One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a viscous Russian accent.
The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, according to Stone who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said.
“You don’t understand Donald Trump,” Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. “He doesn’t pay for anything.”
Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had 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.”...
Stone and Caputo, who did not previously disclose the meeting to congressional investigators, now say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump...
They cite records — independently examined by The Post — showing that the man who approached Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.
Interviews and additional documents show that Greenberg has at times used the name Henry Oknyansky. Under that name, he claimed in a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status that he had provided information to the FBI for 17 years. 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.”...
“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.
In a separate interview, Stone said: “I didn’t realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now.”...
Stone has said it’s possible he will be indicted, speculating that Mueller might charge him with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him. He said he anticipates that his meeting with Greenberg could be used in an attempt to pressure him to testify against President Trump — something he says he would never do...
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.
Caputo said that he was asked during a session with the committee in July whether he’d ever been offered information about the Clinton campaign by a Russian, and he either answered “no” or that he could not recall.
However, Stone and Caputo said their memories were refreshed by text messages that Caputo said he no longer has in his possession but was shown during a May 2 interview.
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.
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