White House Brushes Off Former Aide’s Guilty Plea

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders played down the importance of a former campaign aide pleading guilty for lying to federal officials on Monday.

George Papadopoulos, a member of the campaign’s foreign policy advisory, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 for lying to federal officials about his connections to individuals with alleged ties to the Russian government, according to court documents released Monday.

Sanders said during Monday’s White House press briefing that Papadopoulos was simply a “volunteer” like “thousands” of others during the campaign.  The White House spokeswoman denied that the campaign aide was acting in an “official capacity” when he communicated with alleged Russian-tied individuals about “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

The court documents released Monday, however, indicated that a “campaign supervisor” encouraged a meeting with Russian officials that never happened.

The other news that broke Monday from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion was that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and campaign aide Rick Gates were indicated for a litany of financial crimes.

“This goes back to activities that took place outside the scope of the campaign,” Sanders said about these charges. The White House spokeswoman maintained that Mueller’s investigation is set to conclude based on indications she has received. Sanders would not elaborate on these indications.

She did note that Trump has no intentions to fire Mueller.