Kellyanne Conway, new campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Aug. 17, 2016.
Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP

The problem with Kellyanne Conway’s pushback against the Russia scandal

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was in high dudgeon this week, telling reporters that she not only opposed the investigation into the Russia scandal, she was insulted by the allegations surrounding it.

“The idea that any of us, and me as a campaign manager, would cheat, steal, lie, cut corners, talk to Russians, was an insult from the beginning.”

That’s an interesting set of complaints, especially given her use of the phrase “any of us” – as in, any of the top officials who helped run Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

What’s less clear is what, exactly, Conway finds so insulting. Let’s take her complaints one at a time.

Is it outrageous to think a top member of the Trump campaign would “cheat”? Well, no, not really. Conway’s predecessor in the president’s political operation was Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to several years in a federal penitentiary for, among other things, committing fraud.

Is it outrageous to think a top member of the Trump campaign would “steal”? I’m afraid not. Rick Gates, who served as the deputy chairman of the president’s political operation conceded last summer he may have helped himself to some of the money raised by the Trump inaugural fund.

Is it outrageous to think a top member of the Trump campaign would “cut corners”? Actually, Donald Trump himself has been directly implicated in a hush-money scandal that ran afoul of federal campaign-finance laws.

Is it outrageous to think a top member of the Trump campaign would “talk to Russians”? Well, as it turns out, despite Conway’s previous assertions that no one from the Republican campaign team spoke to Russians during their attack on our elections, we now know more than a few Trump campaign officials and advisers had these communications.

In fact, the last time I checked, former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about talking to Russians.

In other words, it appears that what Kellyanne Conway described as wrong to the point of being insulting happens to be true.