President Donald Trump’s associate, close confidant, and consultant Roger Stone has revealed that he met with a Russian national offering dirt on Trump’s then-opponent, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 election campaign, the Washington Post reports.
In late May 2016, Stone met with a man who called himself Henry Greenberg. Greenberg demanded $2 million for the information.
The meeting was set up by Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official. Caputo’s business associate, a Russian immigrant, had connected him with Henry Greenberg. During the meeting, Stone said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat, and said, “we really want to help Trump.”
After the meeting, Stone and Caputo exchanged a series of text messages, obtained by the Washington Post.
“How crazy is the Russian,” Caputo asked, and Stone responded “Wants big $ for the info – waste of time,” then proceeded to say that the man did not offer anything interesting.
“You don’t understand Donald Trump. He doesn’t pay for anything,” Roger Stone recalled telling Greenberg.
The brief – and from this perspective it seems unfruitful – meeting has now resurfaced as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling and coordination with the Trump campaign. Initially, Stone and Caputo refused to disclose ever meeting with the Russian national. Now, they claim the meeting was a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Donald Trump.
Stone and Caputo’s conspiratorial claims don’t come out of nowhere, on the contrary. The Washington Post has examined the records two men had cited as the reason for suspicion, and they show that the man who approached Caputo and Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.
Interviews and other documents The Post has examined show that the Russian national – who went under Henry Greenberg and Henry Oknyansky – claimed in a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status that he had provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly two decades.
The American government, Greenberg said, granted him special permission to enter the United States, because his presence represented a “significant public benefit.” However, there is no evidence, aside from the records Greenberg himself had attached, showing his meetings with Trump’s confidant Roger Stone were a part of an FBI operation.
In a statement supplied to the Washington Post, Greenberg denied that he had been acting on the behalf of the FBI during the brief sit-down with Stone. Initially, Greenberg denied ever meeting with Stone.
Still, Stone and Greenberg’s stories don’t line up: Stone said Greenberg was alone at the meeting, but Greenberg said he was accompanied by a Ukrainian friend. The friend, Greenberg said, had been fired from a job with the Clinton Foundation, which made him want to “tell his story.”
The most recent development in Mueller’s Russia probe is, as CNN reported, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s jailing.