I Did Not Have Contact With That State: These Trump Officials Denied Russia Ties

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Are you old enough to remember when top officials on President Donald Trump’s campaign denied any contact with or connections to Russia?

“There are not. That’s absurd and, you know, there’s no base to it,” Paul Manafort said in July 2016, a month after he attended a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a Kremlin-linked lawyer who was supposed to provide them compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

Trump family acquaintance Rob Goldstone referred to the lawyer as a “Russian government attorney” who had “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” The information would “be very useful” to Trump and was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone added.

“Absolutely not,” Kellyanne Conway said in December 2016. “Those conversations never happened.”

“I joined this campaign in the summer and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people,” Mike Pence, then vice president-elect, said in January. “Of course not. Why would there be any contacts?”

“I did not have communications with the Russians,” Jeff Sessions, then nominee for attorney general, said unprompted in January at his confirmation hearing. (He did have communications.)

Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned in February after it was revealed that he spoke to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about sanctions despite denying that he did so.

Trump claimed three days later that besides Flynn, “no, nobody that I know of” had contact with Russia during the election.

While earlier this week Trump was quick to jump to the defense of his eldest child, first daughter Ivanka Trump, he has remained silent about his embattled eldest son.

Watch the various statements, collected by NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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