George Papadopoulos

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George Papadopoulos
BornGeorge Demetrios Papadopoulos
(1987-08-19) August 19, 1987 (age 31)[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
ResidenceRavenswood, Chicago, Illinois
CitizenshipUnited States and Greece
Education
Criminal chargeMaking false statements
Criminal penalty
Criminal statusFree pending surrender[4]
Spouse(s)
Simona Mangiante (m. 2018)

George Demetrios Papadopoulos[2] (/ˌpæpəˈdɒpəlɒs/; born August 19, 1987) is a former member of the foreign policy advisory panel to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. On October 5, 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about the timing and the possible significance of his contacts in 2016 relating to U.S.-Russia relations and the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

Early life and education[edit]

George Papadopoulos was born August 19, 1987 at Swedish Covenant Hospital[1] in Chicago, Illinois,[5] to Greek immigrants[1][6] originally from Thessaloniki.[7] His father, Antonis, was heavily involved in the local politics of the Greek-American community[7] and the former president of the Pan-Macedonian Union of the United States.[7] His mother, Kate (Kiki), was born in Greece and listed her hometown on her son’s birth certificate as Worcester, Massachusetts.[2] For years he lived at a large house on the corner of a tree-lined street[2] in Lincolnwood, Illinois[1] and graduated from Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, in 2005. He graduated with a bachelor's of arts degree in political science from DePaul University in 2009.[2][8] He went on to earn an MSc degree in security studies in 2010 at University College London.[2][9]He speaks Arabic, English, French and Greek.[5]

Early career[edit]

Papadopoulos was an unpaid intern at the Hudson Institute from 2011 to 2015 specializing in the eastern Mediterranean and later worked as a contract research assistant to a senior fellow at the institute.[6][10]

He described himself as an "oil, gas, and policy consultant" on his LinkedIn page.[11] In 2014, Papadopoulos authored op-ed pieces in Israeli publications. In one, published in the Arutz Sheva, Papadopoulos argued that the U.S. should focus on its "stalwart allies" Israel, Greece, and Cyprus to "contain the newly emergent Russian fleet"; in another, published in Ha'aretz, he contended that Israel should exploit its natural gas resources in partnership with Cyprus and Greece rather than Turkey.[12] He directed an international energy center at the London Centre of International Law Practice.[13]

In September of 2015 Papadopoulos left the Hudson Institute and joined Energy Stream, a London energy consultancy, as an oil and gas consultant for four months before joining Ben Carson's Presidential campaign.[14]

Beginning in December 2015, Papadopoulos served on the National Security and Foreign Policy Advisory Committee for Ben Carson's campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.[15] He left the Carson campaign in February 2016.[6] Following his indictment, he was described by HuffPost as "a little-known, little-qualified 30-year-old."[16][17]

Involvement in Donald Trump's presidential campaign[edit]

In late 2015, Papadopoulos sent his resumé to the Ben Carson presidential campaign, which hired him as a foreign policy adviser for three months, December 2015 through February 2016.[18] According to court records, Papadopoulos joined Trump's foreign policy adviser team as a volunteer adviser in early March 2016. Sam Clovis, who at the time was national co-chairman of Donald Trump's campaign team, approved him as an adviser. In his campaign job interview on March 6, Clovis allegedly told Papadopoulos that one of the campaign's foreign policy priorities was to improve U.S.-Russia relations, though Clovis later denied saying that.[19] Donald Trump announced Papadopoulos as one of his campaign's foreign policy advisers on March 21, 2016, in an interview with the editorial board of The Washington Post.[13] Trump, reading from a list, said: "He’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy".[6]

Employed at that time with the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP), Papadopoulos returned to London and, on March 14, 2016, was part of an LCILP visiting delegation to the Link Campus University in Rome. There he met Joseph Mifsud[20], who was at the time a teacher at the University of Stirling in Scotland; Mifsud, who was born in Malta, had connections to high-ranking Russian officials.[21][22] On March 24, Papadopoulos met with Mifsud in London, who brought along with him a Russian woman, Olga Polonskaya, whom Mifsud falsely identified as Putin's niece.[23][24] On April 26, at a breakfast meeting at the Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had information that the Russians have "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails.[25][26] (In September 2018, a court filing said that Mifsud was "missing", had not been heard from in months, and "may be deceased".[22])

From March to August 2016, Papadopoulos "was identified as having contacts with senior members of the Trump campaign on at least a dozen occasions."[27] Papadopoulos's wife, then his fiancée, said in 2017 that his job in the campaign was to set up meetings with foreign leaders and that he had been in regular contact with high-ranking campaign officials.[28] Papadopoulos sent emails concerning meeting with Putin to at least seven campaign officials. Clovis, as Trump national campaign co-chairman, encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia to meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, after Papadopoulos had been told that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton it wanted to share with Trump's campaign.[29][30][31][32] This occurred after public knowledge that Clinton had deleted thousands of her emails, but before there was public knowledge of the hack of Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta's emails, the latter two of which U.S. intelligence agencies believe were carried out by Russia.[33]

