Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday deflected questions about any potential Trump campaign collusion in the 2016 election by accusing the Democratic National Committee of colluding with the Ukrainian government, though the situations have marked differences.
“If there’s been any evidence of collusion in 2016 that’s come out at all or been discussed that’s actually happened it would be between the DNC and the Ukrainian government,” Sanders said Wednesday in an off-camera, audio-only White House briefing.
She cited an unnamed New York Times reporter who Sanders claimed tweeted that “Ukrainian actions to coordinate with the DNC was actually successful” and “directly targeted members of the Trump campaign in an attempt to undermine it.”
Sanders appeared to be referring to a report Politico published in January about Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American consultant for the DNC.
Politico reported, citing unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the situation, that Chalupa met with officials in Ukraine’s Washington, D.C. embassy about Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s ties to Ukraine and any connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia.
Chalupa told then-DNC communications director Luis Miranda in an email later released by Wikileaks that she wanted to share sensitive information about Manafort “offline” with Miranda and Lauren Dillon, the committee’s research director, including “a big Trump component.”
An unnamed DNC official told Politico that Chalupa conducted her research into Manafort, Trump and Russia independently, and that the committee did not use her findings in its own dossiers on Trump and his connections to Russia.
Donald Trump Jr., the President’s eldest son, was by contrast enthusiastic about the prospect of receiving supposedly compromising information on Hillary Clinton from a lawyer described as a “Russian government attorney” who offered the information as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied in a bombshell email chain he released Tuesday.