Former Trump campaign aide: Trump ‘paying close attention’ to those in Russia probe
Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo, who has been tangled up for years in multiple probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said he felt he was “on his own” throughout the several-years-long investigations.
Days after the redacted Mueller report was publicly released, Caputo received a surprise phone call from President Donald Trump to thank him for his support. It was the first time the two had spoken since Inauguration Day due to the investigation, Caputo told the ABC News podcast, “The Investigation.”
“This is a singular, individual, lonely road to travel. I didn’t know that the president was paying attention,” he said.
Trump then invited Caputo’s family, who were taking a road trip to the area last week for their children’s spring break, to come “catch up” with him and first lady Melania Trump at the White House.
At the White House last week, Caputo described Trump as “absolutely elated.”
“[President Trump] was so positive. He reminded me of just every other day at Trump Tower. He seemed to have not a care in the world,” Caputo said. “I’ve been reading the press about how he’s grousing around the White House and doing everything but talking to the paintings, totally upset, worried he’s [going to] be impeached. He’s not the least bit worried. Not even for a second.”
Caputo has worked in politics going back to the Reagan administration, including on the 1992 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush. In the 1990s, Caputo lived in Russia while working for then-President Boris Yeltsin and the Kremlin. And in 2001, for two weeks, Caputo worked in the U.S. for an energy company with ties to current Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last May, Caputo spent hours at the special counsel’s office for questioning by prosecutors, and has twice appeared for sworn testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate Intelligence committees, respectively.
What struck Caputo most, he said, was how closely the president has clearly been following the investigation and its impact on people drawn into it from his former campaign’s orbit.
One of those people: Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser and longtime friend of Trump’s.
Stone has described Caputo as his “protégé.” Caputo and Stone met in the mid-1980s when Caputo worked at Stone’s lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, and Stone, as Stone’s driver. In 2015, Stone brought Caputo on with him to serve in the nascent days of Trump’s presidential run.
In late January, Stone was charged with a seven-count indictment in connection to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Caputo said that Stone did not come up by name in his meeting with President Trump, but added, “Roger is my best friend, and the president knows that. I think he was being careful not to mention his name. … I’m very, very concerned [about Stone]. I know the president is, too.”
Feeling “invigorated” by his Oval Office meeting with Trump at the White House, Caputo had a hopeful message to others who found themselves caught up in the probe: “I want everybody who’s still in the cross-hairs of this investigation to know that the president and the first lady are paying close attention and they’re not alone.”
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