By Jake Gibson, Judson Berger, ,
Published May 23, 2018
Former Trump adviser Michael Caputo’s suggestion that a second government informant may have been snooping on the president’s 2016 campaign came into question overnight, as two other individuals involved in the flagged discussions downplayed their role.
Caputo had told Fox News, in two televised interviews, that he was approached in 2016, likening the situation to revelations that another government informant made contacts with several other Trump advisers in the early stages of the Russia probe.
Caputo told Neil Cavuto Tuesday on “Your World” that he was approached in early May 2016 by an intermediary “who had been talking to a government official” looking to connect with the Trump campaign -- purportedly to hand off Hillary Clinton-related emails.
But when contacted by Fox News, the individual who supplied the information – a government contractor – denied having ever contracted for an intelligence agency and downplayed the interaction as “cocktail party talk about where to go do opposition research.” The individual claimed to have gotten the information in question after meeting with an NSA contractor who shared information about a purported email depicting ‘pay-for-play’ between the Clinton Global Initiative and State Department.
The individual stressed that they are not connected with any of the intelligence agencies and were not trying to reach out to the Trump campaign on behalf of any agency, but rather passing along unconfirmed information about the Clinton campaign they thought should be pursued.
The intermediary, meanwhile, confirmed being approached at a Washington party and being urged to “go after the Hillary emails.” Fox News has reviewed texts among the three individuals, which include allegations of emails showing ‘pay-for-play.’
Caputo has since told The Daily Wire that this “could be a great big misunderstanding.” It is possible the discussions concerned suggestions for pursuing emails as opposed to a more direct offer.
Caputo, though, explained to Cavuto that he was coming forward amid concern that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees did not seem interested.
“I gave this information to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and I gave this information to the Mueller team. They never reached out to the intermediary to check on it,” he said. “They didn't even seem to be taking notes.”
He also said he didn’t want to bring the information to the Trump campaign at the time for fear of looking “kooky.”
Caputo added, “It was frightening to me. It could be a crime for me to take them into my own custody.”
He also noted he didn’t think much about the incident until WikiLeaks revealed information about the Clinton campaign in October 2016.
Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report.