Donald Trump Campaign Aide Knew Of Russian Hacked Democratic Emails In April 2016, New Court Documents Show

George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign who was once described by Trump as "an excellent guy," was told that the Russian government possessed "thousands of emails" containing "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton no later than April 27, 2016, newly released court documents show. The hack of emails from the server of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta took place on March 19 of 2016, just five weeks earlier.

But the source who told Papadopoulos — who pleaded guilty October 5 to lying to the FBI — about the emails first made contact with the 30-year-old foreign policy adviser much earlier. They held their first formal meeting on March 24, just three days after the Trump campaign announced that Papadopoulos had joined the campaign team, according to the court documents detailing the Trump advisers guilty plea.

The 31-page George Papadopoulos plea document may be read in full by visiting this link.

The source was a "professor" based in London, England, who met Papadopolous in Italy on March 14, the document says. At first, the professor — who claimed extensive contacts with the Russian government — was uninterested in getting to know Papadopolous. But when Papadopolous told him that he had recently been tabbed to join the Trump campaign as foreign policy adviser, the professor suddenly became interested in striking up a friendship.

At their March 24 meeting, the professor brought along a female Russian national who claimed to be a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Immediately after the meeting in London, Papadopolous sent an email to the Trump "Campaign Supervisor" — possibly a reference to then-Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski — detailing the meeting and describing the woman as "Putin's niece." That description turned out to be incorrect, but the wording makes clear that Papadopolous believed he was meeting with individuals closely tied to Putin.

The Trump campaign supervisor replied, complimenting Papadopoulos on his "great work." On March 31, Trump chaired a meeting of his foreign policy team attended by Papadopoulos, and posted a picture from that meeting on his Instagram account. Papadopoulos is seated third from left in the photo.

Meeting with my national security team in #WashingtonDC. #Trump2016

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

At that meeting, Papadopoulos announced that he had important "connections" who could arrange a meeting between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. That occasion was the first of numerous attempts by Papapdopoulos to set up high-level meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. On April 10, the woman believed by Papadopoulos to be Putin's niece emailed him, saying that she "would be very pleased to support your initiative between our two countries."

In an email the next day, the Russian woman told Papadopoulos that "we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump," and offered to "welcome" Trump once he became the official Republican nominee.

On April 26, the professor met with Papadopoulos in London again, this time telling him that he had just returned from high-level meetings in Moscow, where he learned that "They (the Russians) have dirt on her," meaning Clinton. "The Russians had emails of Clinton... they have thousands of emails."

Donald Trump Campaign Aide Knew Of Russian Hacked Democratic Emails In April 2016, New Court Documents Show
Hillary Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, whose email server was hacked by Russian agents on March 19, 2016, just a few weeks before a Trump adviser was told that Russia had "thousands of emails" with "dirt" on Clinton [Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles Airport just outside of Washington D.C. in July of this year and has agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The document-dumping site WikiLeaks began posting the hacked Podesta emails online on October 7, 2016, the same day a video surfaced showing Trump boasting about committing sexual assault against women because, "when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]