The media thought they had a bombshell.
Reports of email conversations between Trump campaign officials and Russians supposedly sowed the seeds of collusion.
But then the story blew up in their faces.
The Washington Post’s latest attempt to promote the fake news story about ties between the Trump campaign and Russia revolved around emails — between a campaign volunteer and a senior official at the Russian International Affairs Council — offering to set up a meeting with high-level Russians including Vladimir Putin to discuss the state of U.S.- Russia relations.
But rather than strengthening the narrative, the story proves the Trump team’s innocence.
When the offer was sent to Trump officials they immediately shot it down.
The Washington Post reported:
“Three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advisers sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.”
The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.
The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower.
Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.”
Papadopoulos was a campaign volunteer who graduated college in 2009.
He was an energy consultant who was listed as part of Trump’s foreign policy council.
He also appeared to be someone with little influence on the campaign.
In fact, in May 2016, he forwarded an offer from Ivan Timofeev –a senior official at the Russian International Affairs Council about the Russian government being open to a meeting – senior officials including Paul Manafort flatly rejected the idea.
The Post also reported:
“Clovis responded to the Timofeev invitation by noting: “There are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen.”
The email chain does not show a response from Lewandowski, who did not return calls seeking comment.
Several weeks later, Papadopoulos forwarded the same message from Timofeev to Manafort, the newly named campaign chairman.
“Russia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss,” the adviser told Manafort.
Manafort reacted coolly, forwarding the email to his associate Rick Gates, with a note: “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.”
The Post promoted this story as the latest Russia “bombshell.”
But it was a dud in that sense.
However, it was useful to Trump supporters because it proved that Trump’s senior campaign team was wary of meeting with Russians and even went so far as to shoot down any attempt to set up an official meeting with senior Russian officials including Vladimir Putin.