? It just seems to -- it puts you in a bad light.

PAGE: Well, it's -- it's small potatoes.

CUOMO: Because you can't find a Republican who's involved with these investigations. Even Nunes, I bet you, if you asked him specifically, do you think the Russians interfered? Forget about the Trump campaign. Forget about any collusion. They all say, yes. Yes, the proof is there. Was Trump or any of his people involved? Then you start getting different opinions. But not on whether or not the Russians were here.

PAGE: You know, Chairman Nunes -- that's a great example. He -- yes, you're absolutely right, we have totally different perspectives on things. But that's the beauty of democracy, Chris.


PAGE: You have different perspectives and you respect (INAUDIBLE) --

CUOMO: No, no, no. The beauty of democracy is the Mickle John (ph) marketplace of free ideas. I'm with you on that.

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: Not on facts.

PAGE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: You can have your own opinion. You can't have your own facts.

The Russians tried to interfere in the election. That's a fact.

PAGE: Well --

CUOMO: That's a fact by everybody who looks at it objectively. To fight it raises suspicions of motivation.

PAGE: Look, all I know is what I have personally experienced. And, you know, we --

CUOMO: But that's not the basis for opinion. That -- you're too smart for that, Carter. The idea of what I know personally, that's not how we look at this. Now, I'll give you that on a second topic. I'll give you that on the

memos and how they affect you and your situation potentially.

PAGE: Yes.

CUOMO: The dossier. The -- what do you call it, the dodgy dossier, the dirty --

PAGE: Dodgy dossier.

CUOMO: OK, the dodgy dossier. They got it several weeks after they had already been looking into this situation. In the FISA application, you'll say it was just a footnote. But it was disclosed to the court where it came from. The president got it wrong, I think, where he said the FBI didn't disclose who the clients were. I think he was misreading recent information that Christopher Steele may not have been told who the clients were when he was doing his work for Axios. That -- that's different. The president got it wrong. Not unusual.

But the court knew where it was coming from. It wasn't the only part of the application. And four different judges approved or extended it. What's wrong with that set of criteria in terms of surveilling somebody. What they found, what they didn't find? I don't know.

PAGE: Chris, you know, district court judges, which -- who are -- sit on the FISA court, it hasn't been fully refiled, their ideas as of yet. But if you look at how busy their schedules are, they are just jammed with information. So to -- to have them be stuck with trying to figure out something that's hidden in a footnote, which, oh, by the way, in the long -- you know, couple of line paragraph, it took them five footnotes to actually define what they're talking about. I mean it's -- it's like reading hieroglyphics.

[08:40:16] CUOMO: Except that works against your own point, right, because, one, if you want to hide something, you don't put it in. And, two, if you are going to put it in, you put it in one footnote, not five, you know? So, you know what I'm saying?

PAGE: No, no, it's -- but I -- it was one sentence in their -- in their --

CUOMO: In the initial submission.

PAGE: In the initial submission and then, for the Democrats to try to explain what the heck they're talking about, it takes them five little footnotes to explain what this all means.

CUOMO: Right.

Give me a quick take on what you think the balance of information shows between the Nunes memo and the Schiff memo about your situation.

PAGE: The beauty of it is, Chris, the more information comes out, the better. And it's excellent the fact that there's a lot of pressure now to release the whole FISA an application and all four of them. I mean it's just so ridiculous. The more information we keep getting, the worse it seems. So, you know, I think both of them support -- are very supportive in a lot of ways.

CUOMO: And just, once again, for the record, you never met with for purposes of collusion, tried to steer the Trump campaign towards sympathetic efforts with the Russian government or tried to negotiate on behalf of any Russian agents anything to help Russian politics, like with sanctions and other words, with the Trump administration?

PAGE: Not -- not only is that true, Chris, I -- when I spent a couple days in Moscow in July 2016, I was trying to do everything possible to stay as low profile and not start any waves so that there's no kind of questions or potential -- you know, I knew -- it seemed like there might be some possibility that someone would try to pin something on me, right? So I was trying to --

CUOMO: Why did you go?

PAGE: It was -- I've spoken at universities at -- universities in Moscow going back 15-plus years.

CUOMO: But if you thought they might -- but if you thought people were going to find it suspicious, if you thought the Russians may try to work you, why put yourself in the situation?

PAGE: No one has -- no one in Russia has ever tried to work me.

CUOMO: Government sources say that in their investigating that the Russians did see you as a target of opportunity.

PAGE: They say that, and I think they said a lot of things on January 6, 2017, and -- that they got wrong as well. So --

CUOMO: Carter Page, you are always welcome to come here and be tested, to make your case to the American people. Thank you for taking the opportunity.

PAGE: Thanks a lot, Chris. Great to see you.

CUOMO: All right, be well.



The students in Parkland will go back to school tomorrow at Stoneman Douglas High. How are they feeling as they prepare to go back to that scene? We have two survivors joining us ahead.


