Speed Reads

Trump-Russia

One Trump campaign adviser apparently seemed very keen to arrange Russia meetings

In the spring and summer of 2016, starting right after then-candidate Donald Trump named his campaign's foreign advisory team in March, one of the new advisers, George Papadopoulos, began sending out emails indicating he was in contact with Russian officials who wanted to set up meetings with Trump, The Washington Post reported Monday night, citing excerpts from some of the 20,000 pages of emails and other documents the Trump campaign turned over to congressional investigators. Papadopoulos, the youngest of Trump's advisers, sent at least half a dozen such invitations through September, claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to meet with Trump as part of an effort to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

The reaction from Trump's other advisers was not enthusiastic, the Post reports, with campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis suggesting the team check with NATO allies first; adviser Charles Kubic, a retired Navy rear admiral, citing legal concerns; and chairman Paul Manafort rejecting a proposal in May that Trump travel to Russia. Still, "the internal resistance to Papadopoulos' requests is at odds with other overtures Trump allies were making toward Russia at the time, mostly at a more senior level of the campaign," the Post notes, giving some known examples. Papadopoulos did not explain in the emails read to the Post how it would benefit Trump to meet with Russian officials.

Experts in Russian intelligence gathering told the Post that the emails from Papadopoulos, who graduated college in 2009 and had scant foreign policy experience, are more evidence that Russia was looking to influence the campaign and seeking out entry points. Links between the Trump campaign and Russia are being investigated by several congressional committees and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. The selection of emails was read to the Post, and their tenor plus some specific quotes were confirmed by two other people with access to the internal campaign emails. You can read more about this new character in the Russia saga at The Washington Post.