Pence Not Aware Of Any Collusion With Russia

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Vice President Mike Pence did not notice any evidence of collaboration between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials, according to comments Pence made to reporters Aug. 14.

Pence was asked about his experiences on the campaign during a trip to Colombia, and was also questioned about his reaction to the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to CBS News.

"During all of my experience on the campaign, I never witnessed any evidence of collusion or any of the allegations, I'm not aware of that ever having occurred," said Pence, according to CBS.

Flynn was fired after it emerged that he had misrepresented to Pence the extent of his contact with the Russian ambassador. Pence backed Trump's response.

"I think I was very clear what I spoke about on television is precisely what Michael Flynn had told me and I believe the president was right to move him out of the White House," added Pence.

Pence's comments came as the Trump administration turned over more than 20,000 pages of emails and other documents to congressional committees investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"We'll continue to fully cooperate with the special counsel, we'll provide them with whatever information they require and we'll stay completely focused on the task at hand," said Pence.

Some emails reported on by The Washington Post showed George Papadopoulos, an adviser to the campaign, seeking to set up a meeting with Russian officials to discuss U.S.-Russian relations under a future Trump administration. Papadopoulos, an energy consultant, sent the series of emails between March and September 2016.

In May 2016, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort rejected a proposal that Trump meet with Russian officials. The Post reported that the majority of Trump campaign officials were concerned by the messages from Papadopoulos, who had little influence in the campaign.

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"The bottom line is that there's no doubt in my mind that the Russian government was casting a wide net when they were looking at the American election," Stephen Hall, a former CIA employee who managed the agency's Russia program before retiring in 2015, told The Post. "I think they were doing very basic intelligence work: Who's out there? Who's willing to play ball? And how can we use them?"

Carter Page, who was a foreign policy adviser to Trump, stated that the Papadopoulos emails show their was no wrongdoing.

"The entirely benign offer from a volunteer member of the Trump movement is infinitely less relevant than the real collusion in the 2016 election," he said, before adding that this collusion consisted of associates of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton providing false evidence to investigators.

Page has been targeted in a foreign surveillance warrant for his ties to Russia.

Sources: CBS News, The Washington Post / Featured Image: D. Myles Cullen via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, U.S. Army Europe/Flickr

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