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Despite Denials, Trump And Sessions Knew Of Campaign Russian Ties
Soon after Donald Trump took office earlier this year, he denied that he was aware of any contacts by his campaign with representatives of the Russian government. Jeff Sessions made similar denials on multiple occasions when he testified before the Senate.
But evidence is emerging that both the president and attorney general were aware of such connections and dealings. An article published by The New York Times on Thursday reveals that the Mueller investigation has uncovered “that George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser, had frequent discussions with Russians in 2016 and trumpeted his connections in front of Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions.” Similarly, Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page told the House Intelligence Committee during testimony on Thursday that he had told Sessions in advance of a July 2016 trip he was making to Moscow.
The Times story details a meeting Trump had with his foreign policy team on March 31, 2016 meeting at which Papadopoulos said “that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” according to court records. Trump campaign advisor J. D. Gordon, who was also at the meeting, said that Papadopoulos told the gathering that “he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.
Sessions was also at the meeting and reportedly opposed the scheme. He also told those in attendance “that no one should talk about it,” according to Gordon.
CNN reported on Thursday that Page spoke with Sessions about his upcoming trip to Russia to give a speech at a dinner in June 2016 attended by Trump campaign advisors. He said that Sessions did not respond and nothing further was said between the two. Page testified that it was the only time he met Sessions.
The facade of unequivocal denials by Trump and Sessions is starting to crack. It suggests that both of them know they had something they want to hide.