Untruths wouldn’t just mislead the public—they would impede federal investigators and make it harder to safeguard the 2018 elections against foreign interference.
But to what degree was Trump untruthful? The answer is clearer than ever before, thanks to the latest information released by Robert Mueller and the FBI.
“During your campaign,” a reporter asked Trump last February, “did anyone from your team communicate with members of the Russian government or Russian intelligence? And if so, what was the nature of those conversations?”
He replied, “Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media.”
A reporter followed up, “Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign?” Trump said, “I have nothing to do with Russia. I told you, I have no deals there, I have no anything.”
That produced another follow-up: “I was just hoping that we could get a yes or no answer on these questions involving Russia. Can you say if you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?”
And Trump’s answer:
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. And he called me on the inauguration, a few days ago … 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, or people that—whoever.
I flagged that answer months ago in “President Trump’s Untruths Are Piling Up.”
Even back then, we knew that “three weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump Jr. left the campaign trail and the country to speak at a private dinner in Paris organized by an obscure pro-Russia group that promotes Kremlin foreign-policy initiatives and has since nominated Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Even then, we knew that “J.D. Gordon, a former national-security adviser to Trump, attended an event with the Russian ambassador at the GOP convention,” and that “advisers Carter Page and Walid Phares were there, too.”
Even then, we knew that when Trump’s campaign hosted an invitation-only campaign speech on foreign policy, Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended.
Even then, we knew members of the Trump campaign lobbied at the Republican convention to alter language supportive of arming Ukraine against Russia in the GOP platform.
But now we know much more.
Thanks to Robert Mueller’s efforts, we know that George Papadopoulos, a foreign-policy adviser to the Trump campaign, was offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton by Russians he believed to have Kremlin connections.