Papadopoulos says that Trump personally encouraged him to arrange meeting with Putin, new book reports
Senior Editor,Yahoo News•March 12, 2018
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign and potentially a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, told federal investigators that before the election, Donald Trump personally encouraged him to pursue a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new book being published Tuesday.
Papadopoulos’s account to Mueller — as reported in “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” by Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones’ David Corn — contradicts the public accounts of what took place at a critical meeting of Trump’s foreign policy team on March 31, 2016. It was at that meeting that Papadopoulos first informed Trump and the then candidate’s other foreign policy advisers that he had contacts in Britain who could arrange a summit between the GOP candidate and Putin.
Although one of the campaign officials present, J.D. Gordon, has said the idea was shot down by then Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Papadopoulos told Mueller’s investigators that Trump encouraged him, saying he found the idea “interesting,” according to the book, which cites sources familiar with his questioning by Mueller’s investigators.
Trump looked at Sessions, as if he expected him to follow up with Papadopoulos, and Sessions nodded in response, the authors write. Sessions has said he has “no clear recollection” of the exchange with Papadopoulos. A White House official said that others at the meeting remember it differently than Papadopoulos.
Last fall, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s probe.
The story of what happened at the only known meeting between Trump and Papadopoulos is one of a number of new details revealed in “Russian Roulette” about contacts that Trump, his campaign advisers and others had with various Russian figures and their associates during the 2016 campaign.
The first two excerpts from the book were published last week by Yahoo News and Mother Jones.
The book chronicles the efforts of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a close Putin ally, and his assistant, Maria Butina, to curry favor with the Trump campaign — including their own attempt to set up a Trump-Putin meeting in Moscow.
Those efforts began as early as July 2015, when Butina showed up at FreedomFest, a conservative gathering, in Las Vegas, where Trump was speaking. During a Q&A session, Trump called on Butina, who asked him about his stance on Russia and the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on the country — eliciting the first response from the new GOP candidate on an issue that was a top priority of Putin’s government.
“I know Putin,” Trump replied during the course of a five-minute answer. “I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.”
Later in the campaign, the book reports that two top Trump officials — Steve Bannon and Reince Preibus — discussed a video of the Las Vegas event and wondered how Butina gained such quick access to Trump’s ear.
“How was it that this Russian woman happened to be in Las Vegas for that event? And how was it that Trump happened to call on her?” Isikoff and Corn write. “And Trump’s response? It was odd, Bannon thought, that Trump had a fully developed answer. Priebus agreed there was something strange about Butina. Whenever there were events held by conservative groups, she was always around.”
In the spring of 2016, Torshin and Butina — who had close ties to the National Rifle Association — made a direct play to gain influence with the Trump campaign, floating their own proposal for a Trump-Putin summit during an international conference in Moscow on the plight of persecuted Christians, organized by Franklin Graham.
In an email to Trump campaign officials, Rick Clay, a conservative activist, described Torshin as a “very close friend of President Putin” and encouraged the Trump team to strongly consider the offer.
“Please excuse the play on words, but this is HUGE!” Clay wrote, according to a copy of the email that was reviewed by the authors. “The optics of Mr. Trump in Russia with Franklin Graham attending an event of over 1000 World Christian Leaders addressing the Defense of Persecuted Christians accompanied by a very visible meeting between President Putin and Mr. Trump would devastate the Clinton campaign’s efforts to marginalize Mr. Trump on foreign policy and embolden him further with evangelicals.”
The then-candidate’s son-in-law Jared Kushner subsequently sent an email recommending that the campaign “pass on this,” warning, “Be careful.”
Among other revelations in “Russian Roulette”:
- The U.S. government had a secret source inside the Kremlin who warned as early as 2014 that Russia was mounting an ambitious campaign of cyber-attacks and information warfare against Western European democracies and the United States. The reports from the source were “startling” because they spelled out the “magnitude” of the Kremlin’s “intention to do us harm,” according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The secret Kremlin source also provided stark insights into the contempt that Putin and his senior officials had for President Barack Obama and his administration — often expressed in racist terms. In Putin’s presence, Obama would be called a “monkey,” and it was not uncommon for the American president to be referred to by the N-word, the book reports.
- Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, was so concerned about Trump’s ties to Russia-friendly advisers that he contemplated an idea to catch the Trump campaign in the act of colluding with Moscow by mounting what he called a “honeypot” operation straight out of a spy novel. The idea was that the Clinton team would plant a phony story about Clinton in the Democratic National Committee’s computer system and wait to see if the Trump campaign or its allies made public use of it. If they did, it would prove the Trump campaign was receiving intelligence from the Russian hackers who had infiltrated the DNC’s servers. But after Mook floated the idea to Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign’s lawyer, they decided it was “harebrained” and could backfire.
- President Obama was incredulous when he was first briefed in early January 2017 about the contents of a dossier, prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele, alleging that the Kremlin had a videotape of Trump engaging in sordid sexual behavior with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. “Why am I hearing this?” he asked his national security adviser, Susan Rice. “Why is this happening?” Rice explained that the intelligence community had no idea if the claim was true but that Obama needed to be aware that the allegation was circulating. A few days later, when Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about intelligence reports on contacts between various players in the Trump orbit and the Kremlin, he had a visceral reaction. “If this is true, it’s treason,” Biden exclaimed.
