WaPo: Trump Campaign Aide Made Many Attempts To Arrange Russia Meetings

President Donald Trump walks up to the podium to speak to members of the media regarding the on going situation in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 in Bedminister, N.J. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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A foreign policy adviser on President Donald Trump’s campaign made repeated efforts to arrange meetings with contacts he had in Russia, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The Post reported that in at least half a dozen email requests sent between March and September 2016, adviser George Papadopoulos urged Trump or senior members of his campaign to meet with Russian officials. Some of those emails were read to the newspaper by a person with access to them.

In one, Papadopoulos offered to arrange “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” as quoted by the Post.

A self-described energy consultant, Papadopoulos was the youngest and least experienced member of the small foreign policy team Trump abruptly formed last March after coming under criticism for his lack of foreign policy expertise.

These newly surfaced emails mark the latest in a long string of examples of the Trump team’s efforts to establish direct communication with Russia during the 2016 race. Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating Russia’s interference in the election and whether any members of the Trump team cooperated with Russians in that effort.

According to the Post, the Papadopoulos emails were part of the over 20,000 pages of documents that the Trump campaign turned over to the multiple congressional committees conducting their own investigations into Russia’s election interference.

Trump campaign officials expressed concern at the concerted efforts made by Papadopoulos, according to the report. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis cautioned that NATO allies should be consulted before any meetings with Russian official occurred, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Trump would not be traveling to Russia for any sort of meeting with Putin.

High-level members of the campaign did not always rebuff overtures from Russian operatives so directly, however. Manafort attended a June 2016 Trump Tower that Donald Trump, Jr. arranged with individuals purporting to have information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as part of a Kremlin effort to help his father’s campaign. Trump Jr. has said he did not know who the participants of the meeting would be beforehand, or what would be discussed there, and has turned over his contemporaneous notes to the special counsel.

The President’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also attended the Trump Tower meeting, also reportedly spoke with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about setting up a covert communications channel during the transition to the White House. And Trump himself infamously urged Russia to find and leak Clinton’s private emails just months before Election Day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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