The foreign policy adviser’s attempts to set up a meeting were repeatedly shot down.
The Washington Post reports George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign volunteer, tried to set up meetings with Russia, but was rebuffed.
During the 2016 campaign, one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers repeatedly tried to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian officials but his efforts were consistently rebuffed, The Washington Post reported Monday.
George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign volunteer, tried to set up a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, at least six times between March and September 2016, according to internal campaign emails obtained by the Post.
Papadopoulos, whom Trump listed as a member of his foreign policy advisory team in March 2016, sent an email that same month with the subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.” Papadopoulos said he wanted to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” according to the Post.
“Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” Papadopoulos wrote then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on April 27, 2016.
The suggestions sparked concerns among advisers at campaign headquarters. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis said NATO should be consulted before such a meeting.
Retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic had legal concerns. Kubic worried it could violate U.S. sanctions against Russia and the Logan Act, which makes it illegal for private citizens to negotiate with foreign governments.
In May 2016, Papadopoulos sent Trump’s then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, an email that said, “Russia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time.” Manafort forwarded the email to a colleague with a note reading,”We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.”
“Mr. Manafort’s swift action reflects the attitude of the campaign — any invitation by Russia, directly or indirectly, would be rejected outright,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni told the Post in a statement.
But Manafort, whose home was raided by the FBI last month as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian election interference, did attend a meeting along with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, with the aim of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Retired CIA Russian expert Steven L. Hall told the Post that the emails show “the Russian government was casting a wide net when they were looking at the American election. I think they were doing very basic intelligence work: ‘Who’s out there? Who’s willing to play ball? And how can we use them?'”
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