Site Search

Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: George Papadopoulos

Trump Pardons 2 More Ex-Aides, Associates Convicted in Mueller Probe

Paul Manafort jail mugshot.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump has pardoned two more former aides and associates ensnared in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation of Russian election inference. 

Trump on Wednesday issued pardons to his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime adviser Roger Stone. Both were convicted in the Mueller probe. 

Stone, whose sentence Trump commuted earlier this year, was convicted in November 2019 of lying to the House Intelligence Committee. Manafort was convicted of financial crimes in connection with his overseas lobbying work and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison. 

On Tuesday, Trump pardoned his former foreign policu adviser George Papadopoulos and Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, both of whom were convicted of lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. 

Among those not pardoned in connection with the Mueller probe were Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates, who was sentenced last year to 45 days in prison after cooperating with prosecutors, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who pleaded guilty to campaign finance laws. 

“The pardons from this President are what you would expect to get if you gave the pardon power to a mob boss,” tweeted Andrew Weissmann, a Mueller team member who helped prosecute Manafort.

FBI Sent Investigator to Question Trump Aide about Russia’s Involvement

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI in 2016 sent an undercover investigator masquerading as a research assistant to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the campaign’s ties to Russia, The New York Times reports.

The meeting happened at a London pub after Papadopoulos suggested to an Austrian diplomat that the campaign had “received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton,” according to Robert Mueller’s report.

Ultimately, the operation “yielded no fruitful information,” The Times reports.

The operation shows how far the FBI was willing to go to determine whether Trump’s campaign was working with Russia in its attempts to interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The newly discovered information gives Trump and his supporters fuel to claim the FBI improperly “spied” on him to derail his campaign. Whether the counterintelligence probe was improper is the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr said he believes “spying did occur.”
The Trump campaign released the following statement:

“There is a word for this in the English language: Spying. Democrats and their media friends have expressed horror at the term, but there is no other way to describe it: The FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. For two years, Democrats and their allies in the media have lied to the American people about the Russia collusion hoax, when all along the real scandal was the Obama Administration using the Justice Department to spy on a political adversary’s campaign. As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.”

Ex-Trump Aide Papadopoulos Said He Lied to FBI to Protect the President

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, said he lied to the FBI to protect the president.

“At the time of my interview with the FBI, I think around three or four days before that, I was at the inauguration attending parties with senior-level transition officials,” Papadopoulos told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “I understood that there was an incipient investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

He continued, “And I found myself as somebody who worked incredibly hard over the past year with the campaign to actually have the candidate Trump be elected. And then I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president and having probing questions that I thought might incriminate the sitting president.”

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about meetings in London he had with a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, who claimed to have troves of emails related to the Clinton campaign.

“He sat me down and he was quite giddy,” Papadopoulos said. “And he told me, ‘I have information that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.’”

When asked whether be believed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation had enough evidence to demonstrate coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, Papadopoulos responded, “I have no idea.”

“All I can say is that my testimony might have helped move something towards that, but I have no idea.”

Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser Papadopoulos Considers Withdrawing Guilty Plea in Russia Probe

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is strongly considering withdrawing his guilty plea after special counsel prosecutors recommended a six-month jail sentence, according to his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos struck a deal with prosecutors last year, pleading guilty to misleading FBI agents during the Russian election meddling investigation. In exchange for his cooperation, Robert Mueller’s team was going to recommend leniency.

But a six-month jail sentence is not what he was expecting.

His wife told ABC that “he will make his final decision” Tuesday.

“He needs a serious conversation with his attorney.”

On Monday, Papadopoulos tweeted, “Been a hell of a year. Decision.”

Mueller’s prosecutors recommended jail time because they said Papadopoulos “caused damage” to the investigation by misleading investigators.

In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a professor, identified in news reports as Joseph Mifsud, who said he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Young, Tipsy Trump Adviser Was Improbable Trigger for Russia Investigation

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

A young, tipsy and boastful adviser to the Trump campaign was the improbable spark that ignited the widening federal probe of allegations that the president and his campaign team may have conspired with Russia to steal the November 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. 

It began in an upscale London bar in May 2016, when George Papadopoulos, a 28-year-old political newcomer and foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, bragged to a top Australian diplomat that Russia had political “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to a new bombshell New York Times story.

The report reveals that Russia’s campaign to undermine the presidential election was far more aggressive than previously known – and that some high-ranking members of Trump’s campaign were complicit in a foreign adversary’s brazen attack on American democracy.

The bold, reckless disclosure by Papadopoulos came two months before the public found out about about embarrassing, politically damaging emails that had been illegally hacked from the Democratic National Committee.

So when Wikileaks dumped nearly 20,000 emails online in July, Australian officials tipped off their American counterparts about the meeting with Papadopoulos, an energy consultant whose only political experience was a two-month stint working on the presidential campaign of Ben Carson.

