- Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos accused former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer of setting him up during the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Downer helped spark the FBI’s collusion probe after sharing details of a May 2016 conversation he had with Papadopoulos in London.
- Downer dismissed Papadopoulos’s allegations.
George Papadopoulos suggested on Monday that former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer was sent by an “organization or entity” to meet with him in London during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The notion that Downer randomly reached out to me just to have a gin and tonic is laughable. Some organization or entity sent him to meet me,” Papadopoulos wrote on Twitter.
“For the sake of our republic and the integrity of this investigation, I think it’s time Downer is as exposed as Christoper Steele,” he continued, referring to the former British spy who wrote the dossier accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia.
Papadopoulos, 31, was sentenced to 14 days in jail on Friday for lying to the FBI during an interview on Jan. 27, 2017 about his contacts with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud. In an April 2016 meeting, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had learned the Russian government had “dirt” on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.
Two weeks later, Papadopoulos and Downer would meet in London under what the former Trump aide now believes are “incredibly suspicious circumstances.”
The meeting took place on May 10, 2016 at Kensington Wine Room in London. Days before, an associate of Downer’s named Erika Thompson contacted Papadopoulos requesting the sit-down. Papadopoulos had met Thompson a month earlier through an Israeli diplomat named Christian Cantor. (RELATED: Alexander Downer Describes Barroom Meeting With George Papadopoulos)
Downer has given only one interview about his interaction with Papadopoulos.
He told The Australian in April that the Trump aide said Russians may have derogatory information about Clinton. He said that Papadopoulos did not mention emails and did not use the word “dirt” to describe the information. He also claimed to have passed the information along to others in the Australian government. The information was eventually shared with the FBI, which opened its counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion on July 31, 2016.
Downer’s claims about his interactions with Papadopoulos also ended up in the hands of State Department officials, sources have told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Downer dismissed Papadopoulos’s tweet storm, telling Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, “I’ll leave others to make judgments about the veracity of those tweets.”
Papadopoulos has said that he does not recall speaking with Downer about Hillary Clinton or her emails.
While it is unclear whether Downer was sent to contact Papadopoulos, at least one intelligence source was tasked with meeting the Trump adviser during the campaign.
A former University of Cambridge professor named Stefan Halper reached out to Papadopoulos in September 2016 with an offer of a trip to London and a $3,000 honorarium to write an academic paper about energy issues in the Mediterranean Sea. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions)
Papadopoulos accepted the offer and met with Halper in London. Papadopoulos told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired on Friday that Halper quizzed him about whether he knew of Russian hacks of Democrats’ emails.
“I told him, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’ because of course I had nothing to do with Russian interference or hacking, whatsoever,” Papadopoulos told Tapper.
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