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(THREAD) This is a picture of one of the biggest moments in the Trump-Russia scandal—and no one has reported on it until now. Please SHARE.
1/ Thanks to independent journalism, we learned in early spring about a key Trump campaign-Russia contact: the Mayflower Hotel (April 2016).
2/ But a meeting a month before the Mayflower—on March 31, 2016, at the then-unfinished Trump International Hotel in D.C.—is more important.
3/ It took mainstream media three months to latch onto the Mayflower story; unfortunately, it hasn't reported on the TIHDC meeting *at all*.
4/ But the TIHDC event may answer two key questions about Trump and Vladimir Putin—questions involving George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.
5/ Let's very briefly set up the March 2016 Trump campaign timeline that led to the picture atop this thread.
6/ 3/3/16: Trump names Sessions his foreign policy head. Sessions' team is also called the "national security" team. politico.com/blogs/2016-gop…
7/ 3/21/16: Trump for the first time names members of his foreign policy/national security team. Five men are named. washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-par…
8/ So as of March 21, 2016, this was Trump's foreign policy/national security team: Sessions, Papadopoulos, Schmitz, Phares, Page, Kellogg.
9/ 5 days later, in a NYT interview on March 26, 2016, Trump adds 3 names to the team: Harrell, Kubic, and Mizusawa. nytimes.com/2016/03/27/us/…
10/ But on March 24, Papadopoulos had revealed himself to be "acting as an intermediary for the Russian government." washingtonpost.com/politics/trump…
11/ So on March 21, Trump had a six-man team; on March 24, one member of that team said he had messages to give to Trump from the Kremlin.
12/ Papadopoulous, whose credentials—and fitness for the team—had immediately come under heavy media scrutiny, was the Kremlin intermediary.
13/ The Washington Post deconstructed Papadopoulos' credentials at length—and critically—the day he was announced. washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoin…
14/ Many other media outlets asked the same question—what did this recent college grad do to achieve such a lofty position in Trump's orbit?
15/ What Papadopoulos did—according to the WP—is send an email to seven key Trump advisors just 72 hours after he was named to the campaign.
16/ We know three of the seven high-level Trump advisors who got the email, because the Washington Post named them: Kubic, Clovis, and Page.
17/ Page makes sense—he'd been named to the foreign policy/national security team. And Clovis made sense—as he'd recruited Page to the team.
18/ Kubic was officially announced to the foreign policy/national security team just 48 hours later—see Tweet 9 above—so he makes sense too.
19/ Who were the 4 others? We know this: as of March 24th, there were 4 other members of the FP/NS team: Schmitz, Phares, Sessions, Kellogg.
20/ We can't know if the four other members of the team Papadopoulos was on were the four others who got his email—though it'd make sense.
21/ What was in the March 24th email? WP says "Papadopoulos offered to set up a meeting between [Trump's team] and the Russian leadership."
22/ The topic of the proposed Trump camp-Russia meeting would be as follows: "to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump" (says WP).
23/ WP reports the Trump team—that is (it appears, at least) the FP/NS team—then discussed whether and how such a meeting would be possible.
24/ One reason we can assume the email recipients were Trump's FP/NS team is something Kubic wrote in his email response to Papadopoulos.
25/ Kubic wrote, "Just want to make sure that no one on *THE TEAM* outruns their headlights and embarrasses the campaign" (emphasis added).
26/ We don't know what Clovis responded in late March, but we know where his head was at on this issue just a few weeks later, in early May.
27/ Clovis in a May email to Papadopoulos—"There are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen."
28/ So sometime between March 24, 2016, and May 4, 2016, the FP/NS team was discussing how a "private citizen" might meet with the Kremlin.
29/ As it happened, someone who received the March 24 Papadopoulos email was planning a trip to Moscow as—in his words—a "private citizen."
30/ That person was Carter Page, who U.S. intelligence would later conclude had met with Putin's right-hand man (Sechin) while in Moscow.
31/ That U.S. intel assessment is echoed by the Steele Dossier, which likewise alleges (using top Russian HUMINT) that Page and Sechin met.
32/ Of course if the FP/NS team had an inkling—in March—that Page would be their "private citizen," he couldn't be publicly seen with Trump.
33/ So here's the first meeting of Trump's foreign policy/national security team at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. on March 31, 2016.
