George Papadopoulos has admitted to lying to the FBI regarding his contact with Russian operatives. How did someone like this end up on Team Trump during the 2016 campaign trail?
Well… it all started with Ben Carson.
The Chicago native’s foray into politics began with an unpaid advisory position on the Ben Carson campaign, a gig which lasted for several months, from Nov. 2015 to Feb. 2016.
An official on that campaign told The Daily Caller on Monday that Papadopoulos was recommended to the Carson team by someone with the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank where Papadopoulos interned several years ago. The Carson team member did not know the name of the person at Hudson who made the recommendation.
Carolyn Stewart, a spokeswoman for Hudson, said that Papadopoulos started as an intern there in 2011 and later provided research on a contractual basis to the group’s senior fellows. They parted ways in 2014.
After leaving the Carson campaign, Papadopoulos claims to have worked as a director for the London Centre of International Law Practice from Feb. 2016 to April 2016. He officially joined the Trump campaign in the interim, on March 21, 2016. That was the day that Trump announced his foreign policy team in an interview with The Washington Post.
Papadopoulos was told that he would be brought on to the Trump campaign on March 6, 2016, according to a statement of offense released on Monday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. The document, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., states that Papadopoulos was told by an unnamed campaign supervisor that a top foreign policy focus on the campaign would be repairing relations between the U.S. and Russia.
While the identity of that campaign supervisor is unclear, The Daily Caller is told by a former Trump campaign official that Papadopoulos was ultimately approved by campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis to join the team.
After Papadopoulos officially joined the Trump campaign, he embarked on what the Special Counsel’s statement of offense suggests was a dogged effort to establish communications channels between Trump, the campaign and Russian government officials.
The statement, which Papadopoulos approved as part of his plea deal, says that the campaign volunteer established a relationship with a London-based professor who claimed to have knowledge of the Russian government’s hacking of “thousands” of Hillary Clinton emails. Just days after officially joining the Trump team, Papadopoulos met with the professor in London, where he was introduced to a female Russian national.
In an Aug. 15, 2016 exchange, the unnamed campaign supervisor — the same one who seemingly briefed Papadopoulos on March 6 — encouraged Papadopoulos to set up an “off the record” meeting with Russian officials. The meeting never occurred, according to the statement of offense.