Vastavam web: An investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election moved into a new and more perilous stage for the White House today after three aides to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, including a former chairman, were charged.Ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and another former Trump aide appeared in court, pleading not guilty to conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and several other charges after the indictments in the Russia probe were unsealed.Separately, another former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Kremlin-related contacts, according to a plea deal revealed yesterday.
The unsealed indictments were an explosive opening salvo from independent counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russia probe, after months of speculation, spin and obfuscation about possible Trump campaign collusion with Moscow.Papadopoulos, a former Trump foreign policy advisor, admitted he tried to hide contacts with a Moscow-linked professor who was offering “dirt” on Trump’s election rival Hillary Clinton.
The revelations prompted a furious and defiant reaction from Trump, who dismissed allegations of collusion and called on Clinton to be investigated.
“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?????” Trump tweeted. “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” The ex-advisor told the FBI that he had been instructed by an unnamed “campaign supervisor” to meet Russian officials “off the record” if “feasible.”
His contacts with Russian sources came to include Putin’s niece and the Russian ambassador in London.White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested Trump did not recall “specific details of the meeting” and that Papadopoulos had only a limited role.