- The Washington Post reported Roger Stone, a former campaign consultant and close associate to President Donald Trump, has admitted to meeting with a Russian contact during the 2016 presidential election.
- Stone met with a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant in the past, leading Stone and a Trump campaign communications adviser to claim the meeting was a setup by US law enforcement.
- It’s the latest in a string of meetings reported between people in Trump’s orbit and Russian nationals.
Roger Stone, a former campaign consultant and longtime close associate to President Donald Trump, has admitted to meeting with a Russian contact during the 2016 presidential election, according to a new Washington Post report.
The man, who reportedly called himself Henry Greenberg, wanted $US2 million in exchange for damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Stone said he went to the May 2016 meeting but refused to pay for information.
“You don’t understand Donald Trump, he doesn’t pay for anything,” Stone told the Post he remembers telling Greenberg.
Text messages obtained by the Post between Stone and Trump campaign communications adviser Michael Caputo show Stone calling the meeting a “waste of time”.
Stone and Caputo reportedly claim the meeting was a setup by US law enforcement, as Greenberg has previously said in immigration documents that he worked as an FBI informant but stopped in 2013. Greenberg, who also goes by the name Henry Oknyansky, denied to the Post he was working on behalf of the FBI in the meeting.
The meeting has come under scrutiny as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 US presidential campaign, and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.
Mueller’s team is looking at several meetings that Trump campaign officials had with Russians during the campaign and during the presidential transition, and has charged Russian nationals and Trump campaign advisers with a litany of alleged crimes.
On Friday, a federal judge revoked former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail to await trial after prosecutors accused him of attempting to tamper with witnesses. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to over two dozen charges, including obstruction of justice, tax and bank fraud, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
Stone’s meeting, in May 2016, was a few weeks after campaign aide George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton, and two weeks before Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who promised compromising information on Clinton at Trump Tower.
Stone has strayed from his close relationship with Trump after he parted ways with the campaign and previously came under scrutiny in Mueller’s investigation after leaked emails revealed he said he met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Asked about the Post report on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told host Jake Tapper it was the first he was hearing of Stone’s meeting, and that he doubted Trump knew about it.
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