On or about May 10, 2016, at London’s Kensington Wine Rooms, Papadopoulos told the top Australian diplomat to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, that Russia was in possession of emails relating to Clinton. In July, after the DNC hacking had become known, the Australians told U.S. authorities about Papadopoulos's comment, leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Donald Trump presidential campaign on July 31, 2016.[24][34]

Papadopoulos later said that he had told the Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, during a meeting in late May 2016, that the Russians had Clinton-related emails. He said his "biggest regret" was not immediately reporting Mifsud's comment to U.S. intelligence, and the "stupidest thing I did was actually gossiping about it with foreign diplomats".[35][36]

Between March and September 2016, Papadopoulos made at least six requests for Trump or representatives of his campaign to meet in Russia with Russian politicians. In May, campaign chairman Paul Manafort forwarded one such request to his deputy Rick Gates, saying "We need someone to communicate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be someone low-level in the campaign so as not to send any signal." Gates delegated the task to the campaign's correspondence coordinator, referring to him as "the person responding to all mail of non-importance."[30][37][38]

In an interview about Russia–United States relations with Interfax in September 2016, Papadopoulos said that Barack Obama had failed to follow through on his promises to cooperate with Russia, and asserted that the U.S. had made insufficient joint efforts with Russia against terrorism.[39] As foreign policy adviser during Trump's campaign, Papadopoulos helped set up a New York meeting between Trump and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian president.[24] On January 20, 2017, just hours before Trump was going to be inaugurated, Papadopoulos and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.[40] On January 22, 2017, shortly following Trump's inauguration as President, Papadopoulos met with the head of Israel's Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, in Washington D.C. Papadopoulos was reported to have communicated to Dagan the Trump administration's desire to work closely with Israel on the question of Israel’s West Bank settlements.[41] [12][42]

Senator Richard Burr, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, said in October 2017 that the panel was interested in Papadopoulos because he had sent e-mails attempting to set up meetings between Trump and Putin.[43] The recipients of emails about outreach to the Russian government reportedly were Clovis, Corey Lewandowski, Manafort, Gates, representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ivan Timofeev, and others.[29]

In 2018 his wife predicted that Papadopoulos's role in the Russia investigation would be similar to that of John Dean of the Watergate scandal.[44] Democrats on the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence later arranged for her to testify before the committee, but the plans fell through when the Republican majority refused to reimburse her for travel expenses from Chicago.[45]

Arrest and guilty plea[edit]

The Statement of Facts of Guilt, filed October 5, 2017, and unsealed October 30, 2017, showing the facts admitted by Papadopoulos as part of his guilty plea

Papadopoulos was interrogated by FBI agents on January 27, 2017, regarding any Trump campaign connections with Russia. After the interrogation, Papadopoulos deactivated his Facebook account, which contained correspondences with Russians, and created a new account.[46] Papadopoulos was arrested at Washington-Dulles International Airport on July 27, 2017, and detained overnight for his arraignment the following day. He has since been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation.[31]

On October 5, 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to making false statements to FBI agents relating to contacts he had with agents of the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign.[47][48] The guilty plea was part of a plea bargain reflecting his cooperation with the Mueller investigation.[31] Papadopoulos's arrest and guilty plea became public on October 30, 2017, when court documents showing the guilty plea were unsealed.[49] Following his guilty plea, Trump described Papadopoulos as a "young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar" and said few people in his campaign had heard about Papadopoulos.[50][51] FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, among others, noted that during the campaign, Trump named Papadopoulos as one of his five foreign policy advisers—alongside Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, Walid Phares and Joseph Schmitz—and described Papadopoulos as an "excellent guy".[52][53][27][54]

In a sentencing memorandum released on August 17, 2018, prosecutors stated that a sentence of zero to six months was "appropriate and warranted," noting that Papadopoulos had repeatedly lied to investigators and did not provide "substantial assistance" to the investigation,[55] and that his lies had interfered with the investigators' ability to question and if necessary detain Joseph Mifsud, who left the United States two weeks after Papadopoulos's first interview with the FBI.[56] On September 7, 2018, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison, 12 months of supervised release, and 200 hours of community service;[57] he was also fined $9,500.[56]

Personal life[edit]

