The investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion is being hampered by the numerous lies coming from people allegedly involved in the Russian meddling of the 2016 elections. In October, Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed documents of George Papadopoulos admitting to having lied to the FBI. But Trump’s former foreign policy advisor is only one of the increasing number of liars in this complex issue being probed by Mueller’s team.
The following persons have made false statements when questioned by investigators and reporters on the suspicious nature of Russia’s meetings with Trump’s men during the election campaign period.
Flynn, a retired US Army general, was President Trump’s National Security Advisor for 24 days. He resigned on Feb. 13 after he was found to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his communication with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the US. Flynn had a series of talks with Kislyak in December 2016 on the issues of the Israeli settlements and sanctions against Russia that then President Obama implemented in an executive order.
During his short stint as NSA, Flynn was questioned by the FBI on his talks with the Russian official as it related to their investigation into the possible meddling of Moscow in the US elections. But in a surprising turn of events, the beleaguered ex-NSA entered into a plea bargain with the special counsel’s office and admitted to lying to the FBI. His plea bargain is expected to implicate highly placed officials of the Trump administration.
Trump’s former foreign policy advisor was the first in Trump’s campaign team to admit to lying to the FBI. Papadopoulus was arrested last July upon arriving from Munich at Dulles Airport near Washington. He has since been quietly cooperating with Mueller on the Trump-Russia alleged collusion. In October, Mueller announced that the self-proclaimed oil and gas consultant confessed to making false statements about the nature of his contacts with Russian nationals who had connections to Kremlin. Trump’s administration is now distancing itself from the now labeled “low-level volunteer” who Trump once called an “excellent guy.”
Paul Manafort and Rick Gates
Manafort’s short-lived stint as Trump’s election campaign manager has had grievous consequences for him and his business associate, Rick Gates. Manafort has been on the FBI’s radar since 2014 for his business dealings with Viktor Yanukovych, deposed president of Ukraine who has close ties to Russia. Gates was his deputy in all his dealings. Their indictment came in October 2016 for 12 charges, among them lying about their work as foreign agents for Ukraine and its pro-Russia political parties, and the millions of dollars they received as payment. Although the charges seem unrelated to their roles in the campaign team of Trump, their indictment is a result of the investigation on the Trump-Russia collusion.
In December, it was discovered that Manafort and a colleague with links to Russia ghost-wrote an op-ed about his work in Ukraine intended to sway readers’ opinions. Publishing was averted and prosecutors for the special counsel argued in court that Manafort’s bail plea should not be granted.
The former senator from Alabama who Trump made Attorney General in February lied before the Senate during the confirmation hearings for AG, saying he did not have contact with any Kremlin official during the campaign period. When the Washington Post called him out on it, he recused himself from the investigation on the Russian interference.
In mid- October, Sessions appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and prevaricated on his previous statement during the confirmation hearings in January. A month later, he was grilled by the House on the same issue, and said he had forgotten about the meetings wherein George Papadopoulos suggested a meeting between the Russians and then-candidate Trump.
Donald Trump Jr.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., naturally took an active part in his father’s campaign. In the course of the probe into the Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a June 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and an interpreter. Donald Jr. told Congress that the Kremlin-connected lawyer had offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton and that he felt he should hear them out.
Less than a year after that fateful meeting, and before his testimony to Congress, when the media asked him about it, Donald Trump Jr. told them the talk centered on adoption of Russian children, which was proven not to be true.
Donald John Trump
Keeping track of the lies that spring from the mouth of the current president of the US is not the easiest job. He tweets frequently and spontaneously, not checking the facts or just outright denying the obvious truth. His latest scorecard, according to Politifact, shows that 70 percent of his statements are lies.
On the alleged Russian interference in the US elections, some of Trump’s more famous unbelievable statements include “absolutely no collusion” in response to Flynn’s admission to lying to the FBI and “This Russia thing…is a made up story,” voted 2017 Lie of the Year. In the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, it’s beyond comprehension how the president can keep a straight face while lying.
As Mueller’s investigation deepens, expect more liars to be unmasked and cop a plea. The probe seems to be inching its way closer to President Trump himself. And when the truth comes out, the economic, political and social consequences will be disastrous for the country.