Contradicting repeated denials from Donald Trump and his team, Newsmax reported on May 14, 2016 that Trump met Russian Ambassador Kislyak at a VIP reception in Washington on April 27.
And while meeting the Russian ambassador is fine, why lie about it?
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal of May 13, 2016 confirms Trump met with Kislyak. The Journal goes even farther and says Trump “warmly” greeted the Russian ambassador:
A few minutes before he made those remarks, Mr. Trump met at a VIP reception with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak. Mr. Trump warmly greeted Mr. Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors who came to the reception.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly denied that anyone on Trump’s team, including Trump himself, had any contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. Yet we continue to find out, drip by drip, that those denials were wrong.
But according to Newsmax, in an article titled “Putin ‘Pleased’ With Trump,” Kislyak didn’t simply attend Trump’s big foreign policy speech, the Russian ambassador also attended a VIP reception that day at which he met Trump.
“I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength only — is possible, absolutely possible,” Trump said at his foreign-policy speech, in April. “Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out.”
But on that same day, Trump met with Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, at a VIP reception along with three other foreign ambassadors.
This obscure Newsmax piece was first identified last night by Sarah Kogan.
The fact that Newsmax reported this has a certain “Nixon goes to China” air about it. Newsmax is a seriously right-wing Web site, and it’s a part of a larger penumbra of extreme right sites that Trump loves. In fact, Trump is good friends with Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy; they went golfing together just last weekend. So, any other real news site would immediately be dismissed as “fake news” by Trump and his cohorts. They can’t, however, easily dismiss Newsmax as “fake” or biased, as Trump loves them. (Newsmax is in fact biased, but it’s biased for Trump.)
Though now we have the WSJ confirming this as well, so the point is moot. (Not to mention, the WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch.)
Here are a few of the previous denials from Team Trump:
Nov. 11, 2016: Spokesperson Hope Hicks says “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
Feb. 15, 2017: White House spokesman Sean Spicer says no one on the campaign had any contacts with Russia.
Spicer, during the daily press briefing, was asked whether he could “say definitively that nobody on the Trump campaign, not even General Flynn, had any contact with the Russians before the election?” Spicer replied: “My understanding is that what General Flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period — well, we were very clear that during the transition period, he did speak with the ambassador.” A reporter, following up, reiterated to clarify that the question was about “during the campaign.” Spicer said, “I don’t have any … there’s nothing that would conclude me … that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.”
Feb. 16, 2017: Trump denies any contacts with Russia.
During a wide-ranging press conference at the White House, President Trump said in response to one of many questions about Russia: “Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn’t. I just have nobody to speak to. I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election. I told you this. And he called me on the inauguration, a few days ago. We had a very good talk, especially the second one, lasted for a pretty long period of time. I’m sure you probably get it because it was classified. So I’m sure everybody in this room perhaps has it. But we had a very, very good talk. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does. Now, Manafort has totally denied it. He denied it. Now people knew that he was a consultant over in that part of the world for a while, but not for Russia. I think he represented Ukraine or people having to do with Ukraine, or people that — whoever. But people knew that. Everybody knew that.”
Feb. 19, 2017: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus denies any connections between Trump team and the Russians.
Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, gave a blanket “no” when asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday whether the Trump team had any connections with Moscow. Priebus went on later in the interview to add: “Let me give you an example. First of all, The New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations. We have now all kinds of people looking into this. I can assure you and I have been approved to say this — that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it was wrong. And there’s nothing to it.”
Feb. 20, 2017: White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issues a blanket denial — no contacts between Team Trump and the Russians.
Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the denial during a press briefing that the Trump campaign had no contacts with Russian officials during the campaign. “This is a non-story because to the best of our knowledge, no contacts took place, so it’s hard to make a comment on something that never happened.”
And now we find out via Newsmax and Wall Street Journal that not only did Jeff Sessions, Gen. Flynn, Carter Page, Jared Kushner and JD Gordon have contacts with the ubiquitous Russian ambassador, but so did Donald Trump himself.
We know that there are multiple ongoing investigations of the Russia issue. Have any investigators ever spoken to anyone on Team Trump? And if so, did they lie about these contacts? Because that would open them up to obstruction of justice charges.
UPDATE: Jeff Sessions was at Trump’s foreign policy speech in April, the one where they held the VIP reception with the Russian ambassador. Surely, Sessions, who was Trump’s top foreign policy guy at the time, was at the VIP reception. Did Sessions meet Kislyak at the reception? If so, then we have another instance of Sessions lying under oath.
On Wednesday, April 27, the Center for the National Interest’s magazine The National Interest hosted leading Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump for a foreign policy speech as a part of its continuing coverage of the 2016 electoral campaign. Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, introduced Mr. Trump. Ambassador Khalilzad is also one of the members of The National Interest advisory council and the Center’s board of directors. Center Chairman General Charles Boyd, board members Drew Guff, Grover Norquist and President Dimitri Simes also took part. Other participants included Senator Jeff Sessions, several Members of the House of Representatives and the ambassadors of Italy, the Philippines, Russia and Singapore.
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