The prospect that Russia was hacking the campaign of a presidential candidate and the discovery that a member of Trump’s campaign appeared to have inside information and secret channels with the Kremlin prompted the FBI to launch a closely guarded investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. 

Despite repeated claims by Trump and his conservative allies, the federal investigation was not set off by the salacious, disputed dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. Instead, the probe was triggered by valuable information shared by one of American’s closest intelligence agencies. 

Now Papadopoulos is cooperating with the special counsel team after pleading guilty in October to lying to the FBI about the secret meeting with Mifsud.

Trump and his allies have sought to diminish Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign, suggesting he was a low-level campaign volunteer or a “coffee boy.”

Interviews and documents obtained by the New York Times reveal that Papadopoulos, in fact, was an influential member of the campaign who  “played a critical role in this drama” and helped “reveal a Russian operation that was more aggressive and widespread than previously known.”

The first indication that the Trump administration was aware of Clinton’s emails came in April 2016, when Papadopoulos met at a London bar with Joseph Mifsurd, a Maltese professor with powerful Moscow contacts who include the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, Mifsud informed Papadopoulos that the Kremlin had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails. 

What’s unclear is how many people in the Trump campaign knew about the “dirt.”

About two months after the Mifsud meeting, Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails during a news conference in Florida. Just weeks later, just after Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, top FBI officials warned both presidential candidates that Russia likely would try to infiltrate their campaigns. Top FBI officials requested that both candidates  notify the bureau of any suspected hacking, but Trump’s campaign never came forward with information.

In May 2016, then-CIA Director John Brennan alerted Congress that intelligence officials were increasingly worried about connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. In the meantime, the FBI was quietly debating how to approach the allegations without tipping off Trump officials or creating the appearance that President Obama’s administration was meddling in the election.

That Papadopoulos, a 20-something political newcomer with virtually no knowledge of Russian issues, could become the impetus of an investigation involving the sitting president and a former Cold War adversary is nothing short of astonishing. Then again, nothing about Trump’s campaign has been conventional or without drama.

In early 2016, Trump’s roller-roaster campaign, desperate to build a foreign policy team, sought out Papadopoulos, who was ambitious and quickly took a leading role in trying to improve relations with Russia and arrange a meeting between Trump and President Vladimir Putin. At one point, Trump turned to the head of his campaign’s foreign policy team, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, for advice on a Putin meeting.

Sessions, who is now Trump’s attorney general, failed to disclose the discussion during a Congressional committee hearing earlier this year, saying he had forgotten about it. But Sessions eventually said he advised against a Trump-Putin meeting, at least partly because he believed Papadopoulos was in over his head and could hurt the campaign.

Whatever the case, Papadopoulos continued to create ties with Russia, setting up meetings with Moscow officials and keeping top campaign officials in the loop.

After the Times story was posted, Trump tweeted:

Papadopoulos’ Fiancee: Trump Lied about Ex-Aides ‘Low-Level’ Role in Campaign

George Papadopoulos’ fiance Simona Mangiante in an interview with ABC News.

By Steve Neavling

When news surfaced that Donald Trump’s former campaign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, is cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation, the president tweeted that his former aide was nothing more than a “young, low level volunteer.”

But according to Papadopoulos’ fiancee in an interview with ABC News, he played an integral role in Trump’s presidential campaign and “was constantly in touch with high-level officials int he campaign.”

If that’s true, Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about meetings with Russian officials, the inner circle of Trump’s campaign could be implicated in the expanding special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.

The fiancee, Simona Mangiante, said Papadopoulos took orders from senior campaign officials to ”set up meetings with leaders all over the world.”

Mangiante said her fiancee is “the first domino in the Russia investigation.”

But, she added, Papadopoulos will be “on the right side of history.”

DOJ: Russian Government Officials Could Be Charged for DNC Hack

hacking By Steve Neavling

Six members of the Russian government are accused of hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s computer during the 2016 presidential election.

The Justice Department has collected enough evidence to produce charges next year, two people familiar with the investigation told the Wall Street Journal.

Allegations that President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia have prompted a very active, widening special counsel investigation that has already netted charges against three Trump aides.

One former aide, George Papadopoulos, is cooperating with authorities after he was accused of setting up a meeting with Russian officials who had “dirt” and thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton

Convicted Trump Aide Admits Trying to Securing Clandestine Trump-Putin Meeting

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling

George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Trump, is the first campaign aide to plead guilty as part of the special counsel’s widening investigation into possible collusion between the president’s associates and the Russian government.

Papadopoulos, 30, who admitted to lying to FBI agents, is also the first aide reach a plea agreement in exchange for cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The young Greek-American, whom Trump called an “excellent guy” in a March 2016 interview with the Washington Post, was part of a plot to secure a meeting between the future president and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Guardian reports

In April 2016, Papadopoulos met with a mysterious London professor who claimed to have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

The potentially game-changing development was announced on the same day Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Rick Gates surrendered to the FBI and were indicted on numerous charges, including conspiracy, money-laundering and foreign lobbying violations.