- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
- George Papadopoulos told Stephen Miller, a senior Trump campaign policy adviser, that he had received “interesting messages” from Moscow – one day after learning that Russia apparently had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
- The email could shed light on why Miller was reportedly interviewed by the special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election.
- Papadopoulos continued to pitch a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting to high-level campaign officials.
The former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos told Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser, in an email last April that he had received an “interesting message” from Russia – one day after learning that the Kremlin apparently had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
The emails were disclosed in court documents filed by the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and unsealed late last month. The New York Times reported on Friday that Miller was the “senior policy adviser” described, but not named, in the court filings.
Miller, now a top White House policy adviser and speechwriter for President Donald Trump, was in regular contact with Papadopoulos over several months last year, the court filings show. He has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to influence the outcome.
The court filings say that on April 25, 2016, after “multiple conversations” with a Russian national connected to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Papadopoulos told Miller that “the Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The advantage of being in London is that these governments tend to speak a bit more openly in ‘neutral’ cities,” he said.
On April 26, Papadopoulos met with Joseph Mifsud – identified in the court filings as an “overseas professor” – for breakfast at a London hotel. There, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had learned from high-level Kremlin officials during his recent trip to Moscow that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” the filings say.
Papadopoulos emailed Miller the next day.
“Have some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right,” he wrote, the court filings say.
- Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images
Papadopoulos also emailed Paul Manafort on April 27 asking “to discuss Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump.”
Manafort, who was then a campaign strategist but later became the campaign chairman, was described in the court filings as a “high-ranking campaign official.”
“Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right,” Papadopoulos told Manafort.
‘Is this something we want to move forward with?’
It is unclear whether Papadopoulos ever told Miller or Manafort what those “interesting messages” were. It is also unknown whether Papadopoulos’ overtures extended to phone calls, which would not have been monitored or preserved.
But the young adviser continued to pitch a Trump-Putin meeting to high-level campaign officials, including Sam Clovis, the national cochairman identified in the filings as “the campaign supervisor,” and Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager.
On April 30, Papadopoulos thanked Mifsud for his “critical help” in facilitating a meeting that would be “history making if it happens,” the filings say.
About four days later, Papadopoulos’ contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told him that the ministry was “open for cooperation.” Papadopoulos forwarded that email to Manafort, asking, “Is this something we want to move forward with?”
On May 5, Papadopoulos called Clovis. After their phone call, he forwarded Clovis the ministry contact’s email with a new subject line: “Russia updates.”
Papadopoulos’ efforts to arrange the Trump-Putin meeting continued through June.
“Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss,” Papadopoulos wrote to Manafort on May 21.
Manafort forwarded that email to his longtime business associate Rick Gates and said, “Let’s discuss.”
“We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips,” Manafort wrote. “It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
2 weeks later, Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting
On June 3, the music publicist Rob Goldstone emailed Donald Trump Jr., saying, “The Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
The information, Goldstone said, was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied.
On June 9, Trump Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top campaign adviser, met with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, identified as a “Russian government attorney” in Goldstone’s emails.
On June 14, The Washington Post reported that Russia-linked hackers had breached the Democratic National Committee. Papadopoulos emailed Manafort again on June 19 telling him he would be willing to travel to Moscow to meet with Russian government officials “if it’s in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”
Manafort and Gates were indicted by a grand jury late last month on charges including money laundering and tax fraud as part of Mueller’s investigation and are under house arrest. Clovis, meanwhile, was interviewed by Mueller’s team and testified before a grand jury last month, NBC News reported.