The Greek American mafia are emerging as key partners and conduits for Donald Trump’s team, Putin and kleptocratic Russian oligarchs.
George Papadopoulos, Trump’s foreign policy advisor, tried to set up meeting with members of the Trump team with Russia by email during the campaign.
His attempt was rebuffed by Paul Manafort and others, likely over fears that it would draw too much attention to Trump’s source of funding.
In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, the youngest member of the campaign’s foreign policy team, sent an e-mail to seven Trump officials with the subject line “Meeting With Russian Leadership—Including Putin” wherein he offered to arrange “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump,” according to The Washington Post, which was read internal Trump campaign communications.
Papadopoulos’s initial offer to act as an intermediary was rebuffed, according to the Post. “We thought we probably should not go forward with any meeting with the Russians until we have had occasion to sit with our NATO allies,” Clovis, Trump’s campaign co-chairman, wrote in response. Charles Kubic, a retired Navy Rear Admiral and adviser, raised legal concerns, too. “Just want to make sure that no one on the team outruns their headlights and embarrasses the campaign,” Kubic wrote.
Papadopoulos was not deterred, however. Over the course of the next six months, he reportedly sent more than a half-dozen similar proposals to senior members of the Trump campaign. The Trump staffer’s effort included forwarding an invitation from Ivan Timofeev, a senior official at the government-funded Russian International Affairs Council, for Trump to visit Moscow. To which Clovis responded, “There are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen.” Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager at the time was copied on the e-mail, but the exchange referenced by the Post did not include a response from him to Papadopoulos. After the offer to Lewandowski, Papadopoulos shared the invitation with Manafort, then Trump’s new campaign chairman, who also dismissed the request. “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips,” he wrote to Rick Gates, another Trump adviser.