Report: Conservative Activist Told Trump Adviser He Could Set Up Putin Meeting

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

A conservative activist in May 2016 told a member of President Donald Trump’s campaign that he could help set up a meeting between Trump, then the GOP nominee, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The New York Times reported, citing an email the activist, Paul Erickson, sent to Trump campaign adviser Rick Dearborn in May 2016, that Erickson said he wanted advice from Dearborn and Jeff Sessions—then an Alabama Republican senator, now attorney general—on how to proceed.

According to the report, the email was part of a collection of campaign-related documents given to Congressional investigators, and its contents were “described in detail” to the New York Times.

“Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” Erickson wrote in the email, according to the New York Times. “He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election. Let’s talk through what has transpired and Senator Sessions’s advice on how to proceed.”

Erickson said Russia would use the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Kentucky to make “first contact” if Trump’s campaign was amenable.

According to the report, it was not clear how Dearborn responded, though he forwarded a similar email from a West Virginia resident to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now-senior adviser.

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Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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