“After a March 2016 meeting with the man, who was not identified in court records, [George] Papadopoulos emailed a campaign supervisor and other members of the campaign’s foreign policy team and claimed the professor had introduced him to ‘Putin’s niece’ and the Russian ambassador in London.
Papadopoulos, a low-level member of the Trump campaign and a former intern and researcher at the conservative Hudson Institute, claimed the purpose was ‘to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.’
The government noted, in fact, the woman was not Russian President Vladimir Putin’s niece, and while Papadopoulos expected the professor would introduce him to the Russian ambassador, that never happened. But in the months that followed, Papadopoulos continued to correspond with the woman and the professor about a possible meeting between the Trump campaign, possibly including Trump himself, and Russian officials.”
Dear Russian National, Whose Name I Even Doubt I Truly Know,
So. Where do we stand, after all this?
I thought we had something. I also thought you were Vladimir Putin’s niece. I doubt both these premises now. I know you only met with me after I became involved with the Trump campaign (I was lying, both to myself and the FBI, when I said otherwise), so now I wonder: Did you love me for me, or because you thought I could organize some collusion between the campaign and Russia?
What are we? Also, who are you?
In retrospect, it was weird that you said your name was “Vladimir Putin’s Niece” and did not volunteer an actual name, but hindsight is 20/20. This also explains why you never introduced me to the Russian ambassador, come to think of it.
I remember those little nothings you used to whisper to me. “You look more majestic than my uncle, shirtless, astride a horse,” you would say, and my heart would swell. But now that I know that your uncle is not, in fact, Vladimir Putin, I have no idea how to take these words. Maybe your uncle is not known for riding shirtless on horses. Was I really beautiful to you, then? Was I anything?
I remember the times we had, and a shadow falls over all of them. Yes, you said you could see us together in the future, but specifically what you said was, “I can see us together at a table with Donald Trump discussing potential collaboration with his campaign.”
When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, maybe it was a red flag that you said, “Just an email confirmation of a direct line to the Trump campaign!”
When we played ‘two truths and a lie,” you said, “You are a very smart man, I am not Vladimir Putin’s niece, I am definitely Vladimir Putin’s niece,” and that probably should have clued me in.
I remember all those days we spent together, laughing and whispering sweet nothings to each other, like, “I love you,” and, “That’s nice, George, when can you get me access to Donald Trump?”
I feel lost. “I want to do to you what my uncle did to international norms” is now a totally meaningless phrase. Maybe you didn’t want to do anything to me at all.
Maybe it should have been a red flag that when I asked, “So what is it like being Vladimir Putin’s niece?” you paused for a second and said, “Oh, right, yes, I’m Vladimir Putin’s niece, definitely,” and then you looked at your phone for a long time and said, “I like when he plays the piano with one finger,” which I now realize could have been something you Googled in the time between me asking the question and you answering it.
Maybe I should have Googled you even a single time. But, again, hindsight is 20/20. And after Donald Trump said that I was an “excellent” person, I knew better than to doubt my own judgment.
Now I am just a man standing here wearing a wire hoping for some sort of explanation. I still think we could be something, Vladimir Putin’s Niece, or whoever you are. We just need to be honest with each other. From now on.
(Which reminds me, I am not Jared Kushner.)