Mueller Probing New Meetings With Russians Offering Trump Aides Dirt On Clinton
Longtime Trump operative Roger Stone has admitted to a May 2016 meeting with a Russian who was offering to sell damaging information about Hillary Clinton, according to the Washington Post. The meeting was with a man named Henry Greenberg, and happened at the request of former Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo, who met Greenberg through a Russian business partner. Neither Caputo nor Stone disclosed the meeting when they were interviewed by Congressional investigators, but Caputo told the Post that it came up when he was questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators last month. The disclosure means that 11 Trump associates have now acknowledged interacting with Russian nationals during the campaign or transition.
Stone met Greenberg — who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and T-shirt — at a restaurant in Sunny Isles, Florida, in late May 2016. The plan was for Stone to vet the information Greenberg was offering. Whatever that supposed Clinton dirt was, Stone told the Post that Greenberg offered to sell it to Trump for $2 million, but that he dismissed the offer, telling Greenberg that Trump “doesn’t pay for anything.” In a text exchange with Caputo following the meeting, Stone said that Greenberg “wants big &$ for the info” before calling the meeting a “waste of time” and telling Caputo that he heard nothing of interest. Stone told the Post that he attended the meeting to practice “due diligence” on something it would have been “political malpractice” for the Trump team to ignore. Caputo claims that Greenberg’s Russian accent didn’t seem important to him at the time, since links to Russia were not yet a major issue for the Trump campaign.
Stone and Caputo now claim that Greenberg was working for the FBI as part of a sting to entrap them and the Trump campaign, citing documents that indicate Greenberg once worked as an FBI informant. Caputo has even launched a website including the documents. The allegations are sure to get the attention of President Trump and his allies, who have been repeatedly attempting to discredit the FBI and the Mueller investigation.
When contacted by the Post, Greenberg originally denied the meeting. He later confirmed it, but claimed that he had not asked for money. He also said he had been accompanied by a Ukrainian friend who was a disaffected former employee of the Clinton Foundation who wanted to tell Stone his story. There is no evidence such a man exists.
The Post also reports that there is no evidence that Greenberg, who has been charged with several crimes in both the U.S. and Russia over the last few decades, was working for the FBI when he met with Stone. The documents provided by Stone and Caputo indicate that Greenberg ceased working with the agency at some point after 2013. The Florida meeting happened two months before federal law enforcement officials say they opened their counterintelligence operation targeting Russia’s election meddling. It took place between two more famous interactions between Trump campaign officials and Russians offering damaging information on Clinton. Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos has been approached a few weeks before in London, and Donald Trump Jr. and other members of Trump’s inner circle met with dirt-peddling Russians at Trump Tower two weeks after Stone’s meeting.
Roger Stone has previous claimed that he “didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to [the Trump] campaign.” Both he and Caputo now claim to have forgotten about the meeting with Greenberg. Stone, who has bragged that he communicated with WikiLeaks before their release of hacked Democratic Party emails ahead of the 2016 election, is already thought to be one of the Trump associates who is being targeted by Mueller and his investigators. Last month, Stone said he would not be surprised if he was indicted after several people associated with him were subpoenaed as part of the Mueller probe. Whatever happens, Stone has insisted he will never roll on President Trump.