A member of President Trump’s personal legal team, Jay Sekulow, argued today that a Trump campaign adviser’s guilty plea of lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian nationals does not imply there was collusion between the 2016 campaign and Russia.
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“There’s no crime of collusion,” Sekulow said on “Good Morning America” of George Papadopoulos, who admitted to making false statements and material omissions in January to investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
From March to August 2016, Papadopoulos, at the time a Trump campaign adviser on foreign policy, attempted to arrange a meeting between campaign and Russian officials.
A “campaign supervisor” encouraged Papadopoulos in August 2016 to go to a meeting with Russian officials “if it is feasible,” according to the indictment document.
Sekulow said this morning, “The end result is the meeting doesn’t take place.”
Trump campaign adviser pleads guilty to misleading investigators about Russia contacts; Manafort indicted on conspiracy
How Trump could pardon trio arrested in special counsel’s probe
Asked whether Trump has ruled out firing special counsel Robert Mueller, Sekulow said, “The president has not indicated to me or to anyone else that I work with that he’s had any intent on terminating Robert Mueller.”
“You could only terminate a special counsel for cause, and we just don’t see any basis for cause,” he added.
Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who served as Trump’s campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, respectively, were indicted on 12 charges Friday and surrendered to federal authorities on Monday.
“I have not had a conversation with the president regarding pardons, and pardons are not on the table,” Sekulow told “GMA.”
In a court appearance Monday, Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include money laundering and working as unregistered foreign agents.
Both were released to house arrest. Trump may pardon the three men at any time. The president has the power to pardon any person for all federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment — without waiting for a conviction — but not for state crimes.