“Hey! Just because Benedict Arnold had a secret meeting with British General Cornwallis, doesn’t mean he’s a traitor to America.”
From the nowhere left to hide department:
The Wall Street Journal, said in a report that was little-noticed at the time. Candidate Trump personally met with Russian ambassador, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, on April 27, 2016, prior to a major foreign policy speech.
A few minutes before he made prepared remarks, Mr. Trump met at a VIP reception with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak. Mr. Trump warmly greeted Mr. Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors who came to the reception.
Kislyak, according to multiple contemporaneous news reports, was seated in the front row. It was an invitation-only event.
A photo from the event captures Kislyak taking his seat.
Trump used the speech to call for warmer relations with Russia. “I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength only — is possible, absolutely possible,” Trump said. “Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.”
This is where now-President Trump lies his way into an intractable predicament by claiming repeatedly, on the record, in multiple interviews, that he had NO contact with Russian officials as a presidential candidate. None, Zero, Zilch, Nada.
Well whaddya know…He was lying! [Gasp, shock, astonishment…..NOT!]
So was this just an isolated pronouncement? Perhaps a single slip of the tongue, a one-time forgotten moment? Again, the answer is NYET! Even the Mistress of Alternative Facts couldn’t spin her way out of this.
For those of you scoring at home here is the official count:
TRUMP SAYING HE HAS NEVER HAD ANY CONTACT WITH ANY RUSSIANS: 20!!
And that’s just since last summer.
Curious about the official list of lies? Here you go (thanks to the USAToday):
July 24, 2016
Paul Manafort, appearing on ABC’s This Week, is asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether there are any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia or its president. “No, there are not. And you know, there’s no basis to it.”
Aug. 5, 2016
Hope Hicks, then-spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, in comments to The Washington Post for a story about Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s comments in a Moscow speech sharply critizing American foreign policy involving Russia, minimizes Page as an “informal foreign policy adviser” who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign.” Page’s talk in early July at the New Economic School in Moscow said the U.S. and its allies “impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
Aug. 29, 2016
Carter Page, who characterized himself as “on leave” as a foreign policy adviser to Trump campaign, denied allegations by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a letter to the FBI that Page might be acting as a go-between for the Trump campaign with Russian officials.
Sept. 23, 2016
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller continued the campaign’s effort to distance itself from Page, telling an investigative reporter for Yahoo News that Page “has no role” and adding, “We are not aware of any of his activities, past or present.”
Sept. 24, 2016
Steven Cheung, the Trump campaign’s rapid response director, gives ABC News an almost identical statement to Miller’s. “He has no role,” Cheung said. “We are not aware of any of his activities, past or present.”
Sept. 25, 2016
Kellyanne Conway, being interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, denied the campaign had any links to Page at all. “He’s certainly not part of the campaign that I’m running, meaning we don’t have him — we have a number of people, fabulous people, men and women, as part of our national security and foreign policy team. And he’s not among them at Trump Tower.” Asked whether Page had contact with any Kremlin officials, Conway said, “If he’s doing that, he’s certainly not doing it with the permission or knowledge of the campaign, the activities that you described.” She goes on to add: “He is certainly not authorized to do that.”
Nov. 1, 2016
Manafort, former campaign manager, responding to news reports that the FBI was investigating his connections and contacts with Russia, told NBC News, “None of it is true.” He went on to say, “There’s no investigation going on by the FBI that I’m aware of.” Manafort told NBC he never had a connection to Putin or interactions with the Russian government. He labeled the allegations “political propaganda, meant to deflect.”
Nov. 11, 2016
Hicks, responding to public statements by multiple Russian government officials that they had indeed had regular contact with the Trump campaign throughout the election, gave the Associated Press a blanket denial. “It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
Dec. 12, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump tweets: “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!”
Jan. 10, 2017
Trump offers a flurry of tweets in response to leaks of a former British spy’s dossier about connections between the campaign and Russian government officials and operatives, beginning with, ” ‘BuzzFeed Runs Unverifiable Trump-Russia Claims’ #FakeNews.”
Jan. 10, 2017
Michael Cohen, a longtime lawyer for the Trump Organization who now serves as a personal lawyer for President Trump, denied ever having traveled to Prague — in response to allegations in a leaked dossier by a British spy alleging repeated contacts between Trump associates and Russians.
Jan. 10, 2017
Jeff Sessions, testifying under oath at his Senate confirmation hearing, denied having any contacts with Russia during the election under questioning by Sen. Al Franken. Said Sessions during the hearing: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported Sessions did in fact talk with the Russian ambassador two times, once in July and again in September.
Jan. 11, 2017
Trump continues tweeting about news stories about the dossier’s allegations: “Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair.” He added moments later, also via Twitter: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING.”
Jan. 11, 2017
Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the transition who is now White House press secretary, distanced the campaign from Carter Page again after Page’s name surfaced as one of the campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives in a former British spy’s dossier. “Carter Page is an individual whom the President-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign.”
Jan. 13, 2017
Trump again takes to Twitter to deny stories about Russian connections: “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists.”
Jan. 16, 2017
Trump told reporters, “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”
Feb. 7, 2017
President Trump tweets: “I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy — yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem.”
Feb. 14, 2017
Spicer, during the daily press briefing, was asked whether he could “say definitively that nobody on the Trump campaign, not even General Flynn, had any contact with the Russians before the election?” Spicer replied: “My understanding is that what General Flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period — well, we were very clear that during the transition period, he did speak with the ambassador.” A reporter, following up, reiterated to clarify that the question was about “during the campaign.” Spicer said, “I don’t have any … there’s nothing that would conclude me … that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.”
Feb. 16, 2017
During a wide-ranging press conference at the White House, President Trump said in response to one of many questions about Russia: “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 on the inauguration, a few days ago. We had a very good talk, especially the second one, lasted for a pretty long period of time. I’m sure you probably get it because it was classified. So I’m sure everybody in this room perhaps has it. But we had a very, very good talk. 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. But people knew that. Everybody knew that.”
Further pressed by a reporter about whether Manafort was having contact with the Russians in his capacity as Trump’s campaign manager, President Trump said: “You know what? He said no. I could only tell you what he — now he was replaced long before the election. You know that, right? He was replaced long before the election. When all of this stuff started coming out, it came out during the election. But Paul Manafort, who’s a good man also by the way, Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place. He was only there for a short period of time.”
Feb. 19, 2017
Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, gave a blanket “no” when asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday whether the Trump team had any connections with Moscow. Priebus went on later in the interview to add: “Let me give you an example. First of all, The New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations. We have now all kinds of people looking into this. I can assure you and I have been approved to say this — that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it was wrong. And there’s nothing to it.”
And so, if I can say that to the American people, then what does it say about the story?
Feb. 20, 2017
Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the denial during a press briefing that the Trump campaign had no contacts with Russian officials during the campaign. “This is a non-story because to the best of our knowledge, no contacts took place, so it’s hard to make a comment on something that never happened.”