Trump’s personal attorney stops denying collusion with Russia and starts defending it

Papadopoulos' plea prompts a tactical shift.

Trump’s personal attorney went on CNN on Monday afternoon and defended the Trump campaign’s secret communications with Russian government cutouts about emails stolen from the Clinton campaign.

Jay Sekulow discussed the plea of George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign national security adviser, who admitted he lied to the FBI about conversations he had with a professor acting as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

According to Sekulow, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Papadopoulos having these conversations. His only error was lying about the conversations to the FBI.

Sekulow said he was “not concerned” about Papadopoulos because the charge against him “was about a false statement about a timing about when he talked to somebody about Russian activities.”

The conversation in question was between Papadopoulos and a professor with “substantial connections with Russian government officials” about “thousands of emails” the Russian government stole from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Papadopoulos lied to the FBI when he claimed this conversation happened before the campaign and was unrelated to his role in the campaign. Papadopoulos subsequently attempted to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — activity that the campaign authorized.

Sekulow said that the underlying conversation between Papadopoulos and the Russian government cutout was not “illegal or inappropriate.”

In other words, Sekulow is defending the Trump campaign’s discussions with a Russian intermediary to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton with stolen emails.

“A conversation that someone would have, regarding a foreign government, whether it was Great Britain, Russia, or anybody else… that’s not an inappropriate activity,” Sekulow emphasized, not addressing that the conversation involved emails stolen from the Clinton campaign.

Sekulow went on to describe Papadopoulos as “on a committee” and not “a senior adviser to the Trump campaign.” But, in March 2016, Trump himself plugged Papadopoulos as one of his key national security advisers, calling him an “excellent guy.”

Papadopoulos can be seen at a Trump “National Security Team Meeting” sitting four seats from Trump’s right.