34/ There are several items of note in this picture. First and foremost, just 10 days after being named to the team, Page has now vanished.
35/ You'll also note that four men are unidentified. Odd, right? Because surely the media saw this picture and found out who those men were?
36/ Well—they didn't. 2 weeks later The Washington Post still couldn't identify any members of the team besides those they'd known March 26.
37/ So 3/26 to 4/15, the team was Sessions, Papadopoulos, Schmitz, Phares, Page, Kellogg, Harrell, Kubic, Mizusawa. washingtonpost.com/world/national…
38/ Only Kellogg and Page seem missing from the first meeting of their team—and of course the latter had only been added five days earlier.
39/ As noted in the picture (Tweet 33), one identifiable person has been added to the team who Trump mentioned to neither the WP or the NYT.
40/ If the other 4 can't be identified, it may be because the media found they couldn't—er—locate *any* of the men: washingtonmonthly.com/2016/04/07/don…
41/ Check out this stunning graph in Washington Monthly—written a week after the GOP leader named his foreign policy/national security team:
42/ I'm not saying the men are unidentifiable—though I haven't yet done so, and am here asking for the help of the internet in doing so now.
43/ I'm saying Page's apparent disappearance is inexplicable—and Trump successfully thwarted media ever getting a roster of the FP/NS team.
44/ And to be clear, if by some chance Page was there but disallowed from being photographed, it (a) makes Trump a liar (as he said he...
45/ had never met him), or (b) begs the question of why 10 days after Trump named him to the WP, Page missed his team's first-ever meeting.
46/ But all this is mere prelude to the point here—as the person of most importance at that table is, without a doubt, George Papadopoulos.
47/ To understand what comes next, read this article—one of the most important Trump-Russia articles ever written. businessinsider.com/jd-gordon-trum…
48/ In this article, the FP/NS team member added by Trump without being mentioned to the WP or NYT discusses the key March 31 TIHDC meeting.
49/ What we learn here is that Trump and his FP/NS team, at the meeting in the picture, were discussing Trump's Russia policy and sanctions.
50/ Recall what Papadopoulos said—on 3/24—Putin wanted to discuss: "US-Russia ties under President Trump." That's what Trump discussed 3/31.
51/ So ONE WEEK after Papadopoulos notified the FP/NS team Putin wanted to talk US-Russia relations, Trump met his FP/NS team ON THAT TOPIC.
52/ It's a near-certainty that at least FIVE PEOPLE in the room—remember that Page and Clovis were absent—had received Papadopoulos' emails.
53/ So SIX PEOPLE in the room had been discussing Trump's approach to U.S.-Russia relations in the week before they met Trump to discuss it.
54/ And the Russia-policy event Trump held with his FP/NS team on March 31, 2016 was *so substantive* it changed the GOP platform in *July*.
55/ I'll repeat that—per public reports, three members of Trump's FP/NS team CHANGED THE GOP PLATFORM based on Trump's orders from March 31.
56/ So pictured atop this thread is a Trump "Russia policy and Russian relations" summit of *such proportion* it affected actions months on.
57/ So now let me ask a question: GIVEN ALL THIS, did the six men in the room who'd read Papadopoulos' emails discuss them here with Trump?
58/ Given the topic of the meeting and its level of intensity, can ANYONE honestly think Trump didn't learn of the Papadopoulos emails here?
59/ What this means is that by March 31—at the latest—Trump knew his team included someone acting as an "intermediary" (WP) for the Kremlin.
60/ It means that when Kushner invited the Russian ambassador to the Mayflower in an IC-confirmed April call, it was a *response* to Putin.
61/ It means that when "Russian leadership" (WP) used Papadopoulos to open a dialogue on March 24, Trump used his April 27 speech to reply.
62/ It means it's *no coincidence* the Trump campaign moved Trump's first major foreign policy speech to the Mayflower at the last minute.
63/ It gave Trump a one-hour, journalist-free, private "VIP cocktail hour" with the Russian ambassador, Trump and members of the FP/NS team.
64/ It means Trump used speeches to carry on negotiations with Putin that Putin had requested and his team agreed to. Then he LIED ABOUT IT.
65/ The photo—added to the Business Insider article—strongly indicates Trump began lying to America about Russian contacts in *Spring 2016*.