As of October 2017, Papadopoulos had lived for the past few years with his mother and brother in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.[1] He married Simona Mangiante, an Italian lawyer who used to work for the European Parliament, in March 2018.[58][59] He had met her through Mifsud. During the months between his guilty plea and his sentencing, she became his public spokeswoman.[60] In a September 9 interview on This Week, she said she understands why the FBI was suspicious of her because her international background might have been considered a "red flag". She commented, "I always said I respect Mueller’s interest in my profile because clearly it’s quite alarming, the fact that I marry George Papadopoulos in the middle of this storm." George Papadopoulos said that even his family had been concerned that she might be "some sort of Russian spy," a concern he dismissed.[60]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sweet, Lynn; Mihalopoulos, Dan; Seidel, Jon (October 30, 2017). "Chicagoan's path from Trump campaign to conviction to cooperation". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Meisner, Jason; O'Connell, Patrick M. (November 7, 2017). "Week after bombshell, George Papadopoulos largely remains a mystery man". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ Viswanatha, Aruna (2018-09-07). "Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Sentenced to 14 Days In Prison". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  4. ^ Heath, Brad (September 7, 2018). "Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos gets two-week prison sentence for lying to FBI about Russian election 'dirt'". USA TODAY. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Who is former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos?". USA Today. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Edwards, Haley Sweetland (October 30, 2017). "The Short, Happy Political Career of George Papdopoulos". Time. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Kokkinidis, Tasos (October 31, 2017). "George Papadopoulos: The Greek-American Who Wanted Attention". Greek USA Reporter.
  8. ^ Skiba, Katherine (October 30, 2017). "Former Trump campaign adviser, DePaul alum from Chicago pleads guilty to lying to FBI". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "LinkedIn: George Papadopoulos".
  10. ^ De Young, Karen (April 15, 2016). "GOP foreign policy elites don't know whether they'll serve if Trump is president". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Herb, Jeremy; Cohen, Marshall (October 30, 2017). "Who is George Papadopoulos?". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Tibon, Amir; Sommer, Alison Kaplan (October 30, 2017). "Trump Campaign Adviser Who Pled Guilty to Lying to FBI Has Surprising Ties to Israeli Settlers". Haaretz. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Ryan, Missy; Mufson, Steven (March 22, 2016). "One of Trump's foreign policy advisers is a 2009 college grad who lists Model UN as a credential". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  14. ^ NBC News, "Who Is George Papadopoulos? Energy Expert and Junior Trump Staffer Sought to Be Russia Power Broker by Alex Johnson," Oct.30.2017, Updated Oct.31.2017. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/who-george-papadopoulos-energy-expert-junior-trump-staffer-sought-be-n815826
  15. ^ "Dr. Ben Carson Announces Foreign Policy Advisers" (Press release). The American Presidency Project. December 8, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  16. ^ Reilly, Ryan J.; Terkel, Amanda (October 30, 2017). "Robert Mueller Flipped A Trump Campaign Adviser. That's Bad News For The White House". HuffPost.
  17. ^ Wichter, Zach (October 31, 2017). "He's George Papadopoulos, Just Not That George Papadopoulos". The New York Times.
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  20. ^ Smith, Lee. "The Maltese Phantom of Russiagate", Real Clear Investiagations, May 30, 2018
  21. ^ Kutner, Max (October 31, 2017). "Who is Joseph Mifsud, the professor in the George Papadopoulos investigation?". Newsweek. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Hodge, Mark (September 9, 2018). "Professor accused of being link between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin 'missing and may be DEAD'". The Sun. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  23. ^ Herb, Jeremy; Cohen, Marshall. "Who is George Papadopoulos?". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c LaFraniere, Sharon; Mazzetti, Mark; Apuzzo, Matt (December 30, 2017). "How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  25. ^ Sweeney, John; Bowen, Innes (March 21, 2018). "Joseph Mifsud: The mystery professor behind Trump Russia inquiry". BBC News. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
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  27. ^ a b Robert Farley & Eugene Kiely (October 31, 2017). "Was Papadopoulos a 'Low-Level Volunteer'?". FactCheck.org. Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  28. ^ "Fiancée of Trump campaign official who lied to FBI says he was 'constantly in touch' with top Trump officials". Business Insider.
  29. ^ a b Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 30, 2017). "Who's who in the George Papadopoulos court documents". The Washington Post.
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  34. ^ Wroe, David (January 2, 2018). "Joe Hockey discussed Alexander Downer's Russia revelations with FBI". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
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  36. ^ "Papadopoulos Told Kotzias that the Russians Had Hillary's Emails". The National Herald. September 12, 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
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  39. ^ Baygarova, Ksenia (September 30, 2016). "George Papadopoulos: Sanctions have done little more than to turn Russia towards China". Interfax. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
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  44. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (January 22, 2018). "George Papadopoulos is the 'John Dean' of the Russia investigation, his fiancee says". The Washington Post.
  45. ^ Cheney, Kyle (July 11, 2018). "Papadopoulos' wife won't testify before House Intelligence members". Politico.
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  47. ^ "Plea Offer and Defendant's Acceptance". United States v. George Papadopoulos. United States Department of Justice. October 5, 2017.
  48. ^ "Statement of Facts of Guilt". United States v. George Papadopoulos. United States Department of Justice. October 5, 2017.
  49. ^ Tanfani, Joseph (October 30, 2017). "Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to the FBI agents in Mueller probe". Los Angeles Times.
  50. ^ Peter Baker (October 31, 2017). "Trump Belittles George Papadopoulos as 'Low Level' Adviser". New York Times.
  51. ^ Landers, