White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Monday brushed aside charges leveled at three Trump campaign aides as part of the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but endorsed a new independent prosecutor to delve into a 2010 uranium company deal that has become a rallying cry for opponents of Hillary Clinton.
Kelly, speaking on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” claimed that all the activities involving former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, his chief aide Richard W. Gates III and a foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, occurred “long before they ever met Donald Trump or had any association with the campaign.”
In fact, the investigation, being directed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, covered the period in which all three served under Trump. Manafort and Gates were charged in a 12-count indictment that alleged money laundering, among other crimes. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the campaign.