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Trump campaign adviser met with “Putin’s niece” and lied about it

George Papadopoulos, a former campaign foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in October to making “material false statements and material omissions” in the FBI’s Russia investigation.

by Alex Thompson
Oct 30 2017, 1:00pm

While two former Trump campaign officials surrendered to the FBI on Monday, news surfaced that another Trump adviser pleaded guilty earlier this month after being arrested in July.

George Papadopoulos, a former campaign foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in early October to making “material false statements and material omissions” in the FBI’s Russia investigation in January, months before Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, according to a plea agreement unsealed on Monday.

Papadopoulos repeatedly attempted to set up meetings between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign, the Washington Post reported in August. When the FBI interviewed him on Jan. 27, however, he misled the bureau about his efforts to make connections with Russian officials.

The plea agreement, which you can read below, describes Papadopoulos’ actions:

  • A professor with connections to the Russian government told Papadopoulos that there was dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails” (which could be the emails disclosed by WikiLeaks in the ensuing months). Papadopoulos told the FBI that those interactions occurred before he joined the campaign, but they occurred only after he found out he was joining the Trump effort.
  • Papadopoulos also told the FBI he’d met a Russian national introduced as Putin’s niece before he joined the campaign. In fact, he met with her after he found out he was joining the campaign. The Russian national, however, wasn’t actually related to the Russian president, according to a footnote in the plea deal.
  • Papadopoulos told the FBI that the professor was “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.” In fact, Papadopoulos knew the professor had significant connections to the Russian government and repeatedly tried to use those connections to arrange meetings between the Russian government and Trump campaign operatives.
  • In February of 2017, Papadopoulos deleted his Facebook account and created a new one that did not have a record of his communications with the professor.

Editor’s note 3:46 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to clarify the female Russian national was not, in fact, related to Putin.

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