After Tuesday’s major revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer last July for dirt on Hillary Clinton after receiving an email describing the information as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Marc Lotter went on America’s Newsroom on Fox News on Wednesday to remind the nation that Pence was not yet part of the ticket at that time.
But even in the friendly confines of Fox News, host Bill Hemmer repeatedly pressed Lotter to say whether Pence himself has met with representatives of Russia during the campaign. And repeatedly, Lotter did not say no.
Hemmer first asked, “Did the vice president ever meet with representatives from Russia?” Lotter dodged this, noting that Pence’s focus “was on talking to the American people” about Trump and his agenda.
Hemmer tried again: “Did he ever meet with representatives from the Russian government during the campaign?” Lotter oddly responded that question was “stuff that the special prosecutors and the counsels are all looking at,” before again noting that Pence’s focus was “talking to the American people, taking his case to the people, and making sure the people knew why they needed to send President Trump and Vice President Pence to Washington.”
Finally, Hemmer simply asked, “Is that a ‘yes’ or ‘No?’ Did he or did he not? And was it relevant, in fact?”
Lotter said that he was “not aware of anything that I have seen,” before noting that he’d seen during the campaign and since Vice President Pence has been “focused on working the agenda that the people send him to Washington to accomplish.”
Watch the exchange here:
Asked in January if anyone from the Trump campaign had met with Russians trying to meddle in the election, Pence told CBS: “Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”
Lotter said Monday that Pence had been unaware of Trump Jr.’s meeting and was “not focused on stories about the campaign.”
UPDATE: The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin tweeted on Thursday that Lotter now claims that during the campaign and transition, Pence had no such meetings with “any individual associated” with the Russian government.
NEWS: @VP spox Marc Lotter calls to say VP "had no meetings w any individual associated with the Russian gov't" during campaign/transition
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) July 13, 2017