A Russian man that offered to sell damaging information on Hillary Clinton to the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump revealed in earlier court documents that he had been a long-time FBI informant.
The man, Henry Greenberg, offered to sell the unspecified information for $2 million in late May, 2016, but the Trump campaign associate refused.
Greenberg, who also used the name Oknyansky, filed two dozen documents with a federal court in 2015, showing an FBI agent repeatedly brokered his entry into the United States on a special visa for people assisting law enforcement.
“I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger,” he said in an Aug. 18, 2015, court declaration under oath.
Nine months later, he came uninvited to a gallery opening in Florida organized by a public relations firm run by Michael Caputo, who was working for the Trump Campaign at the time. There, he approached Caputo’s business partner, Sergey Petrushin, and said he had information helpful to the Trump Campaign.
Petrushin told the Washington Post he called Caputo and handed the phone to Greenberg.
Caputo told the paper that Greenberg’s Russian accent didn’t raise his suspicion. At the time, talking to Russians wasn’t considered controversial yet and Caputo himself used to be an adviser to Boris Yeltsin, the first post-communist Russian president.
“Let me get somebody to vet it for you,” Caputo recalled saying to Greenberg.
He then connected Greenberg with Roger Stone, who lived in Florida.
Stone is a Republican strategist and lobbyist who worked early on in Trump’s campaign and had long been an advisor to the candidate. However, Trump fired Stone from his campaign in August 2015.
Stone met Greenberg on May 29, 2016, in Sunny Isles. Stone told the Post that Greenberg came in a Trump shirt and a Make America Great Again hat.
When Greenberg made his offer, Stone told him, “You don’t understand Donald Trump. … He doesn’t pay for anything.”
He said the two then parted ways.
Both Stone and Caputo said they let the meeting out of their minds.
But last month, Caputo was questioned about the meeting by the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian meddling in the U.S. election and allegations of the Trump campaign colluding with the Kremlin.
Caputo said Mueller’s people were greatly interested in his contact with Greenberg and apparently had access to text messages between Stone and Caputo from May 2016—two months before the FBI claimed in leaks to The New York Times to have started the Trump-Russia investigation.
The prosecutors showed Caputo the following texts from May 29, 2016:
Caputo: How crazy is the Russian?
Stone: Wants big &$ for the info- waste of time
Caputo: The Russian way. Anything at all interesting?
Caputo said the messages refreshed his memory and his lawyer had since sent a letter to the House Intelligence Committee to amend his earlier testimony, where Caputo denied getting any offers for Clinton campaign information from a Russian.
Greenberg acknowledged meeting with Stone, but said he didn’t want any money and only accompanied his Ukrainian friend, Alexei, a disgruntled former Clinton Foundation employee wanting to spill the beans. The Clinton Foundation denied ever employing anyone named Alexei. Greenberg said his friend had since moved back to Ukraine and that they’re not in contact.
Stone said Greenberg came alone.
Caputo and Stone believe Greenberg’s offer was arranged by the FBI, something Greenberg denied.
Caputo hired a private investigator to look into Greenberg’s background.
The investigator collected extensive court records, media articles, and social media posts that showed Greenberg, 59, has an extensive criminal record of assault with a deadly weapon, theft, assault, DUI, and domestic violence in the United States, and at least two charges of theft in Russia, totalling $5 million.
In the 2015 court papers, Greenberg said he stopped working with the FBI in 2013 after his handler retired and the FBI Miami Field Office failed to deliver on a promise to get him an immigrant visa, and instead handed him over to Homeland Security for deportation.
However, he hasn’t been deported since.
“It strains credulity that US immigration services would allow a violent out-of-status alien arrested four times in two states to remain in the country without supervision,” the investigator noted, and suggested Greenberg has been shielded from deportation by a deal with the government.
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