MUELLER REPORT PART I – TRUMP CANOODLING WITH RUSSIA – C

C. Campaign Officials Suffering from Failed Memories at Critical Times

George Papadopoulos was working toward a London meeting of Campaign officials with Putin staff that would be not openly endorsed by Trump. I-MR 92. Interestingly, Papadopoulos “declined to assist in deciphering his notes” about the TAG meeting and the London meeting plan. I-MR 91, n. 489. Clovis claimed not to recall attending the TAG meeting even though he was photographed sitting next to Papadopoulos. I-MR 91. Papadopoulos was dismissed from Campaign a few months later after an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax wherein he complained about the effect of Obama’s sanctions on Russia and drew unwanted attention to the developing relationship with Russia. I-MR 93, n. 493

 One of the most interesting aspects of the Report is that, when crucial issues were raised with various members of the Campaign, they experienced memory failure. This happens again and again in the investigation. A glaring and important example relates to whether Papadopoulos, having seemingly constant though irregular communications with Campaign officials about his efforts to link the Campaign with Russian support, told anyone on the Campaign staff that the Russians claimed to have email dirt on Clinton.

Papadopoulos wasn’t sure and Stephen Miller and Clovis both could not recall hearing this extraordinary information. While the Report says that no documentary evidence, including emails, showed that Papadopoulos shared the information with the Campaign, it strains credulity to believe that Papadopoulos kept this claim to himself throughout the summer when he was working so hard to convince the Campaign of the value of his Russia connections. It is also not surprising that there was no documentary evidence because the nature of the secret and the warnings from Campaign staff about the sensitivity of the Russia connection, documented in the Report would naturally lead to avoiding the creation of a paper trail.

Papadopoulos also had memory loss when questioned about his relationship with Sergei Millian, who claimed to be the head of the New York-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce. I-MR 94. Curiously, that organization’s website states that the “Chairman and Founder” of the RACC is Yelena Brezhneva. https://raccnv.com/about-us  On LinkedIn, she is listed as a real estate investment advisor in Las Vegas and also founder of the RACC. Millian is nowhere mentioned.

Millian had offered Papadopoulos access to “disruptive technology that might be instrumental in your political work for the campaign.” Trump campaign official Bo Denysyk declined Papadopoulos’ offer to connect him with Millian because there was already to much media attention to Trump’s enthusiasm for Russia. I-MR 94. There is no report about Papadopoulos’ specific response to the offer of “disruptive technology,” which is a strange omission and not explained anywhere in the Report.

The consideration of the Papadopoulos – Millian connection dries up despite further meetings between the two, in part because Millian remained out of the country during the investigation and refused requests to be interviewed. I-MR 94. It appears that Mueller simply gave up on this line of inquiry. Why?

The other point to be made here is that the Campaign people likely were aware that a lie about some action could be found out, with legal consequences for the liars (ask Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen), but a statement that “I don’t remember” is virtually bullet-proof unless extrinsic evidence exists that the person does remember; such situations are rare.

While there are substantial Grand Jury-based redactions related to Carter Page’s activities in Russia, the Report ultimately concludes that Page’s activities “were not fully explained,” suggesting there was more to be learned but for redacted reasons, there was no further opportunity. I-MR 101. Why?

As with Papadopoulos, the media focused on Page’s Russia activities in the post Republican Convention period and by late September, he was dismissed from the Campaign amidst denials from the Campaign that he had a meaningful role. I-MR 102

The pattern seemed to be that the Campaign was comfortable with the efforts of Papadopoulos and Page to generate contacts in Russia as long as it was not publicly exposed; when it was exposed, they were ousted from the Campaign. Hope Hicks issued a directive that the Campaign was to deny Page had a role even after he was announced as foreign policy advisor in March 2016. Allegedly, he was paid to do nothing for six months, then fired. There is no discussion of the Campaign payrolls to show how much Papadopoulos and Page were paid or whether there was documentation of expenses reimbursed by the Campaign. WHY is this obvious investigative technique not at least mentioned?

 Finally, let’s not forget that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General until Sessions recused himself and refused Trump’s demands to un-recuse, also could not remember what he spoke with Russian Ambassador Kislyak about at the Global Partners in Diplomacy event. I-MR 123. I understand that these oh so very important people meet so many other very important people that they can’t remember every conversation, but Kislyak was the Russian Ambassador. I, at least, believe it is more than a little odd, that Sessions could not remember anything substantive about their interaction. Maybe I just haven’t met enough very important people.

Next: The Curious Handling of the Trump Tower Meeting

 

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