AG Barr: Russian operatives didn’t have cooperation of Trump or his campaign
A mysterious businessman who tried to sell dirt on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump campaign associates in Miami three years ago was not involved in a Russian effort to interfere with the election, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Henry Greenberg — a Russian expat known by many names — met with political operative Roger Stone in Sunny Isles Beach six months before the 2016 presidential election to try to cash in on information he said would harm the Clinton campaign. The meeting with Stone, which was brokered by another Trump associate, Michael Caputo, apparently ended with no money or information changing hands.
“Wants big [$] for the info — big waste of time,” Stone texted Caputo after the meeting, according to the Washington Post.
But the meeting gained significant media attention in June of last year after Caputo released a dossier of information on Greenberg, alleging that federal agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller seemed to know a strange amount of information about the Russian businessman and had possibly tried to entrap him and Stone. Meanwhile, Caputo also amended his congressional testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to explain that he’d forgotten to mention his contact with Greenberg, which he viewed as insignificant.
After interviewing Greenberg, Mueller’s team determined he had no ties to efforts by Russian intelligence to undermine the presidential election. Nor, apparently, did the Russian national know much of anything about the information he was trying to sell, since he was working with a Ukrainian businessman — Alexei Rasin — whose name has never before been mentioned publicly.
“The Office was unable to determine the content and origin of the information [Rasin] purportedly offered to Stone,” the report states. “Finally, the investigation did not identify evidence of a connection between the outreach or the meeting and Russian interference.”
The report dedicates a sub-section to Greenberg under a segment on efforts by the Trump campaign to track down thousands of deleted Clinton emails, and refers to the Russian businessman by a different alias, Henry Oknyansky. The report explains that the businessman first contacted a Russian business associate of Caputo, who runs a Miami Beach-based public relations business. Caputo put Stone in contact with Greenberg, and the two men met in May of 2016.
Greenberg and Caputo had different recollections when interviewed by the special counsel about whether Caputo attended. But Stone was there and Greenberg was accompanied by Rasin.
Rasin, according to the report, was a Ukrainian involved in Florida real estate who claimed to have “derogatory information on Clinton that Rasin claimed to have obtained while working for Clinton.” Rasin, according to Mueller, said he had financial statements that showed Clinton was involved in money laundering “hundreds of thousands” of dollars with his companies.
Greenberg told Mueller’s team that Rasin had been unsuccessfully trying to sell the information to “other parties,” and that he was to receive a cut if the information was sold.
Mueller’s report says that Rasin could not be located in the U.S. Attempts by the Miami Herald to reach Rasin Thursday were also unsuccessful.
State records show at least one business, Wilson Marine, registered to an Alexei Rasin out of a Sunny Isles Beach address, and several others were registered in Naples. Public records show Rasin twice filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the 18 months following the meeting with Stern, and that he was accused in court of forging his ex-wife’s signature on a third bankruptcy case. He told a judge in January of 2017 that his business collapsed, his spouse had been repeatedly hospitalized and he was facing eviction.
The Mueller report states that “the Office found no evidence that Rasin worked for Clinton or any Clinton-related entities.”
The meeting is among the evidence showing that Trump associates were willing to meet with Russian figures to gain information about Clinton. But Mueller’s report should also end any speculation about the relevance of Greenberg to any Russian interference efforts.
Instead, what mystery remains around Greenberg — who’d bounced around Russia and the U.S. and tried unsuccessfully at one point to open a restaurant on the Miami River — is whether he was actually working with the FBI, as Caputo suggested. Documents from California immigration hearings in 2015 show that Greenberg was at one point, at least, working with the federal agency despite racking up arrests for violent offenses.
But even that seems unlikely, since the Mueller report explains that the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference didn’t begin until July of 2016. Attorney General William Barr also worked with Mueller to redact information in the report that would reveal investigative techniques or sources.