With Donald Trump, what is not is as important as what is.
It isn’t about France, or Germany, or Canada, or Portugal, or Burundi or even Iraq or Iran or Syria.
It’s about Russia.
According to a report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning policy, research and advocacy group headquartered in Washington, D.C., there were 82 “contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives” during and after the campaign.
So if you think that liberals can’t be trusted, that listening to people who worked for the Democratic candidate in 2016 is useless, you needn’t read further. But if that’s the case, you may as well turn off whatever electronic device you’re using and tune into Fox News, because by paying attention to the mainstream media’s coverage of this story since it first bubbled to the surface of the swamp in 2016, you’ve been listening to the denials of their contacts with the Russians by everyone from Trump himself right down to the execrable and discredited Sean Spicer, currently out on the hustings pushing even more denials while pushing his error-packed book, “The Briefing.”
They began with flat denials. On July 24, 2016, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and was asked, “Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?” A smiled played across Manafort’s lips as he responded confidently, “No, there are not. That’s absurd. And you know, there’s no basis to it.”
The third Russian at this meeting Manafort denied ever happened was Anatoli Samochornov, a translator. The fourth was Ike Kaveladze, a Georgian-American who worked for the American arm of a Russian real estate development company run by Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch close to Putin who hosted the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant alongside Donald Trump in Moscow.
Prior to the meeting at Trump Tower, campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had been meeting in Rome and London with an apparently fake college “professor” by the name of Joseph Mifsud who told Papadopoulos he was in contact with Russian government officials who had “dirt” and “thousands of emails” damaging to Hillary Clinton they wanted to share with the Trump Campaign. Papadopoulos was introduced to Olga Polonskaya, whom Mifsud falsely identified “Putin’s niece.” He was also in contact with Ivan Timofeev, director of something called the Russian International Affairs Council who was close to high officials in the Russian Foreign Ministry, their state department. Papadopoulos sent emails about his Russian contacts to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, deputy campaign manager Sam Clovis, campaign chairman Paul Manafort and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. The entire senior leadership of the Trump campaign knew about everyone Papadopoulos was meeting. In short, they knew about all of his contacts with Russians.
That is one hell of a lot of Russians for the Trump campaign to be in contact with at a time when they were claiming that they had no contacts with Russians whatsoever.
They were meeting with numerous Russians who were shopping thousands of emails that had been stolen from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, a federal crime for which 12 agents of Russian intelligence were indicted. They had knowledge a crime had taken place. In fact, they were participating in the crime as co-conspirators by discussing the theft of the emails with Russians representing those who had committed it.
He denied that his campaign had contacts with Russians on July 27, when he appeared on local CBS television in Miami, and when asked about allegations that Russia was trying to help his election campaign said, “I can tell you I think if I came up with that they’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a conspiracy theory, it’s ridiculous’… I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia.”
This week the Trump Tower meeting with Russians surfaced again in the news when former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen said he was willing to speak with investigators for Robert Mueller and tell them that Donald Trump knew about the meeting before it took place and was informed about what occurred during the meeting afterwards.
Donald Trump Jr. denied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had told his father about the meeting with Russians in Trump Tower. Donald Trump himself has repeatedly denied that he knew anything about the meeting. And yesterday, Trump tweeted a complicated, bizarre denial of Cohen’s allegation that he had been informed about the Trump Tower meeting saying that Cohen, “is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!” (Trump was referring to the fact that Cohen recently hired Lanny Davis, who worked in the Clinton White House and was instrumental in the defense of Clinton during his impeachment hearings.)
We’ve met here before, and we’ll meet here again, because revelations of contacts between Trump and his people with Russians just keep on coming, as do the denials. Remember how the whole thing transpired – first they lied that any contacts with Russians had taken place, then they admitted contacts but claimed there were only one or two of them, and when the contacts multiplied, they lied about what they were, then they denied they had ever lied in the first place, then they lied about the people who revealed the contacts (Papadopoulos was just a “coffee boy,” remember?), then they lied about Mueller’s investigation and its “13 angry Democrats,” then they lied about the FBI being out to get Trump, and now they’re lying about people they were praising only weeks ago, Michael Cohen being the most recent of these.
Lies have been piled upon denials on top of lies, and now that they’ve been confronted with the first Cohen tape with Trump’s actual voice talking about paying off a Playboy Playmate Trump had a year-long affair with, they’re lying about the words that can be heard coming from his mouth. In fact, on the day that the tape was released by Cohen’s lawyers, Trump went before the convention if the Veterans of Foreign Wars and said, “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”
The day before that remarkable statement, the White House released a transcript of Trump’s disastrous press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin omitting his answer to a reporter’s question admitting that he had wanted Trump to win the election of 2016. They also deleted Putin’s answer from the official White House video record of the press conference.