George Papadopoulos told his Trump campaign colleague Stephen Miller, now a top White House official, about his efforts to coordinate a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the New York Times reported Friday.
According to the Times, Miller is the unnamed “senior policy adviser” described in emails that were included in the recently unsealed charges against Papadopoulos.
In one April email, Papadopoulos emailed that “senior policy adviser” to inform him that “the Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.”
Two days later, after a London-based professor with ties to the Russian government told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, he followed up with another message saying he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”
The Times report marks the first time that Miller has been identified as one of the campaign staffers who was in regular contact with Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia-linked foreign nationals.
Miller also attended a March 2016 meeting of the campaign’s foreign policy team in which Papadopoulos told Trump directly that he could set up a meeting with him and Putin.
Neither Miller or his lawyer responded to the Times’ request for comment.
The senior White House adviser was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team late last week. CNN reported that the discussion focused in part on Miller’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.
Miller helped Trump draft an initial memo he planned to send outlining the reasons Comey should be fired. Other White House officials stepped in to keep that memo from going out over concerns that some of its arguments were problematic.
The special counsel’s team reportedly has a copy of the initial draft letter.