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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) Per LA Times reporting—sourced by a meeting attendee—and Sessions' Congressional testimony, on March 31, 2016 Trump and his NatSec team debated for "10 minutes" whether to "negotiate" with Russia. And we know that after that meeting, Papadopoulos began negotiating.
1/ Sessions first lied to Congress on whether he'd heard Papadopoulos talk about speaking to Russians, then suddenly remembered—in a laterhearing—that he'd not only heard from Papadopoulos about him being in contact with Russians but had strongly pushed back against him doing so.
2/ But the LA Times reports that Papadopoulos' presentation of his contact with the Russians—a presentation he made *to Trump*—and the debate that followed lasted at least "10 minutes." Sessions himself said the issue debated was "negotiating" with Russia.…
3/ And *four months later*, J.D. Gordon would tell CNN that his very, *very* specific change to the RNC platform was directed by Trump's comments on a very, *very* specific Russia-Ukraine issue at the March 31, 2016 meeting at Trump International Hotel in D.C. So what gives here?
4/ Daily Caller says Sam Clovis "shut down" Papadopoulos' idea of a Trump-Putin meeting on March 24. Really? So why was it debated for 10 minutes a week later? The DC also says Sessions "quashed" the idea March 31. Really? A 10-minute debate is "quashing"?…
5/ If Clovis "shut down" the idea on March 24, and Sessions "quashed" it on March 31, why did Papadopoulos meet Mifsud in London just 26 days later? Well I think we have a clue on this score, and it comes from the fact that the attendees to the March 31 meeting lied to the press.
6/ According to DC's source, Papadopoulos' idea of a Trump-Putin meeting "just came and went and there was really nothing there. [Sessions said] 'Nope, not going there.'" But that's a lie—the issue was debated for 10 minutes and after the meeting Papadopoulos *began negotiating*.
7/ So Mueller knows the Trump campaign (including Trump himself) discussed holding secret negotiations with the Russians on March 31, 2016; that whatever the result of that conversation, Papadopoulos felt *cleared to negotiate*; that meeting attendees then lied about the meeting.
8/ So if you're wondering why Bob Mueller seems to believe Trump directed his team to change the Republican Party's position on arming Ukraine; and if you're wondering why he sees that as being tied to a secret attempt to "negotiate" with Russia; now you know exactly why that is.
9/ But we don't just have Papadopoulos' emails/testimony confirming Trump campaign officials supported his negotiations post-March 31—we have the fact that *Sessions himself* met Kislyak *three times thereafter* (at least twice discussing sanctions) then perjured himself over it.
10/ So was Papadopoulos cleared to "negotiate" with Russia by Trump himself on March 31 (at the latest)? Yes. Was he rewarded with a promotion for having made contact with Russia? Yes. Did the Trump-Russia negotiations involve sanctions, Clinton emails, and the RNC platform? Yes.
11/ Did Sessions himself participate in the Trump-Russia "negotiations"? Yes. Did he lie about it to Congress? Yes. Did members of the Trump NatSec team lie to the press about *both* Donald Trump's reaction to Papadopoulos *and* how long Papadopoulos' proposal was discussed? Yes.
12/ Did Trump direct his NatSec team to change the Republican Party's position on arming Ukraine against Putin *during a debate over how and whether to negotiate with Putin*? Yes. Was Trump intending to send a signal to Putin with that policy change and his Mayflower speech? Yes.
13/ Is this Daily Caller excerpt a lie? Yes. "A second attendee—who also spoke on the condition of anonymity—told The DC that Papadopoulos was 'definitely shut down' by Sessions. The adviser also said that attendees agreed in the meeting not to revisit Papadopoulos’ suggestion."
14/ There's no way Sessions "shut down" Papadopoulos and then engaged (as we know he did) in the very "negotiations" he was shutting down. And we know Papadopoulos wasn't told "not to revisist" his attempts to contact the Russians because the campaign *supported him when he did*.
15/ So let's be *clear* on this: Trump's campaign *and Trump* have lied about whether an aide raised negotiating with Russia; they've lied about whether they debated negotiating with Russia; they've lied about the result of that debate; they've lied about the negotiations. *Why*?

RUSSIA OFFERING: Clinton emails (April 26); a meeting with Putin (March 14—beneficial to Trump for getting Putin's approval to build Trump Tower Moscow, a plan active on March 31, 2016)

TRUMP OFFERING: A "good deal" on sanctions (April 27)
17/ Do we know Russia offered Clinton's emails? Yes. The only lie we have to work through, now, is Trump's claim Papadopoulos *never told anybody*. Which makes, like, *zero* sense. Do we know Russia offered a meeting with Putin? Yes. Do we know Trump wanted that very badly? Yes.
18/ Do we know that Trump offered a "good deal" on sanctions at a speech he'd specifically invited the Russian ambassador to, after making Russia's contact in his campaign (Papadopoulos) an editor of the speech? Yes. Do we know other aides also talked sanctions with Kislyak? Yes.
19/ Do we know that everyone involved in every single part of this lied about it at every opportunity to the media, law enforcement, Congress and American voters? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. So this isn't a very hard case—it's *obvious* there was an active negotiation over sanctions.
20/ Do we know if Russia carried through on its offer of getting stolen material into the US press? Yes. Do we know if Trump planned to drop all sanctions on Russia post-inauguration? Yes. So all Mueller needs to do is nail down his evidence—and he has Papadopoulos for that. /end
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