66/ And the article draws a STRAIGHT LINE between Trump learning of the Kremlin's entreaty to him (3/31) and the GOP platform change (7/20).
67/ Business Insider also *confirms* a cover-up to remove Trump entirely from that 3/31-to-7/20 chain of causation (and chain of command):
68/ The fact that the cover-up aimed to protect just TWO men—Trump and Manafort (see tweet above)—suggests both men knew what was happening.
69/ It also explains why Sessions—head of FP/NS, and at the head of the table on 3/31—"forgot" under oath (twice) about the Mayflower Hotel.
70/ Yet for all this—and having covered this story for nine months—I've seen *zero* media coverage of the TIHDC meeting on March 31st, 2016.
71/ What I DO know is that—even per Trump allies—by September any FP/NS man who met with Russia at the RNC was gone. breitbart.com/2016-president…
72/ The September FP/NS roster includes almost EVERYONE from March 26 EXCEPT Papadopoulos and the FP/NS men who met with Kislyak at the RNC.
73/ The exception? Jeff Sessions. Who Trump tapped as Attorney General and who—we now know—Trump expected would stop the Russia probe cold.
74/ So by the time he became nominee Trump had sloughed off anyone involved in any TIHDC plot that occurred *except* Sessions—who had a use.
75/ So if Papadopoulos brought up his 3/24 email with Trump at the 3/31 meeting pictured atop this thread, Trump-Russia collusion is proven.
76/ And the facts as we know them from public reports make it basically impossible Papadopoulos—or one of the other five—DIDN'T bring it up.
77/ All Mueller must do is offer immunity to ANY ONE of the 12 men pictured willing to admit the Papadopoulos emails were discussed 3/31/16.
78/ So I make two requests here—first, that the internet help journalists discover the identity of the four unidentified men pictured above.
79/ Second—I ask that these twelve men make a beeline to their nearest FBI field office to try to be the first FP/NS man to talk to Mueller.
80/ I might also add that any journalist who wants to do their job right now should be speaking to these men once all their names are known.
81/ To be clear I *don't* know for certain—and am *not* alleging—that any of these men did anything wrong. But they *must* speak to the FBI.
82/ But I *will* say this—if the Papadopoulos emails were discussed 3/31, there's *potential* Conspiracy and Aiding/Abetting liability here.
83/ It's not clear—I say this as an attorney/legal analyst—that one can *legally* help keep this particular type of info secret for a year.
84/ We found out Trump ordered the GOP platform change personally on March 31 only in March of 2017—MANY months after the FBI probe started.
85/ And here we are, 18 months from the TIHDC meeting, and—that we know of—*no one* has revealed if the Papadopoulos emails were discussed.
86/ But we know how Trump treated the men in that room who DIDN'T talk to Russia at the RNC. Kellogg replaced Flynn: foxnews.com/politics/2017/…
87/ Trump jettisoned his liabilities, but he remained incensed by the Steele Dossier—which alleged Page was the Kremlin's "private citizen."
88/ Kubic? One of his key qualifications when Trump hired him was an ability to...conduct secret talks with enemies. thehill.com/policy/defense…
89/ FP/NS' "RNC men"? They've been forgotten by the media and FBI, or so it appears—despite the 3/31 TIHDC meeting and 7/20 platform change.
90/ The private nature of the Mayflower VIP event makes it a tough nut to crack for the media. The TIHDC meeting? We KNOW what it was about.
91/ We know who was at the TIHDC meeting and who—tellingly—wasn't, and what some of them had been discussing in the week before the meeting.
92/ We know that the meeting was wildly consequential on the Trump-Russia front—because attendees have *explicitly told journalists* it was.
93/ The meeting was so consequential it *directly* led to a Republican National Convention platform fight *4 months later*—*and* a cover-up.
94/ The meeting featured Trump issuing orders requested by Putin to Flynn in Moscow in December 2015 at an RT gala. nbcnews.com/news/world/gue…
95/ (Flynn told WP Putin spent the night opining on how Obama's administration had let certain issues—Ukraine—damage U.S.-Russia relations.)
96/ And front and center at the TIHDC was a recent college grad "Russian leadership intermediary" (WP) who needed marching orders via Trump.
