In an abrupt reversal of previous statements, including under sworn testimony, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo is now admitting that he did knowingly have contact with a Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
In a Tuesday morning interview with CNN’s John Berman, Caputo said that he previously “did not recall” his interactions with the Russian Henry Greenberg—despite a follow-up text conversation with Trump confidant Roger Stone about the meeting—and tried to shift the conversation by alleging that Greenberg was an undercover FBI agent.
At the time, Caputo had set up the meeting between Stone and Greenberg in May 2016.
Even if Greenberg was an FBI informant, it would not explain Caputo’s willingness to meet with someone he thought was a Russian national to get the scoop on Clinton. When Berman pushed him, asking if he truly felt comfortable getting damaging information on Clinton from a Russian, Caputo said: “There’s nothing wrong with having a meeting with someone who’s not representing a foreign government for dirt on Hillary Clinton.”
Records of the Caputo and Stone conversation after the Greenberg meeting have been released. Caputo started it, asking, “how crazy is the Russian?”
Stone replied: “He wants big $ for the info waste of time.”
Caputo responded: “The Russian way. Anything at all interesting?” Stone said “no.”
Caputo told Berman that he had forgotten that interaction as well.
He also acknowledged that President Donald Trump made a false statement when he said “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does” in February 2017.
According to the Washington Post, these comments from Caputo are in stark contradiction to previous statements he made on his Russian contacts.
“I spent my time in front of the [House Intelligence] Committee detailing the fact that I had no contact with Russians, that I never heard of anyone with the Trump campaign talking with Russians, that I was never asked questions about my time in Russia, that I never even spoke to anyone about Russia, that I never heard the word ‘Russia,’ and we did not use Russian dressing,” he said in July 2017.
Stone also claims temporary amnesia during the meeting, saying that 2016 was “a pretty busy year.”
He previously told the Washington Post: “I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign. I very definitely can’t think of anybody who might have been a Russian without my knowledge. It’s a canard.”
Watch Caputo’s comments below:
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 19, 2018