- When then President-elect Trump was handed a two-page synopsis of the Steele dossier, at the end of a U.S. intelligence briefing about Russia, he too had a visceral reaction. “It’s a shakedown,” Trump said, after FBI Director James Comey left the room. Trump believed he was being blackmailed by Comey. The incident, the authors write, may well have planted the seeds for what was later described by one of the most disastrous decisions of Trump’s presidency to date: the firing of Comey, a move that led to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
Seven days in Trumpland: Confusion, scandals and indictments
How much more evidence do Trump lovers need of treason? Nah, what am I saying? They’ll still cry “Fake News, Fake News!” I think even if Trump came out and said, “I committed treason with Russia,” they’d deny it.
Trump said that he didn’t know Papadopolous. So it’s fake news.
Updated : Axis of Treason—Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, Wilbur Ross, Felix Sater, George Papadopoulos, Sebastian Gorka , Vlad Putin, Boris Epstein, Dmitry Rybolovlev, Richard Burt, Aras Agalarov, J.D. Gordon, Julian Assange, Igor Sechin, Sergei Millian, Victor Yanukovych, Sergey Kislyak, Roger Stone , Devin Nunes, Eric Prince, and more recently russian Alexander Torshin money donated to the NRA went to trump…Donald Trump Jr and Donald Trump…You trumpies think that’s all just a coincidence? Putin OWNS Trump. Mr Mueller will bury trump and his russian money laundering crime family and minions.
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Retweeted Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire): NEW: Donald Trump Jr. has undisclosed business relationship with GOP donor, a Texas hunting buddy who met with top NSC officials to push a plan that would curb U.S. sanctions in Venezuela in order to do business there https://t.co/vptThJhv6u
House Republicans conclude no evidence of collusion. Hey that’s collusion all by itself.
Ivanka Trump received $1.5 million in 2017 from three companies affiliated with the Trump Organization. Ivanka’s continued ties to the family business and work as a special assistant to the president has created numerous potential conflicts of interest prohibited by federal law. Panama Papers author, documenting money laundering thru IVANKA WAS MURDERED.
“The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring.” – Carl Sandburg
Hillary! Call Trump! Sec of State is now open! Can you believe Tillerson was fired by a “Tweet?” Oh, for the Trumpsters, new debt figures in! The deficit, FOR ONE MONTH, February of 2018, increased by $215.2 BILLION! Over a year, that would be 2.5 TRILLION! Everybody. Call your grandchildren. Thank them for funding your “Tax break!”
Trump Could Feed Every Homeless Veteran for the Cost of His Military Parade, Even Conservatively Estimated — Newsweek
To trump supporters everywhere. I know you are not all “deplorables”, racist, or ignorant. I know you are decent people. I know you care about your children, your families, your neighbors. I know you want what everyone wants; peace and security and happiness and prosperity.
What I don’t know is how or why you are so fooled by this man. How can you not see who he really is? He is a self serving liar, a narcissist, a cheap con man. He was not a good businessman. He is not a good man. He will not make America “great” again.
I hear you saying everyone needs to give him a chance and respect him and stop “obstructing him”. The reason we cannot do that is because we do not agree with his solutions and he does not respect us. He plays to you and you alone. We do not matter. Anyone who opposes him is ignored, dismissed and ridiculed.
That’s not how this country is supposed to work. That’s not democracy, that’s dictatorship.
SMILE, It will make you look better. PRAY, it will keep you strong. LOVE, it will make you enjoy life.
Illinois is officially a ‘sanctuary state’ for immigrants
Rauner signs Trust Act
By Julia Esparza
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner smiles while surrounded by law enforcement officials and immigrant rights activists in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, after signing legislation that will limit how local and state police can cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The narrow measure prohibits police from searching, arresting or detaining someone solely because of immigration status, or because of so-called federal immigration detainers.
With mariachis performing in the background, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the TRUST Act on Monday, at a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, officially barring cooperation between Illinois police departments and immigration officials.
The TRUST Act, valid in all cases except where a federal judge has issued a warrant for arrest, will make Illinois more welcoming to immigrants and refugees, according to its supporters.
“We are glad Governor Rauner is doing the right thing by signing the TRUST Act, but it is important to remember that it is a result of our community’s efforts…. This is what the community needs and wants,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, president of the board of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
The law denies local law enforcement the ability to detain people on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency charged with identifying and investigating immigrants present in the country illegally. It also prohibits local officials from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, something Ruiz-Velasco called a “very important protection,” that will make immigrants more comfortable reporting crimes to local police.
“The TRUST Act will ensure that those who live in this state of limbo [as concerns immigration status] can have one certainty: When their lives and their families are in danger, they can turn to the police without their world being taken away from them,” said Serafina Ha, of the Korean immigrant services agency, the Hana Center.
Support for the law came from Illinois law enforcement functionaries, as well as over 170 faith leaders, and over 170 Illinois employers. The Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois, in support of the bill, engaged over 84 organizations and 14,000 people in the state, according to ICIRR.
However some political leaders, including many downstate Republicans, voiced opposition.
“We are a country founded by immigrants, but those were legal immigrants, and I think the last thing Illinois wants is to see a sanctuary state, and this moves us in that direction,” state Sen. Kyle McCarter, a Republican from Lebanon, Ill., told the Chicago Tribune.
Just five Republicans voted for the law in the Illinois Senate, and only one Republican voted for it in the House.
Passing with mainly Democratic support on May 5, 2017, the law had since sat on Governor Rauner’s desk as supporters organized through letters, press conferences and rallies.
“This will provide an unprecedented level of protection for Illinois’ half-million undocumented residents, who could otherwise enter the deportation pipeline through any simple interaction with police including a traffic violation,” ICIRR said in a statement. “Illinois is now the gold standard for statewide protections against deportation.”