Yet More Trump Administration Meetings with Russian Ambassador

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions was obliged to recuse himself from investigations into the administration yesterday, following reports he met twice last year with Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak, Donald Trump issued a statement on Facebook reading:
Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional.

This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win.

The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality.

The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total "witch hunt!"
Coincidentally (ahem), the statement from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also called it "a witch hunt."

Trump has not provided any explanation for why it is that so many members of his campaign and/or administration met with Kislyak—even as a new report has emerged that two more members of his campaign's national security team, J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, met with Kislyak at the Republican convention, and another new report has emerged that Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, had a previously undisclosed meeting at Trump Tower with Kislyak in December.

As you may recall, in December, Trump was holed up in Trump Tower and the media was camped out in the lobby, snapping photos of all his prospective appointees as they arrived at Trump Tower for meetings. Virtually every photo from that period has a backdrop of Trump Tower's garish gold lobby.

series of images of people arriving at Trump Tower for meetings during the presidential transition
[Screencap of a tiny selection of AP photos taken at Trump Tower mid-December.]

Why that's important is because there are no pictures of Kislyak arriving at Trump Tower. There are photos of everyone from Wilbur Ross to Kanye West arriving at Trump Tower and walking through that gold lobby in December. But not a single photo of Kislyak when he arrived to meet with Flynn and Kushner.

So, someone had to have escorted him in through another entrance.

And if, as Trump and his administration and many Republican members of Congress and his supporters keep insisting, there was nothing nefarious about any of these meetings with Kislyak, then why was he snuck into Trump Tower for an undisclosed meeting?

There simply isn't a reasonable answer to that question.

Just like there isn't a reasonable answer to the question of how Trump was unaware of these meetings. Yesterday, Jake Tapper reported that "Senior administration official says White House learned of Sessions' contacts with Russian ambassador from press reports," which is the same play Mike Pence used regarding his supposed ignorance of Flynn's conversation with Kislyak, a strategy he'd also used in Indiana.

Trump has rightly calculated that it would be bad for him if he knew about these secret meetings (even as he insists they weren't sinister), so he is claiming that he didn't know about them—but that just indicts him in a different way. If nearly a dozen members of his circle met with a Russian envoy (and/or have ties to Russia) without his awareness, he's an out-of-touch buffoon who's utterly lost control of his staff.

Either way, it speaks to a president whose competency and loyalty to this nation are profoundly in question.

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