Rick Dearborn, who formerly served as a White House deputy chief of staff, reportedly received a request to arrange a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Vladimir Putin in June 2016 while serving as an aide on the Trump campaign.
Dearborn previously served as former Senator Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, and after his time on the campaign he served as the executive director of the Trump transition team. In August 2017, congressional investigators unearthed an email from Dearborn to campaign officials “relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin.” It has been suggested that this request, which Dearborn reportedly refused, fits into a pattern of attempts by Russia to establish lines of communication with the Trump campaign. CNN indicated that the request originated from Rick Clay, a West Virginia resident who formerly worked as a contractor in Iraq. Clay called Dearborn to pass along the proposition from a friend with unnamed Russian contacts who were reportedly interested in discussing “shared Christian values” with the Trump campaign, although Clay disputed the account that the meeting would have been with Putin. It has also been reported that Dearborn was involved in planning the campaign’s April 2016 foreign-policy event during which Trump first met with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (Photo credit: The Washington Post via Getty Images)