Trump Campaign Adviser’s Drunken Revelation Prompted Russia Collusion Investigation: Report
Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos reportedly prompted the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election by drunkenly revealing knowledge of Russian “dirt” on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
According to a report published by The New York Times Saturday, Papadopoulos in May 2016 revealed to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russian officials were shopping possible dirt on Clinton, likely implying that Russian officials were shopping them for the Trump campaign.
The Australian diplomats forwarded the information to their U.S. counterparts, four former and current officials with knowledge of the situation told the Times, triggering the July 2016 investigation.
Papadopoulos apparently shared information provided to him by Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor with ties to Moscow officials, who told him that the Russians had “thousands of emails” obtained by hackers from the DNC that had yet to be released, and that detailed controversial dealings between Clinton and the DNC’s fundraising apparatus.
It is unclear how much information Papadopoulos shared with Downer or how the topic came up.
Mifsud also introduced Papadopoulos to a Russian woman named Olga Polonskaya, falsely telling the campaign aide she was a niece of Vladimir Putin, in an apparent effort to connect the Russian president with then-candidate Donald Trump.
The two men reportedly corresponded for months on plans to have Trump and Putin meet. Court documents have previously confirmed Papadopoulos’s attempts to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. Papadopoulos reportedly told campaign adviser Stephen Miller, now a top White House strategist, that he had “interesting messages coming in from Moscow” and could arrange a possible trip to Russia.
The suggestion by Papadopoulos for a meeting between Trump and Putin later became a central focus of the Russia investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and the campaign.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in November to lying to the FBI for misrepresenting his communications with Mifsud and Polonskaya during the course of the campaign.
Ever since the charges were unsealed, Trump and his allies have dismissed the former adviser’s role in the campaign.