Paul Manafort and Rick Gates’ indictments Monday were arguably big news. They were not, however, the biggest news of the day.
Don’t get me wrong: the sheer amount of monies involved, which Manafort is alleged to have laundered through Cyprus, along with both men being indicted for “Conspiracy Against the United States,” makes the matter very big news.
However, what strikes me as the most relevant news broken on Monday was that a man who worked for Trump, and identified by him as “one of the members of his foreign policy staff,” was arrested back in July. During a Washington Post editorial interview, Mr. Trump added how the man was an “oil and energy guy” and “was great.” That man was not only arrested in July but indicted on October 5, 2017, for lying to the federal government. His name? Mr. George Papadopoulos.
Perhaps the most important part of this story, however, is that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to the federal government, and in addition, according to reports, has been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller since July.
No Amount Of Spin by Sarah Huckabee Sanders removes the fact that Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty. Nothing! No amount of spin by Mr. Trump, Fox News, the conservative media entertainment complex, or any surrogate will mitigate this fact. So, what did Papadopoulos precisely lie about to the federal government? In one sentence, the indictment tells us he lied
“About the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”
Second, the indictment makes clear that Mr. Papadopoulos communicated with several people from Mr. Trump’s campaign. While those people are not disclosed in the indictment, Trump nor any surrogate can state – without blatantly lying – that all of those meetings with Russians as reported by major media outlets, were innocent in nature; or, just business as usual.
In the indictment, one particular campaign official tells Mr. Papadopoulos the following:
“We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal,”
And then there is the matter of the “Russian professor,” who “took great interest in Mr. Papadopoulos once his “status within the campaign” became known to the Russians. When discussing the issue of whether Trump’s campaign assisted the Russians with interfering in our election, a plethora of people in the media have discussed how a difference exists between knowingly and unwittingly working in union with the Russians.
However, ignorance does not seem to be an acceptable defense to Mr. Mueller’s team, for while they acknowledge the Russians sought Papadopoulos out, he still has been indicted. In other words, it does not appear that Mr. Mueller is going to buy into the notion that “they had no experience with public campaigns,” as Donald Junior previously intimated when caught meeting with that female lawyer who had ties to “the Kremlin.”
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
If you have been following this investigation, you can easily recall that Mr. Donald Trump Junior met with a “Russian lawyer,” along with Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and several people from Russia. The purpose of that meeting? While Trump Junior and the administration want us to believe “nothing came of the information” Junior was told the Russian lawyer had “dirt” on his father’s political opponent. So, one must wonder: is this the same Russian lawyer that is described in Mr. Papadopoulos’ indictment?
While Donald Trump Junior argues how the subject discussed between he and the Russian lawyer was The Magnitsky Act, reports suggest the lawyer had originally offered “dirt” on his father’s political opponent in the several email exchanges between Donald Trump Junior, his intermediary in Russia, and campaign officials.
Let me be clear: The purpose Mr. Papadopoulos had for meeting with the Russian female described in his indictment was to gather dirt on Mr. Trump’s political opponent. The purpose of Mr. Trump Junior’s meeting with that Russian lawyer was to gather dirt on Mr. Trump’s political opponent. Coincidence? You tell me.
On top of all of this, and trust me folks, there is much more in that indictment, we have the issue of the several lies Trump Junior made in public once he learned that an article was being published about “his meeting with that Russian lawyer.”
His story changed several times, but most importantly according to reports in our media: It was none other than the President – who either drafted or approved the final draft of that misleading statement for Donald Junior to repeat to the public. Of course, it is not illegal to lie to the press, however these events, if true, all point to a clear connection between the Russian government and Mr. Trump’s campaign.
The indictment also describes how Mr. Papadopoulos attempted to orchestrate a meeting between Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and then-candidate Donald Trump, in London. We further know that Mr. Papadopoulos conveyed his progress to a “campaign supervisor” and was praised for his work.
The connection is apparent. What we witnessed Monday, friends, was nothing more than the opening salvo of the weapons Mr. Mueller has at his disposal as Special Counsel to get to the bottom of exactly what took place during our last election and what role Russia played in it, or whether they had American confederates working with them. Regardless of the denials, diversions, and attempts to change the narrative to how the “real collusion that took place during the past election” was between Mr. Trump’s political opponent and Russia, Mr. Mueller does not seem to be persuaded. Yesterday, the Trump administration was placed on notice, and Mr. Papadopoulos’ indictment is but one small step toward demonstrating how it was Mr. Trump’s campaign and not his political opponent’s that was working with Russian agents to influence the outcome of the election.