Trump-Russia Investigation Started With Campaign Aide’s Night Of Drinking, Not Trump Dossier

New information seems to make question of who paid for dossier meaningless.

george papadopoulos trump russia
Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

New information seems to make question of who paid for dossier meaningless.

According to a bombshell new report in the New York Times, the FBI’s investigation into what connections existed between Russian hackers trying to influence the 2016 presidential election and the Donald Trump campaign began not with the revelation of the infamous Trump dossier as previously believed but with a Trump campaign aide and a night of heavy drinking in London in May 2016.

The New York Times reports that George Papadopoulos, who has been referred to as a “low-level volunteer” and a “coffee boy” by White House officials, met with Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, at the Kensington Wine Room in London, where the two shared drinks and Papadopoulos proceeded to tell the diplomat that Russia was in possession of thousands of emails that would prove embarrassing and damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, information that Papadopoulos had received from a Russian connection a few weeks earlier.

Later, according to four unnamed American and foreign officials with “direct knowledge” who spoke to the Times, when the Clinton campaign and Democratic emails began leaking online, the Australian officials alerted the FBI to Downer’s conversation with Papadopoulos, prompting the FBI to quietly open an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

george papadopoulos trump russia
Alexander Downer, pictured, was told that Russia had Hillary Clinton’s emails in May 2016. Alastair Grant / AP Images

This is very important because, according to an article from ABC News Australia, the recent attacks on the credibility of the Robert Mueller investigation have hinged on the idea that the investigation was based on the information contained in the Trump dossier compiled by British agent Christopher Steele, which is alleged to have been commissioned and paid for by Trump’s political opposition. This new report, if true and can be verified, changes everything. It indicates that the investigation’s genesis came from one of America’s closest allies, several months before the appearance of the Trump dossier.

George Papadopoulos, according to an article in the New York Daily News, was arrested by Mueller and the FBI back in July and has been cooperating with the investigation ever since. He is one of four people who have been arrested in connection with the Trump-Russia investigation so far. The others are Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his associate Rick Gates, and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charge of making false statements to the FBI in October.

An article in Reuters mentions that Papadopoulos, who is 30 years old and an international energy lawyer from Chicago, has had his participation in and importance to the Trump campaign downplayed by the White House, who claim his role was “extremely limited.” It is also claimed by the White House that President Trump has met Papadopoulos on only one occasion and that his actions were undertaken on his own and without the knowledge of the Trump campaign.

The New York Times reports, however, that Papadopoulos helped edit Trump’s first major foreign policy speech and was the person to introduce Trump to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. They also report that he was a close associate of Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller and campaign advisor Sam Clovis.

So far, neither the Australian government, Trump’s legal team, nor lawyers for Papadopoulos have chosen to comment on the new report.