Gage Skidmore / Flickr pence pointing sessions...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

As many predicted yesterday, even though Donald Trump praised George Papadopoulos as an “excellent guy” third on a short list of five people that Trump mentioned by name to the Washington Post when Papadopoulous was chosen to be on the Foreign Advisory Committee last spring, Trump is now denouncing him.

Guess which Senator from Alabama used to oversee Donald Trump’s Foreign Advisory Committee, and to whom George Papadopoulos would have reported? Did you answer Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III? Right you are. Both Breitbart and Fox News were busy celebrating this serendipitous event back in the day. RawStory:

Sessions had hands-on involvement with the advisory committee Papadopoulos sat on, according to Stephen Miller — the senator’s communications director and, after the election, a senior advisor to the president.

“For first time, Miller detailed the effort Sessions has poured into this new role,” gushed Breitbart News on March 17, 2016, in a recap of an appearance on Fox News.

“Jeff Sessions has been meeting for hours now putting together a team of foreign policy advisers, military experts, [and] intelligence experts,” Miller told “The Kelly Files.” “I had a chance to speak to Sen. Sessions today and his military advisers for about half an hour before coming here and we discussed some robust foreign policy ideas.” […]

The advisory committee surprised and baffled foreign policy experts, who hadn’t heard of many of the advisors — who, for their part, were unable to describe exactly how they were helping Trump.

The experts undoubtedly were not cognizant of the fact that “foreign policy” had morphed, with the advent of Trump, into collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election. So Jeff Sessions did not exactly get good press on Monday and Sarah Huckabee Sanders can drink a vat of denial KoolAid, the fact remains that Sessions knew Papadopoulous and dealt with him in his capacity as overseer of the foreign advisory committee. Also bear in mind that of the top five people Trump named as members of the committee, Papadopolous was named third. On these facts, it’s going to be a little hard to deny that Manafort Monday “has nothing to do with us.”

And who was conspicuous by his absence Monday, not saying a word to the press, let alone defending the honor of His Fearless Leader? If you answered Mike Pence, bingo, you’re still batting 1000. Pence was probably on the phone running up a bill to his high priced lawyer and asking Mother to bring another ice pack. It will be very interesting indeed to see how Pence distances himself from Paul Manafort, since Paul Manafort handpicked him for the vice presidential slot on the GOP ticket and even stooped to lying to Trump about mechanical problems with Trump’s plane in order to get Trump to stay over in Indiana an extra night and meet with Pence. The Nation:

The truth is that Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign was not “limited.” It was definitional. When Manafort was in charge of making sure that the Republican platform-writing process and convention went smoothly, the party suddenly became dramatically friendlier to Russia—to such an extent that the headline on an analysis piece published in The Washington Post just before the convention read: “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine.”

There will be many attempts to deny and dissemble. But one thing is certain: Manafort definitely put one man in the West Wing of the White House (and the adjoining Eisenhower Executive Office Building): Mike Pence.

It was Manafort who brought Pence, the scandal-plagued and politically vulnerable governor of Indiana, who had backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz in that state’s Republican primary, into consideration as a vice-presidential prospect for Trump. Referring to Trump, Manafort explained last summer that “I brought him in to meet Pence.” That manipulation, said Manafort, fostered the notion that Pence “had value to Trump as a potential VP nominee.”

But the Manafort-Pence connection was about more than just introducing Trump to a Republican stalwart the fixer had known for many years. Veteran Republican strategist John Weaver says, “Remember, Manafort selected the VP and was therefore the most important person on the campaign team.” 

If Mike Pence has dedicated himself to anything, it is distancing himself from Trump Russia, from the get get. When Mike Flynn got busted, Pence steadfastly maintained that he knew nothing about Mike Flynn nor his problems and that Flynn lied to him — in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

You could insert any number of names in the red circles numbered 1 and 2, Papadopoulous will do just fine. He and the professor he met were actively working on setting up meetings between Russians and the Trump campaign. One email of Papadopolous was entitled ”Request From Russia To Meet Mr. Trump.”  Maybe Putin just wanted to exchange borscht recipes. And maybe Huckabee Sanders better get a water tower full of denial KoolAid and a hose, because Robert Mueller threw a couple of shrimp on the barbie yesterday and the bigger fish are going to fry real soon. It’s going to be a real feast.

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