97/ So independent and affiliated journalists should put aside the Mayflower speech and the June 9th meeting temporarily and focus on TIHDC.
98/ When Trump ordered Spicer to say Page was on the FP/NS team but Trump hadn't met him, Trump wanted us to think the same of Papadopoulos.
99/ But—thanks to a picture—we know Trump met Papadopoulos ON THE TOPIC Papadopoulos was exercised about THE WEEK he was exercised about it.
100/ What we need now is some damn *common sense*—as everyone reading this KNOWS Papadopoulos brought up those damn emails with Trump. {end}
PS/ Wondering about the provenance of the photo? It's Trump's Instagram:
PS2/ And also, per usual, his Twitter:
PS3/ A sharp-eyed reader notes I should add this fact: Trump flew to DC during the RNC to meet with his FP/NS team. nbcnews.com/politics/2016-…
PS4/ We of course don't know who the photographer was—likely not a team member. But if Page, it still makes Trump a liar as to meeting Page.
PS5/ And of course there is nothing that can mitigate the much greater Papadopoulos issue: if he discussed his emails on March 31—game over.
NOTE/ Remember, Kremlin agents are on tape saying they had 3 conduits to Trump: Manafort, Flynn, and... Carter Page. businessinsider.com/russian-operat…
DOCS1/ Page was cleared by Lewandowski in June 2016 to go to Moscow—but not without a fight on Trump's FP/NS team. circa.com/story/2017/03/…
DOCS2/ The question of who permitted Page to go to Moscow in July 2016 was *also* the subject of a cover-up by *both* Page and Lewandowski.
DOCS3/ Given that the topic was the subject of an ongoing fight, Page's trip must have been known to FP/NS in May—and possibly much earlier.
DOCS4/ On 3/18/16, Trump said he'd release a *full* list of national security advisors. He didn't—for over 6 months. npr.org/2016/03/18/470…
DOCS5/ In March 2016, Breitbart confirmed Sam Clovis as Trump's liaison to his National Security Advisory Committee. breitbart.com/big-government…
DOCS6/ The New York Times confirmed Clovis' role too—while calling Trump's team obscure and difficult to track down. nytimes.com/2016/03/23/us/…
DOCS7/ The NYT hints that Trump's elusiveness was *intentional*—he didn't want the media to track down his team. And guess what: it worked.
DOCS8/ CBS noted Page was on the Council on Foreign Relations—and Schmitz connected to Erik Prince's Blackwater org. cbsnews.com/news/whos-advi…
DOCS9/ Mother Jones says Phares was connected to a "brutal Lebanese militia"—to whom he taught religious propaganda. motherjones.com/politics/2016/…
DOCS10/ POLITICO: when hired, Page "was being probed by the USIC for purported backchannel ties to Russian leaders." politico.com/magazine/story…
DOCS11/ Page may well have been left off the 3/31/16 TIHDC meetup because of a bad profile published the day before: bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
DOCS12/ In the profile, Page reveals that—from 3/21/16 on—he was contacted regularly by Russians, suggesting his Moscow invite came *quick*.
DOCS13/ Page's confession tends to bolster the view that by late March the FP/NS team knew Page could travel to Moscow as a private citizen.
DOCS14/ Here's an updated—tentative—pic of Trump advisors who heard him order a GOP platform change on Russia (added J. Hoskins; J. Miller):
DOCS15/ And it's possible these men also heard Papadopoulos acting as a "Russian leadership intermediary" (WP) and proposing a Kremlin meet.
DOCS16/ Clovis is an ex-soldier/ex-defense contractor about to be given a job by Trump he has no qualifications for. politico.com/story/2017/07/…
DOCS17/ WP: "The FBI continues to examine how Page joined the campaign." But is it studying the TIHDC meeting, also? washingtonpost.com/politics/anyon…
DOCS18/ WP notes—and many more media should have—that Page's office is in a building with a private, journalist-free walkway to Trump Tower.
DOCS19/ Multiple Trump campaign veterans believe, per the WP, that Page has used that private walkway to Trump HQ on at least one occasion.
DOCS19/ The KICKER: Clovis, who assembled Trump's foreign policy/national security team, may have have an agenda in doing so from the start:
DOCS20/ So many in that room wanted the sanctions gone—and the GOP platform a certain way. And the Kremlin contact Papadopoulos was selling.
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