As the controversy over Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer for opposition research on Hillary Clinton has heated up, a common counter from Trump defenders has emerged: Point to a January article from Politico showing that Ukraine hoped to sink Trump's candidacy via a Democratic consultant.
On Monday, Karen Finney, who served as a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, appeared on CNN's “New Day” to address the claims. “Look, as I’ve been saying, this is not apples to apples, it just isn’t. These are two very different things that happened here,” she said. “We’ve outlined what the differences are. We are trying to figure out the best we can the fact versus the spin.”
Finney noted that the Ukrainian-American operative who did opposition research on Trump (and more specifically Manafort) never met with their head of research on Trump or any other senior staff. She also tried to differentiate the scope of the Ukraine claims from the Trump/Russia allegations, saying that “there's no 'there' there.”
“I think it’s important to remember that a lot of the information that it seems like — just what I’ve read in reports that we’re talking about — it’s public information that Paul Manafort was doing this work in the Ukraine,” she said. Finney contrasted this with the Manafort issue, where she argued that numerous reporters were going after the same information.
“That’s not the same thing as actually, you know, making it clear that you have a strategy that goes all the way to the top like Vladimir Putin, who is former KGB, who has made a very clear that he wanted Donald Trump president and he did not want Hillary Clinton to be president.”