The indictment of George Papadopoulos and his guilty plea has taken things from bad to worse for Donald Trump. New reports claim that Papadopoulos was in contact with top Trump campaign officials, and according to one of his emails, he had also received approval for the meeting. This could provide the special counsel Robert Muller with a direct lead into the Trump campaign.
While President Trump has termed Papadopoulos as a ‘low-level’ volunteer, new information suggests that he may have been in touch with Paul Manafort, Sam Clovis, and Corey Lewandowski. The documents unsealed by special counsel Robert Muller reveal how Papadopoulos was meeting foreign nationals within weeks of being termed as an important part of Trump’s national security team.
Investigators have not yet identified the officials by name from the emails. However, reports suggest that one of the Trump campaign officials was Paul Manafort. One of the emails forwarded by Manafort to his associate Rick Gates read, “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips (Russia). It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
Corey Lewandowski was another high-level official who received direct emails from Papadopoulos; not once, but on multiple occasions, as reported by ABC News. However, Lewandowski clarified his stand on NBC’s Today by saying that he received thousands of emails daily. Sam Clovis, who was the Trump campaign’s national co-chairman, had responded to the Papadopoulos emails by praising his work and adding, “I would encourage you to make the trip, if it is feasible.”
Sam Clovis, who had supervised Papadopoulos, claimed that he was acting on his own, and the Trump campaign had strict rules against traveling abroad. In spite of his claims, Clovis was questioned by Mueller’s team and had to testify before a grand jury. Whether or not he corroborated the events described by Papadopoulos is unclear as of now.
In one of the email sent by Papadopoulos, he claimed that the meeting with representatives of Vladimir Putin was approved by Trump Campaign officials. It is still unclear whether he was only boasting in the email or there was actual approval, as reported by Bloomberg. The email is present in an affidavit by the FBI supporting the criminal charges against Papadopoulos. Interestingly, it is not included in the court documents.
It appears the Robert Muller’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties will now verify how the campaign reacted to the electronic communication over Skype, Facebook, text, and emails. Meanwhile, as per the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Contact 2 identified in the court documents was Ivan Timofeev. Papadopoulos wrote in a private Facebook message to Timofeev, “Keep an eye on the speech tonight, Should be good.”
Has the arrest of Papadopoulos taken Robert Mueller a step closer to indicting Donald Trump? Let us know your views in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]