George Papadopoulos, the Donald Trump foreign policy adviser who attempted to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian government leaders — including President Vladimir Putin himself — has admitted lying to the FBI about his connections to Russia. Papadopoulos entered a guilty plea to the "making false statements" charge back on October 5, according to reports Monday morning. The foreign policy aide, who was once described by Trump himself as "an excellent guy," had been named last week as a "person of interest" in the Russia investigation by leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But Papadopolous, reports on Monday say, has very likely "flipped" and begun cooperating with the Trump-Russia collusion investigation run by special counsel Robert Mueller.
According to court documents, Papadopoulos met with a "female Russian national" on March 24 of last year, after he was already part of the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos initially told the FBI that he had met with the Russian woman before he joined the Trump campaign and that he merely exchanged emails with her consisting of, "Hi, how are you?" But that was a lie, the documents say.
In reality, Papadopoulos "believed she had connections to Russian government officials; and he sought to use her Russian connections over period of months in an effort to arrange a meeting between the (Trump) campaign and Russian government officials."
Read the complete court document, outlining the charges against Papadopoulos to which he has already pleaded guilty, by visiting this link.
Accoring to reporting by Ryan J. Reilly, senior justice reporter for HuffPost, Papadopolous had originally told investigators for the FBI that he was in touch with a professor in another country who "told him about the Russians possessing 'dirt' on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of 'thousands of emails,' but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the campaign." The young aide's guilty plea is a clear indicator, according to Reilly's reporting, that Papadopolous is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
The Inquisitr has previously reported on the senators' naming Papadopolous as a "person of interest," and the aide's attempts to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russia, in the article at this link.
But even those Senate leaders apparently did not know that the 30-year-old Papadopoulos had already reached a plea deal and was likely cooperating with the Mueller investigation. His guilty plea was unsealed on Monday morning, shortly after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was ordered to turn himself in to the FBI on multiple charges of "conspiracy against the United States," money laundering, and failing to register as a foreign agent. A business partner of Manafort's, Rick Gates, was also indicted on similar charges.
The Russian woman was not the only mysterious person with Russian connections who approached Papadopolous — and about whom Papadopolous later lied to the FBI. There was also the mysterious "professor," who was originally described to the FBI by Papadopolous as "a nothing," and "just a guy talk(ing) up connections or something."
But the young adviser later admitted that the professor did not tell him about the alleged "dirt" on Clinton in Russia's possession, which the professor said was contained in "thousands of emails," until he had been with the Trump campaign for more than one month — indicating a possible attempt by the Russian government to directly collude with the Trump campaign to smear Clinton.
Papadopoulos also tried to use the professor's Russian connections to set up meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian agents, at one point even promising that Putin himself would attend a meeting with the Trump campaign. But while the Trump campaign claims to have nixed his suggestions, Papadopolous was not fired for pushing collusion between the campaign and the Russian government. In fact, as late as September, Papadopolous was acting as a spokesperson for the campaign, giving an interview with a Russian media outlet in which he expressed the view that U.S. sanctions against Russia accomplished nothing except to push Russia and China into closer cooperation.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]