Trump campaign adviser Papadopoulos lied to FBI about Russian links
George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump's election campaign adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his meetings with individuals having Russian government links. Court papers reveal that Papadopoulos admitted that the meetings happened while he worked for Trump, not before. Meanwhile, Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges not related to the election.
Papadopoulos is a Chicago-based international energy lawyer. A former Trump campaign official told CNN that Papadopoulos served as foreign policy adviser on the team. The official said he wasn't a familiar face to the campaign team and mainly communicated with staff members by email. However, he was close enough to Trump to be included in the then-presidential candidate's national security team.
On October 5, Papadopoulos admitted to impeding the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government, court documents show. He falsely claimed in a January interview to the FBI that he had met two individuals having Russian connections before he joined the Trump campaign in March 2016. In reality, he met them after he joined the campaign.
One of the individuals Papadopoulos met was an unnamed Russian woman, whose connections he hoped to use to arrange a meeting "between the campaign and Russian government officials." He also met a London-based professor who apparently had "substantial connections to Russian government officials." The professor apparently mentioned Russia had "dirt" on Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."
Papadopoulos's case is significant for President Trump as it relates directly to his campaign. Crucially, Papadopoulos learned of the "dirt" on Clinton, which Russia had in the form of "thousands of emails" in a meeting in April'14. The emails started being leaked a few months later. However, it's unclear whether Papadopoulos received the information from Russia and passed it on to Trump campaign officials.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Papadopoulos played an "extremely limited" role in the Trump campaign. She said he had been in a "volunteer position" with "no activity was done in an official capacity." She tried deflecting blame from the Trump administration saying, "The real collusion scandal, as we've said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign…"