by WorldTribune Staff, November 1, 2017
While well-paid former spook Christopher Steele was digging for, or creating out of thin air, the nitty gritty on candidate Donald Trump, an unpaid low-level Trump adviser was reportedly doing the same on candidate Hillary Clinton.
George Papadopoulos “was trying to do what the Democratic-financed dossier writer also wanted: Dirt on the other candidate,” Rowan Scarborough wrote for The Washington Times on Oct. 30. “And they both worked out of London and looked east, to Moscow.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to a charge of lying to an FBI agent about his Russia contacts. He has agreed to cooperate with the government in the Russia investigation.
Steele, a former British spy, ended up authoring a 35-page unverified dossier on Trump and his associates filled with charges of lawbreaking and collusion. Some of Steele’s charges made their way into the election debate via the Clinton campaign and the news media and has even been referenced by Democratic lawmakers at congressional hearings.
Meanwhile, a “statement of offense” filed by Mueller does not say that Papadopoulos ever obtained any dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The filing shows that “Papadopoulos was trying to burnish his credentials with the campaign at Trump Towers by connecting with Russians and trying to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Scarborough wrote. “As a candidate, Mr. Trump had talked about wanting to improve relations with Moscow.”
Mueller’s filing says Papadopoulos met with a female Russian national on March 24, 2016, the same month he learned he had become a campaign adviser. He believed she had connections with Russian government and could arrange a meeting with the Trump campaign.
That same month, Papadopoulos while traveling in Italy met an unnamed professor with links to the Kremlin. In April, he met with the professor for breakfast at a London hotel. The professor told him he had just returned from Moscow, where operatives told him they had “dirt” on Clinton. “They have thousands” of her emails, the professor said.
Mueller’s filing does say whether it’s known that the professor actually possessed any emails.
In an email to a supervisor, Papadopoulos said that he was working “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S. Russia ties under President Trump.”
No Trump-Putin meeting happened from these channels during the campaign, the Mueller filing notes.
“It appears that the Papadopoulos emails quoted in the Mueller filing were all turned over to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees,” Scarborough wrote. “One of those emails showed that then-campaign manager Paul Manafort shot down the idea of a Russia meeting.”
Former Trump campaign officials said Papadopoulos was freelancing without campaign authorization.
“I was surprised to learn today what George Papadopoulos was up to during the campaign,” said J.D. Gordon, a Trump campaign national security adviser who worked under then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general.
“He obviously went to great lengths to go around me and [Sen.] Sessions,” Gordon told The Washington Times. “Presidential campaigns are like that. I have been senior staff, senior advisers on three. Very hard to know what every single person is doing, especially since some folks deliberately go around the chain of command or circumvent it. George Papadopoulos obviously represents an extreme case.”