Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Trump's Dishonest Efforts to Distance Himself from Papadopoulos

Papadopoulous is center left with Trump, et al
In the wake of the guilty plea taken by former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump has resorted to his usual tactic when the truth becomes inconvenient: he lies.  Thus, in Trump world Papadopoulos has become a nobody and has been labeled as a liar since what he seemingly has to say cuts against the biggest Trump lie, namely that no collusion or efforts to collude with Russia ever occurred. A piece in the Washington Post looks at some of Papadopoulos' activities and who knew about them, especially efforts to collude with Russia so as to harm Hillary Clinton's chances of being elected.  Already, as Politico is reporting, Sam Clovis, a former co-chair and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, knew that another campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, was talking to Russians, according to documents released Monday as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and campaign and administration officials. Clovis is reported to be cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee and one can imagine that he will be talking to Robert Mueller and his staff.  Others besides Clovis were "in the loop" on Papadopoulous' efforts to collude.  Here are highlights from the Post piece:
President Trump on Tuesday belittled former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty this week to lying to federal agents investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, tweeting that “few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.”
But interviews and documents show that Papadopoulos was in regular contact with the Trump campaign’s most senior officials and held himself out as a Trump surrogate as he traveled the world to meet with foreign officials and reporters.
Papadopoulos sat at the elbow of one of Trump’s top campaign advisers, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, during a dinner for campaign advisers weeks before the Republican National Convention, according to an individual who attended the meeting.
While some top campaign aides appeared to rebuff Papadopoulos’s persistent offers to broker a meeting with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, there is no sign they told him directly to cease his activities or sought to end his affiliation with the campaign.
Emails included in court documents released Monday show that Papadopoulos repeatedly told Trump campaign officials about his contacts with people he believed were representing the Russian government.
At 29, Papadopoulos had scant experience that qualified him to advise a presidential candidate. He had entered the Trump campaign after a six-week stint working for the campaign of Trump’s rival for the Republican nomination, neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
By March 2016, Trump’s campaign, like Carson’s before it, was eagerly searching for foreign policy expertise. As Trump rose in the polls and won Republican primaries, the former reality TV host was under pressure to announce a group of advisers with whom he was consulting on foreign policy issues.
The scrutiny intensified early that month after 70 conservative national security experts signed an open letter opposing Trump’s candidacy. 
To come up with names, the campaign turned to Sam Clovis, a former Iowa radio host who served as national campaign co-chairman, an attorney for Clovis confirmed Tuesday in a statement.
On March 21, Trump included Papadopoulos among five men he announced were advising him on matters of national security in a meeting with The Washington Post editorial board. “An energy and oil consultant. Excellent guy,” Trump said.
Though Papadopoulos’s exaggerated résumé issues quickly became public, he remained a part of the Trump advisory panel and soon began urging campaign aides to let him set up a meeting between Trump and Russian officials.
Court documents show he raised the idea at a March 31 meeting of the group attended by both Trump and Sessions, who had endorsed Trump’s campaign, telling the group that “he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President [Vladimir] Putin.”
Papadopoulos continued to be invited to campaign events. In late June or early July, he attended a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club along with several other national security advisers for the Trump campaign.  Another person who was at the meeting said Sessions also attended; Papadopoulos was seated to Sessions’s left.  A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment.

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