A new book by Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff and Mother Jones’ David Corn being published today says that Donald Trump “personally encouraged” George Papadopoulos to arrange a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If true, this stunning revelation contradicts the public views of what happened at an important meeting with Trump and his foreign policy team on March 31, 2016.
Papadopoulos — who Trump called a “coffee boy” — was actually a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. After pleading guilty to lying to the FBI he has become a key cooperating witness in special counsekl Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
This different view of what Papadopoulos told federal investigators before the election was reported in “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” by Isikoff and Corn.
At the March 31, 2016 meeting Papadopoulos first told Trump and the rest of his foreign policy advisers that he knew people who could set up a meeting between Trump and Putin. That meeting was run by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the head of the foreign policy team, who would later be appointed U.S. Attorney General.
According to the Isiikoff and Corn book, Papadopoulos told Mueller and his investigative team that Trump encouraged him to set up the Putin meeting after being told Papadopoulos had contacts in London that could arrange for the summit meeting. Trump thought the idea was “interesting” and then he looked at Sessions, “as if he expected him to follow-up with Papadopoulos, and Sessions nodded in response” the book recounts.
When asked about this meeting of the foreign policy team Sessions has previously testified that he had “no clear recollection” of the exchange with Papadopoulos. The book also says that according to an unnamed White House official others at the meeting remember what happened much differently than Papadopoulos.