As we previously reported, former Senator and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversaw the small team of five foreign policy experts for the Trump campaign. Included in this small group were Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
According to the House Intel report, the future President was under pressure to put together a foreign policy team in March of 2016. A number of seasoned Republican foreign policy experts were unwilling to jump on the Trump train.
Because of this pressure from the press to show he had experts on his team, candidate Trump named then Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as the chairman of his National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC). A few weeks later, candidate Trump released the names of five people on his team. The list included Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
The House Intel Report states that –
There is no evidence that anyone on the Trump campaign was aware of Page’s past ties to Russian intelligence services-or Papadopoulos’ more recent contacts with a Russian-connected professor-when these two individuals were included among the advisors that were publicly announced on March 21. In fact, as [President Trump’s son in law Jared] Kushner candidly put it, “we put together that list because we were getting a lot of pressure from the media to put out a list of foreign policy advisers.”
The Daily Caller reported that both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos were hired by Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign’s co-chairman, but the source of this information remains anonymous. It is more likely that Jeff Sessions was responsible for hiring both Page and Papadopoulos for the Trump campaign because they reported to him.
The individuals under Sessions are also the individuals that had dealings with UK spies. Papadopoulos met with Mifsud, Halper and Aussie Downer. Carter Page also had dealings with some or all of these British spies. There are many questions concerning these individuals.
The House Intel report states that there is no evidence that the Trump campaign was aware of the team’s connections with Russians.
Now we know that Senator Sessions was reportedly “enthusiastic” when low level campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos brought up the possibility of being able to set up a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Putin before the election.
Breitbart reported that in an interview on CNN, George Papadopoulos stated the following –
TAPPER: When did you first meet Donald Trump?
PAPADOPOULOS: March 31 at the national security meeting.
TAPPER: There’s a photo of you at the table. Senator Jeff Sessions is there. What was discussed at that meeting in terms of Russia, in terms of meeting with Putin?
PAPADOPOULOS: As far as I remember it was I who brought up anything regarding Russia. I was under the impression that an individual I had met in Rome, the so-called professor, was able to provide high level connections in Russia that would result in some sort of summit or meeting, mostly for a photo-op. So I sat down and, you know, I looked at the candidate, I looked at candidate Trump directly in his eyes and said, I can do this for you if it’s in your interest and if it’s in the campaign’s interest. And the collective energy in the room, of course, there were some dissenters, but the collective energy in the room seemed to be interested.
TAPPER: Collective energy? Was Donald Trump interested?
PAPADOPOULOS: The candidate, you know, he gave me sort of a nod. He wasn’t committed either way but it was — I took it as he was thinking.
TAPPER: Senator Jeff Sessions was there, too.
TAPPER: At the table—what was his response?
PAPADOPOULOS: My recollection was that the senator was actually enthusiastic about a meeting between the candidate and President Putin.
TAPPER: So you say that then senator now Attorney General Sessions was enthusiastic about the idea of candidate Trump meeting Putin, but he has said the exact opposite. He says—he testified before Congress saying that he, quote, ‘pushed back’ when you raised the possibility of a meeting with Russia. That’s not true you’re saying?
PAPADOPOULOS: I don’t remember that.
TAPPER: You don’t remember him pushing back?
TAPPER: You remember him saying that is good idea?
PAPADOPOULOS: I remember him being enthusiastic of a potential meeting between the candidate and President Putin after I raised the question.