On at least two occasions, Vice President Mike Pence denied that the Trump campaign had any contact with Russian officials about the presidential election. But the latest leaks from U.S. intelligence sources, if proven true, could indicate that Pence intentionally misled the American people.
"Of course not," Pence told Fox News in January when asked about allegations of conspiracy between Trump and Russia. "Chris, this is all a distraction and it’s all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election and question the legitimacy of this presidency. The American people see right through it."
Soon after, Pence told CBS News a similar quote.
"Of course not," Pence said. "I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy."
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But on Feb. 14, The New York Times and CNN reported that anonymous U.S. intelligence sources claim several aids in Trump's camp had communicated with both Russian officials and private citizens during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Information on who and what was discussed has not yet been leaked, but the reports have fueled ongoing speculation, mostly from Democrats and media pundits, that the Trump campaign has coordinated with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton and win the White House.
And whether or not Pence knew of the alleged contact has not yet been determined.
The new reports follow the resignation of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who stepped from his position of national security adviser Feb. 13 after it was revealed he had communicated with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. over sanctions by former President Barack Obama, imposed amid rumors Russian hackers had leaked Democratic National Committee emails.
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Trump took to Twitter to respond to the latest reports, calling them "conspiracy theories."
"This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign," he wrote.