White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders delivered the administration’s official response to yesterday’s developments in Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s probe into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during a press conference yesterday, but just in case anybody has any doubts about the Trump administration’s attitude toward the indictments (not to mention Papadopoulos’s guilty plea), Chief of Staff John Kelly took to Fox News last night to echo his boss’s comments on the matter.
During an appearance on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle,” the retired Marine general reminded viewers that everybody is innocent until proven guilty. Kelly said Paul Manafort and Rick Gates’s alleged crimes, which were purportedly carried out between 2006 and 2015, happened long before they joined the Trump campaign. In a 12-count indictment unsealed yesterday, Manafort – a former Trump campaign executive – and Gates – Manafort’s longtime deputy – have been accused of a bevy of offenses, including tax fraud, money laundering, failing to disclose their foreign lobbying work, and conspiring against the US.
He also suggested that the administration has no plans to fire Mueller, as was reported yesterday, and also doesn't plan on taking steps to defund the investigation, like Steve Bannon reportedly suggested.
“All of the activities as I understand it that they were indicted for was long before they ever met Donald Trump or had any associated with the campaign. I think the reaction of the administration is let the legal justice system work, everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we’ll see where this goes.”
The indictment does not point to any of Manafort’s work for Trump’s campaign, which took place between March of 2016 until his ouster in August.
Asked by Ingraham about morale in the West Wing, Kelly said members of the ‘”vast majority” of the White House staff are law-abiding citizens just trying to serve their country.
“I think the staff is very comfortable we’re simply serving the nation. The vast majority of the staff would have nothing to do with this kind of thing.”
In addition to the indictments, court records unsealed yesterday revealed that George Papadopoulos, nominally a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to charges of lying to FBI agents in the investigation.
Delivering a Kremlin-approved statement Tuesday morning, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia wasn’t implicated in the first round of indictments, the Associated Press reported.
“So far Russia doesn’t figure in any way in these charges which have been made,” Peskov said, adding that he hopes they do not feed the anti-Russia “hysteria.”
Peskov adds that accusations of Russian meddling in the election remain “unfounded,” and “we are observing (the situation) with interest.”
Shortly after Manafort and Gates turned themselves in to the FBI on Monday, Trump emphatically tweeted that there was no evidence of collusion, adding that the alleged crimes took place long before the two men joined his campaign.
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????