‘How Is All That Not Collusion?’ Acosta Squabbles with WH’s Sanders on Indictments

With all of the news arising from Mueller Monday, the White House press briefing was guaranteed to feature tough questions for Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Naturally, CNN’s Jim Acosta chose to make his presence known, arguing that Monday’s indictments already illustrate collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia happened.. 

Acosta started off with a basic question for Sanders in how would she “describe” one of the indicted individuals (George Papadopoulos) “as having a limited role when there is a photograph of Mr. Papadopoulos sitting at a table with then-candidate Trump.”

 

 

Sanders brushed off the question, so Acosta interjected:

He was sighted by then-candidate Trump in a meeting with The Washington Post as to who his top foreign policy advisers are. That seems to fight against what you are saying and also, how is it not collusion when George Papadopoulos was in contact with various people who are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the President's own son. 

The White House official tried to jump in, but not before Acosta could drop this rather premature conclusion (even if it’s to raise a line of argument or try and trap Sanders): “He had contacts with Russians in pursuit of information that was damaging about the Clintons. How is all of that not collusion?”

Sanders reiterated the Trump team’s line that Papadopoulos was just a “member of a volunteer counsel that met at one time over the course of a year and he was part of a list that was read out in The Washington Post.”

“I’d hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or as you want to, you know, push that he is like a senior member of the staff. It’s — he was not paid by the campaign. He was a volunteer on, again, a counsel that met once,” she added.

The press room chaotically began shouting while Acosta followed up about “these collusion activities” seeing as how Papadopoulos “was pursuing information from the Russians.”

“Again, he was a volunteer. I think that's something you need to ask him. I'm not here to speak on behalf of the, you know, thousands of people that may have volunteered on the campaign,” Sanders shot back before calling on NPR’s Mara Liasson.

 

Here’s the relevant transcript from October 30's White House Press Briefing:

White House Press Briefing
October 30, 2017
1:45 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: Sarah, how can you describe Mr. Papadopoulos as having a limited role when there is a photograph of Mr. Papadopoulos sitting at a table with then-candidate Trump. 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: The President has thousands of photographs with millions of people, so —

ACOSTA: He was sighted by then-candidate Trump in a meeting with The Washington Post as to who his top foreign policy advisers are. That seems to fight against what you are saying and also, how is it not collusion when George Papadopoulos was in contact with various people who are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the President's own son. He had contacts with Russians —

SANDERS: This individual was on a — 

ACOSTA: — in pursuit of information that was damaging about the Clintons. How is all of that not collusion?

SANDERS: Look, this individual was the member of a volunteer counsel that met at one time over the course of a year and he was part of a list that was read out in The Washington Post. I’d hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or as you want to, you know, push that he is like a senior member of the staff. It’s — he was not paid by the campaign. He was a volunteer on, again, a counsel that met once. 

ACOSTA: [SHOUTING] What about these collusion activities, Sarah? He was — he was pursuing information from the Russians. 

SANDERS: Again, he was a volunteer. I think that's something you need to ask him. I'm not here to speak on behalf of the, you know, thousands of people that may have volunteered on the campaign.


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CyberAlerts Crime Russia Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe CNN Video Government & Press Jim Acosta Robert Mueller White House Press Briefing Sarah Huckabee Sanders George Papadopoulos
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