The most important question that Donald Trump was ever asked in a press conference is suddenly easy to identify: “Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?”
President Trump’s answer last spring was dubious.
He replied that aside from Mike Flynn (who ostensibly resigned as national-security adviser for misleading Vice President Pence about a meeting with Russia’s ambassador) he was not aware of any of his campaign advisers having had contacts with Russia.
Then Trump went much farther:
Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years. Don't speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn't. I just have nobody to speak to. I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election. I told you this. And he called me a few days ago. We had a very good talk, especially the second one ... I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does. Now, Manafort has totally denied it. He denied it. Now people knew that he was a consultant over in that part of the world for a while, but not for Russia. I think he represented Ukraine or people having to do with Ukraine.
Months ago, in “The President’s Untruths Are Piling Up,” I summarized the many ways in which people Trump deals with have a lot to do with Russia and its power brokers.