Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an "FBI sting operation" in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.
When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said. -WaPo
When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said.
The meeting went nowhere - ending after Stone told Greenberg "You don't understand Donald Trump... He doesn't pay for anything." The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.
Aftter the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo - a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo's Russian-immigrant business partner.
“How crazy is the Russian?” Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted “big” money, Stone replied: “waste of time.” -WaPo
Stone and Caputo now think the meeting was an FBI attempt to entrap the Trump administration - showing the Post evidence that Greenberg, who sometimes used the name Henry Oknyansky, "had provided information to the FBI for 17 years," based on a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status.
He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a “significant public benefit.”
Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a so-called “significant public benefit parole.” The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.
Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the “federal government” for 17 years.
“I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine,” he said. -WaPo
“Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to” the FBI, Greenberg told The Post. “I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger. Based on my information, there is so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds.”
Stone and Caputo say it was a "sting operation" by the FBI:
“I didn’t realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now,” said Stone.
“If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you,” Caputo said in an interview.
Greenberg told WaPo he stopped working with the FBI "sometime after 2013."
In terms of the timeline, here's where the Greenberg meeting fits in:
April 26, 2016 - Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud allegedly tells Trump campaign aide George Paoadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton
Papadopoulos’ statement of offense also detailed his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud at a London hotel. Over breakfast Mifsud told Papadopoulos “he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian governmental officials.” Mifsud explained “that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.” Mifsud told Papadopoulos “the Russians had emails of Clinton.” -The Federalist
May 10, 2016 - Papadopoulos tells former Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer during an alleged "drunken barroom admission" that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton.
Late May, 2016 - Stone is approached by Greenberg with the $2 million offer for dirt on Clinton
July 2016 - FBI informant (spy) Stefan Halper meets with Trump campaign aide Carter Page for the first time, which would be one of many encounters.
July 31, 2016 - the FBI officially launches operation Crossfire Hurricane, the code name given to the counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.
September, 2016 - Halper invites Papadopoulos to London, paying him $3,000 to work on an energy policy paper while wining and dining him at a 200-year-old private London club on September 15.
Stone and Caputo say they didn't mention the meeting during Congressional testimony because they forgot, chalking it up to unimportant "due diligence." Apparently random offers for political dirt in exchange for millions are so common in D.C. that one tends to forget.
Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they also did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant “due diligence” that would have been “political malpractice” not to explore. -WaPo
While Greenberg and Stone's account of the meeting mostly checked out (after Greenberg initially denied Stone's account), Greenberg said that a Ukrainian friend named "Alexi" who was fired by the Clinton Foundation attended as well, and was the one asking for the money - while Stone said Greenberg came alone to the meeting.
“We really want to help Trump,” Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.
Greenberg says he sat at a nearby table while Alexei conducted the meeting. “Alexei talk to Mr. Stone, not me,” he wrote.
The Clinton Founation has denied ever employing anyone with the first name of Alexi.
Caputo’s attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo’s account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, which has announced it is examining the FBI’s use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same. -WaPo
Second FBI informant
Caputo hinted at the interaction in late May when he said that there were multiple government informants who approached the Trump campaign:
“Let me tell you something that I know for a fact,” Caputo said during a May 21 interview on Fox News. “This informant, this person [who] they tried to plant into the campaign … he’s not the only person who came into the campaign. And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign.”
“I know because they came at me,” Caputo added. “And I’m looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning.”
Stone told the Post that he may be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and charged "with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him," and that he anticipates the meeting with Greenberg may be used to try and pressure him to testify against President Trump (leaving no Stone unturned), which he told the Post he would never do.