President Donald Trump says a campaign adviser who has admitted to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about meetings with Russian intermediaries was a "low level volunteer" who was "proven to be a liar". Unsealed court records allege that Papadopoulos "falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed "dirt" related to emails" allegedly targeting Secretary Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Papadopoulos continued to push a meeting with the Russians, and he sent multiple emails to other members of the campaign foreign policy team about his contact with "the Russians" and "outreach to Russia", according to the statement.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again under scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding his candor about Russia and the Trump campaign amid revelations that he rejected a suggestion to convene a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump previous year.
After Trump declined to rule out the idea, Sessions weighed in and rejected the proposed meeting, according to a person who attended.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Monday that the President does not recall specifics of the meeting and that the foreign policy group that Papadopoulos was a part of only met once. The source added that Papadopoulos was viewed by those in attendance "as someone who didn't have a lot of credibility". After the news of the indictments broke, The Washington Post and CNN reported that Trump was seething in the White House about the news.
In all, there were five or six advisory meetings of the national security team.
There's no evidence that the meeting ever occurred, but the email makes it sound like Trump officials put some planning into it (as opposed to suggesting that Papadopoulos conduct the meeting himself, if he felt like it).
Clovis appeared to encourage Papadopoulos to engage with Russian contacts; in one instance Clovis responded directly to Papadopoulos, hailing him for his "great work" and saying "I would encourage you" to "make the trip, if it is feasible", referring to a trip the young campaign adviser pitched to go overseas.
In May, Papadopoulos sent an email to a "high ranking Campaign official" with subject line "Request from Russian Federation to meet Mr. Trump". Papadopolous said he should appear on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos because their names sounded similar.
Emails obtained by the AP show that George Papadopoulos' conversations, cited in court papers, were with Joseph Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev. "It will be great", Gordon said of the conversation.
White House staffers who have been called to meet with Mueller have usually kept the President's legal team in the loop.
The repeated, often-testy questioning about the Russian Federation investigation, coming even as Sessions spearheads sweeping changes to the Justice Department in the areas of LGBT rights, criminal justice and immigration, illustrates the extent to which the probe continues to shadow Sessions even though he recused himself months ago. Papadopoulos' attorney did not respond. "And even if you look at that, there's not even a mention of Trump in there".
The campaign officials aren't named in the document, but Paul Manafort was campaign chairman at the time, and Clovis was in place as national co-chairman.
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