Trump adviser Stone reveals new meeting with Russian
Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining a previously undisclosed meeting between longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone and a Russian figure who purportedly tried to sell him dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The meeting between Stone and a man who identified himself as Henry Greenberg was described in a pair of letters sent Friday to the House Intelligence Committee and first reported by The Washington Post.
Stone and Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign aide who arranged the 2016 meeting, did not disclose the contact in their interviews with the committee. But they now believe the man was an FBI informant trying to set them up in a bid to undermine Trump’s campaign. Greenberg could not immediately be reached to comment, but in a text to the Post he denied he was working for the FBI when he met with Stone.
The letters obtained by The Associated Press and written by Stone and Caputo’s lawyers say that, in late May 2016, Caputo received a call from his Russian business partner introducing him to Greenberg, who claimed he had information about Clinton that he wanted to share with the campaign.
Caputo suggested Greenberg meet with Stone, who had left the campaign in 2015 but remained an informal Trump adviser.
At Caputo’s request, Stone met with Greenberg at a Florida cafe, where Greenberg asked for $2 million in exchange for the information, according to Stone’s lawyer. Stone swiftly rejected the offer, explaining that neither he nor Trump would ever pay for “political information,” his lawyer wrote.
Both men say they quickly forgot about the episode, which marks the latest in a long list of unusual contacts between Russians and Trump campaign officials as well as offers of help.
Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday the president might pardon his jailed, onetime campaign chairman and others ensnared in the Russia investigation once special counsel Mueller’s work wraps up, if he believed they were treated “unfairly.”
Until then, consideration of clemency is unnecessary, Giuliani said, as the White House presses to bring the yearlong investigation to an end.
Giuliani denied that Trump was trying to send a message to Paul Manafort, who was the 2016 chairman for nearly five months, or others to refrain from cooperating with prosecutors. The former New York City mayor suggested that an end to the investigation could be in sight one way or the other – either by undercutting the Mueller’s inquiry as illegitimate, or if necessary, by agreeing to a Trump interview with prosecutors under limited conditions.
“The president is not going to issue pardons in this investigation,” Giuliani said. “Because you just cloud what is becoming now a very clear picture of an extremely unfair investigation with no criminality involved in it of any kind.”
But, he added, “When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States. He retains his pardon power. Nobody is taking that away from him. He can pardon, in his judgment.”