A top aide to President Donald Trump reportedly passed along information about a person who wanted to set up a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Rick Dearborn, who is now Trump’s deputy chief of staff, sent information to campaign officials last year pertaining to the effort, which had not been previously reported.
Dearborn was allegedly sceptical about the request, CNN senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju said in an interview on Wednesday evening.
The individual mentioned in the email was only identified as “WV.” One of CNN’s sources said it could have been a reference to a contact located in West Virginia.
The email came around the same time as a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer, the report said.
The email represents another example of Russia’s attempts to make inroads with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Russian operatives reportedly targeted Carter Page, a former foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, as a potential opening to Trump’s inner circle.
Page, along with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, had long-documented contacts with Russian operatives before and after they joined the Trump campaign. All of them have denied engaging in any untoward interactions with the Kremlin on behalf of the campaign
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has come under scrutiny in recent months for his previously undisclosed talks with former Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak — meetings he denied during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year. Sessions later amended the record to show that he did indeed meet with Kislyak on several occasions.
The Russia investigation is ongoing, with special counsel Robert Mueller leading the FBI’s inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
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