The fiancee of the former Trump campaign adviser who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI, will be remembered “like John Dean,” she told The Washington Post in a new interview.
Simona Mangiante, an Italian lawyer who got engaged to George Papadopoulos last September, defended her fiancee in an interview with The Washington Post and also suggested that he has more information to provide about his involvement with the Trump campaign.
“George is very loyal. And he is on the right side of history,” Mangiante told The Post.
“There’s a lot to come,” she added. “He was the first one to break a hole on all of this.”
“I believe history will remember him like John Dean,” she said, referring to the Nixon White House lawyer who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice but revealed White House secrets about the Watergate coverup.
Papadopoulos, an energy consultant who joined the Trump team in March 2016, pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Maltese professor and two Russian nationals while he worked on the campaign.
Until that point, he had been a largely-unknown figure in the Trump orbit.
As part of his guilty plea, Papadopoulos agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
While on the campaign, Papadopoulos made several attempts to set up meetings between Trump and top campaign officials and Russian government officials. Emails show that those attempts were rebuffed, though some campaign officials appeared to encourage Papadopoulos in his efforts to arrange meetings. (RELATED: Trump Adviser Suggested Meeting With Russians During Campaign Meeting, But Was Shot Down By Jeff Sessions)
Just after he joined the campaign, Papadopoulos struck up a friendship with a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and two of his friends, both of whom were Russian nationals.
Papadopoulos met in London with Mifsud and the Russians and discussed setting up meetings with the campaign.
Mueller’s prosecutors said that Papadopoulos lied to the FBI last January about his contacts with Mifsud and the Russians. And a day after a Feb. 16 interview with agents, he deleted a Facebook account he had operated since 2005.
He was arrested on July 28, 2017 and pleaded guilty on Oct. 5. His guilty plea was not disclosed by Mueller until the end of that month.
According to a statement of offense released by Mueller, Papadopoulos said that during an April 26, 2016 meeting with Mifsud in London, the professor told him that he had learned from Russian government officials that the government had obtained “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. (RELATED: George Papadopoulos’ Fascinating Link To The Dossier)
The timing was significant because it was before it was publicly known that Russians had hacked into the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
A key but unanswered question is whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s claim about emails.
Papadopoulos did reportedly discuss the encounter with an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer.
The Australians relayed details of that conversation to the FBI in July 2016, a move which reportedly served as part of the basis for the bureau’s decision to open the Russia counterintelligence investigation.
The White House and former campaign officials have downplayed Papadopoulos’ role on the campaign. One former aide, Michael Caputo, called him a “coffee boy.” The White House said that because of his guilty plea, he was “proven to be a liar.”
Mangiante, who worked for Mifsud for several months in 2016 but did not meet Papadopoulos until later, has given several interviews in recent months to defend him against those charges.
In an interview with MSNBC last week, Mangiante said that she did not learn about Papadopoulos’ meeting with Downer until the end of last month, when it was reported by The New York Times.
And though Mangiante suggested in her interview to The Post that Papadopoulos’ has information about Trump campaign collusion, she said in the MSNBC interview that she did not believe that he attempted to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton.
“Absolutely not,” she told MSNBC’s Ari Melber when asked that question. “I think George never tried to do anything.”
According to The Post, Mangiante was instructed by Papadopoulos’ lawyers to not discuss various aspects of his case.