Kellyanne Conway threw some former Trump advisers overboard Tuesday morning on Fox News after the FBI director confirmed an investigation into the presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.
“Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Conway whether President Donald Trump was angry at former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign advisers Carter Page, J.D. Gordon and Roger Stone — who he described as “not exactly Trump insiders.”
“Is the president of the United States upset that these fringe players are playing such a — have direct ties to Russia and have direct or indirect ties to him?” Kilmeade asked. “Is he mad at them?”
Conway said the Fox News anchor brought up an excellent point, and she denied that Page or Gordon had strong ties to the Trump campaign, and she refused to even speak Stone’s name — although the president has known him for years and shares a political mentor, Roy Cohn.
“In the case of Mr. Page and Mr. Gordon and some others, they really have very attenuated contacts to the campaign that I managed for the last three months,” Conway said. “I’ve spoken directly with the president and other senior officials about this. He doesn’t know these gentlemen, he didn’t work with them.”
In fact, Trump identified “Carter Page, Pd.D” in March 2016 as a member of his foreign policy team, along with Walid Phares, who met with the Russian ambassador in July with Flynn, Gordon and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
All of those men have given conflicting accounts about their contact with Sergey Kisyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., and Flynn eventually stepped down from his White House role over those communications.
Page stepped down in September from his role as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign over his private communications with Russia, and Gordon managed the national security advisory committee under Sessions, its chairman.
Stone left the campaign in August 2015, although Trump claims he was fired.
Conway conceded that others who were more involved with the campaign seemed to be of interest to the FBI in the Russia probe, presumably meaning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but she asked for proof of any wrongdoing.
“Where is the nexus? People are so quick to make that nexus,” she said. “We’ve got conclusions still in search of evidence, and that’s very dangerous. We didn’t learn anything more yesterday to show any kind of nexus.”
Conway changed the subject to vote hacking, which the directors of the FBI and National Security Agency confirmed had not taken place.
“Why is that important?” she asked. “Because you really do have folks from the other side of the aisle — particularly those who were involved in our opponent’s campaign, insisting the opposite is true.”