Tags: Donald Trump | Law Enforcement | Russia | Russia Probe | Trump Administration | sarah huckabee sanders | robert mueller

WH: Mueller to Stay; Manafort Charges 'Nothing to Do' With Trump


By    |   Monday, 30 October 2017 02:20 PM

President Donald Trump has "no intention" to dismiss former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of investigating Russian collusion in connection with the 2016 presidential election, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Monday.

Further, she said, charges that have been filed against former campaign manager Paul Manafort and deputy manager Rick Gates have have nothing to do with the campaign, Sanders said during the White House press briefing.

"[Monday's] announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity," Sanders said, marking the first comments, beyond a pair of tweets from the president, to come after Manafort and Gates turned themselves in at the FBI's field office in Washington, D.C., earlier in the day.

"The real collusion scandal, as we've said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia," Sanders said. "There's clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the president, to influence the election. We've been saying since day one there's been no evidence of Trump/Russia collusion and nothing in the indictment [Monday] changes that at all."

She also denied a guilty plea made by campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to charges he had lied to the FBI about a meeting with Russian agents was connected in any way to the president's campaign.

"It has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign," Sanders said. "It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or campaign's activities."

She described Papadopoulos' role with the campaign as being "extremely limited" as a volunteer.

"Again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard," Sanders said.

According to court documents that were unsealed Monday, foreign nationals with ties to the Kremlin had been seeking to establish a relationship with a campaign official by offering "dirt" on then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos, an energy lawyer, first told the FBI he had made the contacts before becoming part of Trump's campaign foreign policy team, but the contacts were actually made after he joined the campaign.

"He reached out and nothing happened beyond that, which I think shows, one, his level of importance in the campaign and, two, shows what little role he had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign," Sanders said.

Sanders, who said last week she believed Mueller would be wrapping up his investigation soon, said the Trump administration still believes that.

She also said she does not believe Trump and Manafort have been in contact since February.

"I know there was some initial contact after the president was sworn in with him at meetings at the White House but nothing directly with the president," Sanders said.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted former FBI Director Robert Mueller will not be dismissed as special counsel in charge of investigating Russian collusion in connection with the 2016 presidential election.
sarah huckabee sanders, robert mueller, fbi investigation, paul manafort
Monday, 30 October 2017 02:20 PM
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