News & Politics

'I've Done Nothing Wrong': Former Trump Aide with Extensive Ties to Russia Insists There's Nothing to See

“I no more worked for Vladimir Putin than I did Rocky Balboa.”

Photo Credit: Fox News

MIchael Caputo is developing a major business venture with many Russian associates. He has personally entertained Russian President Vladimir Putin. He worked on President Donald Trump's campaign. And he has been intensely interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

And yet, Caputo insists he's done nothing wrong in a new interview with Wired, and he dismisses any suggestion otherwise as pure bias.

To be clear, there doesn't appear to be any conclusive public evidence that Caputo has broken any laws or major norms with regard to American elections or politics, even as other campaign aides have been indicted. In the '90s, he worked under the Clinton administration at the US Agency for International Development in Russia, and he left the country after Putin came into power. 

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“I plead guilty to living an interesting life—lock me up," he told Wired. "But at the end of the day, I’ve told the truth and I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Caputo by himself may not have raised any red flags if he had been a part of any other campaign in 2016. But his extensive connections to Russia have raised questions — and deep suspicions — given Russia's support for Trump in the election and the extensive ties, some of which have been tied to criminal activity, between Trump staffers and the Kremlin.

Caputo has a long history with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, both of whom appear to be central figures in the Russia investigation, as well.

Mueller's evident interest in Caputo is also noteworthy, though it is certainly not evidence of guilt on its own. Caputo describes being interviewed by the special counsel as a "colonoscopy."

As far as his ties to Putin go, Caputo describes them as no more than a lark: “I no more worked for Vladimir Putin than I did Rocky Balboa.”

And as Trump's defenders will point out, it's always possible that the ever-growing number of Trump staffers with ties to Russia is merely one giant coincidence. But that is getting harder and harder to believe.

 

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.