Included in the batch of 20,000 emails turned over earlier this summer by the Trump campaign to various congressional investigative committees is one from a top aide to President Trump that tried to connect campaign officials with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rick Dearborn, who is now the president’s deputy chief of staff, send a short email to Trump campaign officials saying a person identified only as “WV” wanted to set up a meeting with Putin, according to sources who spoke exclusively to CNN.
The email reportedly was sent in June 2016, around the same time as the meeting at Trump Tower between a Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-n-law Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to answer questions about Dearborn’s email or if the Trump campaign followed through with the meeting.
“We aren’t going to comment on potentially leaked documents,” Sander said.
In March 2016, Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also sent an email to campaign officials about setting up meetings with Russians, “including Putin,” CNN said. Then, in April, Papadopoulos emailed Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, saying, “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right.”
Trump has repeatedly characterized the ongoing investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russians as a “witch hunt” with no basis in fact.