ABC News reported Saturday evening that Lanny Wiles, the husband of Florida Trump Campaign Chair Susie Wiles, saved a seat for a Russian lawyer at the heart of the current scandal involving Russia, the President’s son, son-in-law, and campaign manager.
“The husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front-row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who had met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower eight days prior,” ABC News reported.
“Lanny Wiles saved the prominent seat for Veselnitskaya at the June 14 hearing on “U.S. Policy Toward Putin’s Russia,” ABC News’ report added.
Lanny Wiles told ABC News he had “zero” connection to the scandal. And Susie Wiles told ABC News that it was an “unfortunate coincidence” that this happened while she was working with the campaign.
We caught up with Susie Wiles on Sunday afternoon, and she explained that her husband was doing non-profit work with an American firm involved in Russian baby adoption, but she could not recall the name.
That non-profit asked Lanny to save seats; he did so, not knowing that he was saving the seat for someone who had planted the seeds for international intrigue just eight days before.
Lanny had no clue that said lawyer was involved in what Trump partisans have been calling opposition research, Susie Wiles noted.
And as chair of the Florida Trump campaign, Wiles said the very idea of foreign nationals used for opposition research was “out of the realm of any experience” she had had, and at odds with the very traditional campaign she ran for President Trump down in Florida, one in which there was no Russian involvement.
“This is America,” Susie Wiles said, calling the Russian opposition research “hypothetical.”
“I’ve never seen it. Never.”
Given the nature of Lanny Wiles’ employment with an American non-profit with an interest in adopting Russian babies, we asked Susie Wiles if any Russian money ever had made its way to either of them.
Susie Wiles was emphatic in her answer, indignant at the question.
“I did not and would not participate in something that hurt the campaign, the government, the President, or the country,” Wiles said.