Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway responded Tuesday to the FBI director’s announcement that the bureau was investigating possible connections and collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials by distancing Trump from two individuals connected to Russian interests.
“You raised a very excellent point which is in the case of Mr. Page, Mr. Gordon, some others, that they really have very attenuated contacts to the campaign that I managed for the last three months,” Conway told “Fox and Friends” Tuesday.
She was referring to Carter Page and J.D. Gordon, two former advisers of Trump’s who have come under scrutiny – and reported investigation in Page’s case – for their communication with Russian officials during the campaign.
“I have spoken directly with the President and other senior officials about this. He doesn’t know these gentlemen,” Conway continued. “He didn’t work with them. You know, Sean Spicer, our press secretary, addressed this at length in his briefing yesterday, and he’s absolutely right.”
“There are others who were more involved with who seem to be of interest,” Conway continued. “But again, where is the nexus? People are so quick to make that nexus.”
J.D. Gordon claimed in March that he was acting on Trump’s behalf when he urged against including a provision in the Republican Party platform that called for providing lethal force to the government of Ukraine, now in a territorial struggle against Russia. Gordon told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Trump had personally told him, during a meeting a Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. in March 2016, that he did not “want to go to World War III over Ukraine.”
Page has stopped short of saying he briefed then-candidate Trump personally, but told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he was on conference calls and writing memos in conjunction with the campaign until his September resignation.
In a press conference Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer raised eyebrows when he said that Paul Manafort, who for more than five months led the Trump campaign, “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
On Tuesday, the Washington Post and New York Times reported that a Ukrainian prosecutor (whom Manafort has accused of blackmail in the past) had provided documents allegedly proving that Manafort had laundered money through offshore companies from the political party of Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian president he had advised.
Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign – he was replaced by Conway and Steve Bannon – days after the New York Times first reported on the existence of an off-the-books payment ledger showing that Manafort had received $12.7 from the party.
This post has been updated.