George Papadopoulos, a former national security adviser to Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to giving false statements to the FBI about his dealings with Russian operatives during his time with the campaign, a revelation that has been held up as clearer evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
According to the 14-page indictment filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Papadopoulos “made material false statements and material omissions during an interview with the [FBI] that took place on January 27, 2017.”
“At the time of the interview, the FBI had an open investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the Campaign and Russia’s efforts,” the document continues.
Papadopoulos claims to have interacted with “an overseas professor” who possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Although he originally insisted that he only spoke with the professor prior to working for Trump’s campaign, it was discovered that “Papadopoulos had been a foreign policy adviser to the Campaign for over a month.”
Papadopoulos also lied about the so-called professor’s knowledge and connection to Russian government officials, as well as his communications with a “certain female Russian national” who was to offer “her Russian connections over a period of months to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and Russian government officials.”
The indictment goes on to detail Papadopoulos’s repeated efforts to set up an “off the record” meeting between Trump campaign officials and members of Putin’s inner circle, but there is no suggestion that Trump signed off on the trip.
Papadopoulos, who was arrested in July 2017 at Dulles airport, also admitted to deactivating his Facebook account after subjecting to an FBI interview, creating a new Facebook account, and switching his cell phone number.