Ex-Trump adviser Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying about prof who said Russians had Clinton 'dirt'
George Papadopoulos. Photo from LinkedIn.
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with the probe of Russian influence by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to making false statements about his contacts with foreign nationals he believed to be connected to Russian officials. The New York Times and the Guardian had the story.
One of the officials was a professor with substantial connections to Russian officials and the other was “a certain female Russian national,” according to a statement (PDF) by Mueller’s office.
The professor told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, according to the statement. Following his interactions with the professor and the female Russian national, Papadopoulos had emailed high-ranking officials in the Trump campaign seeking a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian officials, the statement said.
According to the New York Times, the plea “represents the most explicit evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government’s meddling in last year’s election.”
The revelation comes the same day that Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, surrendered in Mueller’s probe. An indictment accuses Manafort and a business associate of an alleged money laundering conspiracy stemming from Manafort’s work on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian ally.
When he was interviewed by the FBI in January, Papadopoulos falsely said the professor was “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections,” the statement says. Papadopoulos also told the FBI that his interactions with the professor and the female Russian national occurred before he became a foreign policy adviser to Trump, though the contacts occurred afterwards, the statement says.
Papadopoulos’ statements to the FBI “impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” the statement says.