Trump Campaign Adviser Indicted For Lying To FBI About Russia Contacts

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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George Papadopoulos, a short-lived adviser to the Trump campaign, has accepted a plea deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller related to charges that he lied to the FBI earlier this year about his interactions with Russian nationals during the campaign.

Papadopoulos, 30, accepted the plea deal on Oct. 5, said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel’s office. He was arrested on July 27 at Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. and has since met with the FBI, according to an indictment unsealed by Mueller on Monday.

The indictment says that Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents during a Jan. 27 interview regarding his contacts with a London-based professor, a female Russian national and a person described as a Russian foreign ministry official.

Papadopoulos’ continued cooperation with the FBI touched off speculation that he has flipped against the Trump team and is cooperating with Mueller in his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The indictment of Papadopoulos, who served as a volunteer on the campaign, follows news earlier in the day that Mueller had indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates. Manafort and Gates are charged with money laundering and tax crimes. The indictment makes no allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

In contrast, the allegations against Papadopoulos look closer to attempted collusion on the young campaign adviser’s part.

The 14-page indictment lists Papadopoulos’ encounters with the professor, which began on March 14, 2016 during a visit to Italy. By late-April, the unnamed professor informed Papadopoulos that he had visited Moscow, where he was informed that the Russian government had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

Papadopoulos, who was informed of his role on the Trump campaign on March 6, 2016, told FBI agents that he was told by a Trump campaign supervisor that a foreign policy focus for the campaign was to improve relations with Russia.

Papadopoulos, who was based in London at the time, was announced by Trump as a member of the campaign on March 21. Three days later, he met in London with the professor and a female Russian national. The trio would proceed to negotiate setting up meetings between Trump, his campaign officials, and Russian government officials.

Papadopoulos would make an overt pitch to Trump and others in the campaign on March 31, 2016, during the first meeting of the campaign’s foreign policy team.

“When defendant PAPADOPOULOS introduced himself to the group, he stated, in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin,” the indictment reads.

The Daily Caller has previously reported that when Papadopoulos made the offer, he was quickly shot down by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at the time was an Alabama senator and the chairman of the campaign’s national security advisory committee. (RELATED: Trump Campaign Adviser Proposed Meeting With Russians, Was Quickly Shot Down By Sessions)

Papadopoulos, the professor and the female Russian national (who falsely claimed to be a niece of Putin’s) continued to correspond through email about setting up meetings between the campaign and Russian government.

All the while, Papadopoulos sent emails to Trump campaign officials pressing for the meetings. In some cases his attempts were rebuffed. Other times he was encouraged by campaign higher-ups.

On April 18, the professor introduced Papadopoulos, a former fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, to someone described as an official in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On April 26, Papadopoulos met with the professor for breakfast at a London hotel where he was informed of the Clinton emails. The next day, Papadopoulos contacted a senior campaign policy adviser saying that he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow.”

The last contact listed in the indictment occurred on Aug. 15, 2016, when Papadopoulos emailed a campaign supervisor suggesting an “off the record” meeting with Russian officials.

The supervisor, who is unnamed in the indictment, responded to Papadopoulos, saying that “I would encourage you…to make the trip, if it is feasible.”

The indictment notes that the trip and meeting did not take place.

According to the indictment, Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents about the timeline of his encounters with the Russian nationals. He claimed that he met them prior to joining the Trump team. He also misled investigators by downplaying his conversations with the Russians.

As part of his plea deal, Papadopoulos agreed to plead guilty to providing false information to the FBI. The maximum charge for the crime is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The plea deal is signed by Mueller team prosecutors Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Goldstein, and Aaron Zelinsky.

Indictment against George Papadopoulos by Chuck Ross on Scribd

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