[08:45:37] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Sources tell CNN that President Trump appears to be backing away from his call last week to increase the age limit for assault weapon purchases to 21. Instead, telling the nation's governors to challenge the NRA to implement stricter background checks saying, quote, they're on our side.

CUOMO: Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel claiming his deputies were called to the home of the Florida killer 23 times. But records obtained by CNN show there were double that number of calls in the last decade.

CAMEROTA: White House Communications Director Hope Hicks expected to meet privately today with the House Intelligence Committee. Her scheduled appearance last month was posed over questions about the scope of her testimony.

CUOMO: President Trump's new Federal Reserve chief, Jerome Powell, is expected to tell a House panel today that inflation and interest rates will continue to rise this year. Powell also set to downplay concerns about recent market volatility.

CAMEROTA: And Comcast launching a nearly $31 billion bid for British TV broadcaster Sky. The higher bid challenging an existing offer from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

CUOMO: You want more on the "Five Things to Know"? Of course you do. Go to day for the latest.

CAMEROTA: OK, so classes resume at Stoneman Douglas High School tomorrow. Are the kids ready? How are they preparing? We will speak with two of the survivors, next.


[08:51:09] CAMEROTA: The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to school tomorrow, two weeks after 17 of their classmates and teachers were gunned down.

Joining us now are two students, Dimitri Hoth and Lorenzo Prado.

Guys, thank you very much for being here with us.

Lorenzo, I'll start with you. How are you feeling about going back to school tomorrow?

LORENZO PRADO, SURVIVED SHOOTING IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA: I'm nervous because I don't know how I'm going to react walking back to where I was that Wednesday. But I'm also glad because it means -- it's like the first step to moving on from the tragedy that happened. And it's going to be part of the long process of healing from this tragedy. So, yes.

CAMEROTA: Dimitri, how are you feeling?

DIMITRI HOTH, SURVIVED SHOOTING IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA: Similarly to what Lorenzo said, nervous and anxious about going back to school, going back to classes. Yet, at the same time, feeling kind of glad that we're going to all be together. I think it's really important that we're all together to kind of start the healing process and rebuilding our memories within the halls of the school.

CAMEROTA: Did you go back a few days ago for the orientation so that you -- you actually had to go back onto school property?

HOTH: I did. I went back to for the orientation on Sunday.

CAMEROTA: And what was that like for both of you?

HOTH: For me it was kind of -- it was still like really surreal because it really wasn't school. We were really just going to pick up our belongings. And so it wasn't the same atmosphere as being back at school. But it was still really good to see all of our teachers and all of our friends in kind of one place and it -- I guess you could say it reassured me to a certain extend that, you know, I was like in a safe environment where everyone around me had kind of been through the same experience that I had been through and we all kind of knew the pain and the grief that we all were feeling collectively.

CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead, Lorenzo.

PRADO: For me it was -- for me it was quite surreal also because it's like we -- we're coming back to school, but we're not going to school to go to classes or anything. We we're just going back just to pick up our stuff and just -- it feels weird because, like, you never expect to do that ever. Like you've ever had to leave your stuff at school and have so many people coming back for them. And like seeing everyone, like all my teachers again, was really touching.

I -- I was able to talk to most of my teachers. And seeing them again made me really -- really glad. I was able to talk to, you know, my coach and all of them. And just knowing that they're OK and that we're going to get through this together was really uplifting.


Lorenzo, is it true that something that -- while you were trying to escape and hide during this massacre when the gunman was there, that you were mistaken for the gunman for some time?

PRADO: Yes. So what happened was that, before I knew that the shooting was occurring, I decided that if it was real, I would hide in this -- the booth area in the auditorium. But since I was like pacing around and I looked very like nervous or like startling I guess --


PRADO: The people in the audience were -- who were far away mistook me for the guy because I had like the same clothing description as him. And they couldn't really see my face from afar. So like I was reported and the SWAT came into the room I was in and took me down from the booth area because it was like in an elevated position. They brought me down and they like put me on the floor. They patted me down. They searched me and then they cuffed me and they put me in a corner because I was still like a -- the suspect and the guy was -- hasn't been caught yet.

[08:55:30] CAMEROTA: Yes. Oh, my gosh, I mean, Lorenzo, that is -- thank goodness that the SWAT team, you know, kept their cool heads, because, obviously -- PRADO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: You know, if they -- if you had done anything to make them nervous or threaten them, thank goodness -- thank goodness this didn't go worse.

Well, listen, Lorenzo and Dimitri, I'll see you guys tomorrow, OK. So I'll be coming down to talk to the kids as they head into the school because we want to make sure that you guys are prepared and getting the counseling that you need, and we know how difficult tomorrow is going to be for both of you. So take care of yourselves and I will see you guys tomorrow.

And I will see all of you watching tomorrow as well when I go report from Parkland, Florida.

So CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman picks up after this very quick break.


[09:00:03] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. John Berman here.

The president claims he would run into a school unarmed to stop a shooter, but this morning he is already walking away from a new gun law that would have make it harder for the killer to get a weapon.