On Monday morning, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well as Rick Gates were indicted on 12 counts, including “conspiracy against the United States.”
The special counsel issued a statement, saying:
The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
The indictment was based on actions made between 2006 and 2015 before Manafort was working for the Trump campaign. Naturally, many eyebrows were raised, and the finger has been pointed at Trump for Russian collusion.
But on Monday afternoon, Sarah Sanders held a White House press briefing where she answered questions, which, as expected, had to do with the indictment.
One reporter asked if the president had any regrets hiring Manafort, and Sanders responded:
“We’re not worried about it distracting because it doesn’t have anything to do with us. This is something that took place outside of the campaign or campaign activities.”
Then CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta asked about George Papadopoulos, who was a former low-level Trump campaign foreign policy adviser. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
“How can you describe Mr. Papadopoulos as having a limited role when there is a photograph of him sitting at a table with candidate from?”
Sanders interrupted, saying: “The president has thousands of photographs with millions of people.”
Acosta then pressed her even harder for an answer, saying:
“He was also cited by then-candidate Trump in a meeting with The Washington Post as to who his top foreign policy advisers are. That seems to fight against what you are saying. How is it not collusion when George Papadopoulos, who is in contact with various people who are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the president’s own son? How is all of that not collusion?”
Then Sanders responded:
“This individual was a member of a volunteer advisory council that met one time over the course of a year. He was part of a list that was read out in The Washington Post. I would hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or, as you want to push, that he is a senior member of the staff. He was not paid by the campaign. He was a volunteer on a council that met once.”
Watch the video below.