Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. Apr. 29, 2019 2 min read

The Trump campaign's National Security Advisory Committee was a group of high-level lackeys who executed Trump's Middle East and Russian policy agendas for the *real* Trump national security advisers—Flynn, Prince, Simes, Otaiba—who Trump never acknowledged. Why did he hide them?

1/ We keep getting told, even as recently as today in POLITICO, that in March 2016 Trump was *desperate* to put together a national security team that people would *respect*. Okay, so why did jokers like Page and Papadopoulos get *named* but Flynn, Prince, and Simes get *hidden*?

2/ While Kushner was pumping Putin "friend" Dimitri Simes for intel about Russia in the last week of March 2016, Trump was *pretending* that his campaign's advisers on Russia were...guys like Papadopoulos, who'd said during their job interviews they knew little about Russia. Why?

3/ Why did Trump and Kushner have to lie about their reliance on Otaiba (adviser on MBS-MBZ) and Simes (Russia) at a time when they were trying to impress upon political observers that they had quality advisers? The obvious answer—they knew these men were *unacceptable* advisers.

4/ Otaiba was obviously unacceptable—he was the UAE's U.S. ambassador, and his role as a top Trump adviser was obviously a massive breach of international protocol and a rolling Logan Act violation. But how did Trump and Kushner know in *March 2016* that *Simes* was unacceptable?

5/ It's clear that the Trumps knew that close public ties to Russian sympathizers would be a campaign problem in *March 2016*—well before the hacking revelations. Want to know the *one* National Security Advisory Committee member who "missed" the only picture of that group? Page.

6/ Page did more legwork on Russia than almost anyone on Trump's campaign—except Flynn and Simes—yet in the only photo ever taken of the National Security Advisory Committee, whose primary focus was on *Russia*, none of those three men appear. Anyone think it's just coincidence?

7/ Remember, post-Mueller Report—as we await the findings of a number of Mueller-derived federal investigations looking at collusion issues like bribery, money laundering, and aiding/abetting—Congress's focus will be on *national security*. Why did Trump hide all his Russia ties?

8/ If Trump had only begun hiding his Russia ties after Russian hacking was revealed, that'd be one thing—political expediency. But he began hiding his ties immediately upon announcing his campaign: e.g. Flynn's trip to Moscow and Kislyak's house; Trump's Moscow tower deal; more.

9/ Any lawyer, investigator, or good-faith pol would note that Trump (a) forming the most unilaterally pro-Kremlin foreign policy in the history of American politics, while (b) hiding all his ties (in deals, meetings and advisers) with Russia, is a prima facie case of compromise.

10/ When you consider that Trump's *Middle East* advisers were even *more* off-grid—Otaiba, Nader, Zamel, Prince, McFarlane, Barrack, and others—*and* that Trump was hiding his Middle East plans more than his Russia plans, you begin to wonder, what did he have to hide as to that?

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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