In a Friday night court filing trying to spare their client from a lengthy prison sentence, attorneys for George Papadopoulos claim that he never told the Trump campaign about claims of Kremlin “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and that a month before he knew about said dirt, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions positively responded to a March, 2016 proposal that the young energy consultant facilitate a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Eager to show his value to the campaign, George announced at the meeting that he had connections that could facilitate a foreign policy meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.
Other attendees at that meeting, “including former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon, say that Sessions shut down Papadopoulos’ suggestion,” according to the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross. Sessions himself testified in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal.
A month later at an April 26, 2016 breakfast in London, Papadopoulos learned from Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (who bragged last year that he was on the Clinton Foundation – and has been missing since October 2017), that Moscow possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
According to Papadopoulos’s Friday night court filing – he never told this to the Trump campaign, while continuing to push for a Trump-Putin meeting.
Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents in a January 27, 2017 interview – claiming that Mifsud told him about the “dirt” on the Clinton campaign before he joined the Trump campaign. He also told federal investigators that he never revealed this to anyone within Trump’s orbit:
“He told the agents he was unaware of anyone in the campaign knowing of the stolen Hillary Clinton emails prior to the emails being publicly released,” reads the Friday night court filing.
Papadopoulos would later tell the Greek Foreign Minister about the Kremlin “dirt” on Clinton, as well as Australian diplomat Alexander Downer at a May 10, 2016 London dinner in which he “drunkenly” admitted that Russia had information that could hurt Trump’s opponent. The FBI claims it was the meeting with Downer which resulted in the agency opening a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016.
Lawyers for Papadopoulos also argue that he didn’t hamper the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling – and only “misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master.”
“In his hesitation, George lied, minimized, and omitted material facts. Out of loyalty to the new president and his desire to be part of the administration, he hoisted himself upon his own petard.”
Friday’s filing also reveals new details about the FBI’s initial interview with Papadopoulos. According to Papadopoulos’s lawyers, FBI agents showed up to interview Papadopoulos at his mother’s house in Chicago.
The agents asked Papadopoulos to accompany them to their office to answer “a couple questions” about “a guy in New York that you might know[,] [t]hat has recently been in the news.”
Papadopoulos believed that the agents wanted to ask him about Sergei Millian, a Belarus American businessman who is alleged to be a major source in the Steele dossier. Millian approached Papadopoulos in July 2016 and the pair met several times during the presidential campaign. –Daily Caller
FBI agents reportedly assured George that the focus of the discussion would be on Sergei Millian – however the conversation quickly turned to the Russian “dirt.”
“Less than twenty minutes into the interview, the agents dropped the Millian inquiry and turned to recent news about Russian influence in the presidential election. George told the agents he had no knowledge of anyone on the campaign colluding with the Russians and it would not have been in anyone’s interest to undermine the democratic process. George was surprised to be answering questions about Russian interference in the election and told the agents the topic caught him off guard. The FBI agent confirmed that the Sergei Millian inquiry was just a ruse to get him in a room when he told George that:”
… the reason we wanted to pull you in today and have that conversation because we wanted to know to the extent of your knowledge being an insider inside that small group of people that were policy advisors who, if anybody, has that connection with Russia and what, what sort of connections there were.
Read the filing below: