Trump adviser Stone reveals new Russian meeting
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining a previously undisclosed meeting between longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone and a Russian figure who allegedly 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 for 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.
“WITCH HUNT!” Trump tweeted on Sunday, insisting: “There was no Russian Collusion. Oh, I see, there was no Russian Collusion, so now they look for obstruction on the no Russian Collusion. The phony Russian Collusion was a made up Hoax. Too bad they didn’t look at Crooked Hillary like this. Double Standard!”
As part of their campaign, Trump and his loyalists have tried to convince the public that the FBI violated its usual operating procedures, including installing “spies” inside Trump’s campaign, though there’s no evidence that’s the case.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a member of Trump’s legal team, on Sunday dismissed the significance of the Stone meeting.
“So, yes, sure, there was contact, as there was in that meeting. But that meeting led to nothing. This led to nothing. So, if anything, it’s proof there was no collusion,” he said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding that Mueller’s team “can investigate from here to, you know, to Timbuktu, and they’re not going to find a darn thing.”