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Investigators probe Papadopoulos letter on Trump-Russia business deal

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George Papadopoulos
Former Trump campaign aide
George Papadopoulos.

Yuri
Gripas/Reuters


  • Trump-Russia investigators are reportedly looking into an
    uncorroborated letter that claims George Papadopoulos was
    pursuing a business deal with Russians “which would result in
    large financial gains for himself” and President Donald Trump
    after the 2016 election.
  • The letter is being examined by both congressional and FBI
    investigators, and two US officials told The Atlantic that the
    FBI is taking the letter’s claims “very seriously.”
  • Papadopoulos began serving out his two-week prison sentence
    for lying to the FBI this week.
  • But the revelation that officials are probing the letter
    indicates Papadopoulos is still a significant player in ongoing
    investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow
    during the 2016 election.

FBI and congressional investigators are looking into a new and
uncorroborated claim that the former Trump campaign aide George
Papadopoulos said he was pursuing a business deal with Russians
“which would result in large financial gains for himself” and
President Donald Trump, The Atlantic reported.

A Democratic source on the House Intelligence Committee confirmed
to INSIDER that the letter was sent to ranking member Adam
Schiff’s office earlier this month from someone who claims to
have been close to Papadopoulos in late 2016 and early 2017. Two
US officials also told The Atlantic that federal authorities are
investigating the letter and taking its claims “very seriously.”

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to one count of lying to
the FBI and began serving his two-week prison sentence on
November 26. But the revelation that authorities are probing the
letter shows Papadopoulos is still a significant figure of
interest in ongoing investigations into whether Trump associates
colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election.

Papadopoulos denies having any financial links to Russia. But in
a court filing announcing his guilty plea last year, prosecutors
laid out multiple attempts by Papadopoulos to set up meetings
between campaign officials and Russians during the election.


Read more:

George Papadopoulos tweets offer at Comey: Testify publicly and
I’ll withdraw my request for immunity



george papadopoulos
Alex
Wong/Getty Images



Papadopoulos told the FBI that his outreach to the Russia-linked
foreign nationals occurred before he joined the campaign. But his
first interaction with an “overseas professor” with ties to
high-level Russian officials occurred on March 14, 2016, weeks
after he joined the campaign.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos just over a
month later that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton that
came in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to the
charging document.

Papadopoulos later told the top Australian diplomat Alexander
Downer about the claim that Russia had kompromat on Clinton. That
conversation, which Downer relayed to US officials, is what
prompted the FBI to launch the Russia investigation.

Papadopoulos also told the FBI that he met with a Russian woman
who claimed to be a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin
— Papadopoulos described her as Russian President Vladimir
Putin’s “niece” in one email — before he joined the campaign, but
he actually met her on March 24, according to the court filing.

“He believed she had connections to Russian government officials;
and he sought to use her Russian connections over a period of
months in an effort to arrange a meeting between the campaign and
Russian government officials,” prosecutors said.


trump putin
Trump
stunned observers when he rebuffed the US intelligence community
in favor of Russia in Helsinki.

Thomson Reuters

In another instance, Papadopoulos emailed then-campaign manager
Corey Lewandowski in April 2016 saying he had received “a lot of
calls over the past month” about how “Putin wants to host the
Trump team when the time is right,” according to The Washington
Post. He emailed Lewandowski and another campaign adviser, Sam
Clovis, on May 4 to ask again about setting up a meeting.

“There are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign
officials as a private citizen,” Clovis replied.

Two months later, on July 14, 2016, Papadopoulos emailed one of
the foreign contacts and indicated a meeting had “been approved
from our side.”

The meeting, Papadopoulos wrote, would be “for August or
September in the UK (London) with me and my national chairman,
and maybe one other foreign policy adviser and you, members of
president putin’s office and the mfa to hold a day of
consultations and to meet one another.”

Papadopoulos expressed remorse for lying to the FBI about his
Russia connections during his sentencing hearing in September.
But he has since adopted a drastically different tone by claiming
in recent months that he was entrapped by the FBI and that his
interactions with Mifsud were part of an elaborate set-up by
Western intelligence.

According to The Atlantic, Papadopoulos’ baseless claims were
what prompted the unnamed author of the letter to come forward.
The person reportedly said they were willing to take a polygraph
test “to prove that I am being truthful” and added that they
decided to send the letter after observing Papadopoulos “become
increasingly hostile towards those who are investigating him and
his associates.”

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