White House Claims Papadopoulos Was An Unpaid Volunteer, But Trump Bragged About His 'Excellent Guy' [Audio]

The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued to plead innocence on behalf of the Trump campaign even as the president's former surrogates Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were arrested Monday and former adviser of the Trump campaign's national security team, George Papadopoulos, entered a plea deal with the prosecutors of special counsel Robert Mueller's team. Sanders maintained that Papadopoulos was a non-entity in the Trump campaign, but an audio recording emerged late Monday night where Donald Trump claimed to know this relatively unknown volunteer pretty well.

After the remarkable developments of Monday, the White House responded by pointing out that George Papadopoulos' rank within the Trump campaign was diminutive, so small in fact that he was unpaid and had no role to play in any "official capacity." Sanders, appearing slightly rattled during the briefing, dismissed suggestions that Papadopoulos was acting on behalf of the campaign, arguing that whatever collusion he was planning with the Russian government was on his own accord and did not receive the approval of senior campaign officials of the Trump campaign. This was after documents in federal court, which were unsealed Monday, showed that Papadopoulos had regularly kept others in the campaign briefed about his line of communication and that he was even encouraged to carry on with the work, as reported earlier by the Inquisitr.

But late Monday, the Washington Post released an audio recording taken in March 2016, soon after Papadopoulos was recruited into the campaign, which not only undermines Sarah Huckabee Sanders' suggestion that the national security team member worked in no "official capacity," but also insinuates that Donald Trump had a personal liking for the man. When asked to name of some of the people in his foreign policy and national security teams, Trump goes on to talk about the credentials of Papadopoulos.
"Carter Page, PhD. George Papadopoulos. He's an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy. The honorable Joe Schmitz, [was] inspector general at the Department of Defense. General Keith Kellogg. And I have quite a few more."
Listen carefully at around the 45-second mark of the following audio where Papadopoulos is mentioned by Trump.
Moreover, other evidence posted by Donald Trump himself suggested how important a member George Papadopoulos was for the campaign. This Instagram image posted by the president, again in March 2016, shows Papadopoulos and Donald Trump in a meeting with other senior campaign staff members.
A day after the arrests and plea deal, it seems like Donald Trump's team might have to come with up a better explanation of what George Papadopoulos' actual role within the campaign was, because if they don't tell the people now, they might reach only one conclusion: that something fishy was on and everybody was in on it.

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]