Trump Met With Russian Ambassador, Carter Page Went To Russia With Campaign Approval
The revelations about Donald Trump’s contacts with members of the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election are circling closer and closer to Trump himself.
Yesterday, Americans learned that Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump for President campaign, had explicit permission from the Trump for President campaign to go to Russia and meet with members of the Russian government.
At the time, Trump’s campaign lied about these contacts. For example, on September 25 last year, Trump campaign strategist Kellyanne Conway told reporters that the Trump for President campaign neither knew about nor approved any contacts between Carter Page and the Russian government. “If he’s doing that, he’s certainly not doing it with the permission or knowledge of the campaign, the activities that you described,” Conway said.
Last night, Americans also learned that Donald Trump himself met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the spring of 2016, just weeks before the Russian government launched its attacks against the American election, at the public request of Donald Trump.
These new revelations of contacts between the Russian government and Donald Trump and his campaign matter for two reasons. First, they matter because Donald Trump is under investigation by multiple agencies in the US government, for his alleged cooperation with Russia’s attacks against the United States last year. Second, these revelations matter because they reveal that Donald Trump and his top aides have repeatedly lied to the American people about Trump’s communications with the Russian government during his presidential campaign.
Among the lies:
On July 24 last year, when he was asked whether the Trump for President campaign had any contact with the Russian government, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, answered, “There are not, and you know, there’s no basis to it.”
Last November, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks “It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
Last fall, Donald Trump denied that he had any involvement with the government of Russia. “I know nothing about Russia,” he said during a presidential debate.
Two months ago, when Mike Pence was asked, “Did any adviser or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?” Pence responded, “Of course not.” In that same month, Donald Trump wrote in all caps, “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING”, and told journalists, “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”
Mike Flynn, while Trump’s National Security Advisor, told the American people that he had not met with Russian government officials during Trump’s transition. Yet, he did have such meetings, with the purpose of undermining US diplomats, and Donald Trump knew that Flynn had those meetings, and concealed them for weeks.
During his Senate confirmation hearing for the position of Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, a top advisor to the Trump campaign throughout 2016, asserted that the Trump campaign had no contacts with the Russian government during 2016, even though Sessions himself had met with Sergey Kislyak twice during that time – meetings that Sessions lied about under oath.
In a press conference last month, Donald Trump said, “I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia.” Trump asserted that “nobody that I know of” had contact with the government of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Less than a week ago, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders announced to journalists that Donald Trump had nothing to do with Russians during his presidential campaign, saying, “The big point here is the President himself knows what his involvement was and that’s zero, and I think that he’s the primary person that should be held responsible and he had no interaction and I think that’s what the story should be focused on.”
This last lie is striking, not only because it’s so recent, but also because, in this lie from Sanders, the Trump Administration itself sets the standard for which it should be judged:
1. The story in the press should be focused on Donald Trump’s interactions with Russian government officials.
2. Donald Trump is the person who should be held responsible.
On these two points, we are more than happy to concur.
Too many lies have been told. Too many people connected with Trump have been implicated. The time has come for Congress to appoint a special prosecutor with the power to compel Donald Trump himself to testify, under oath.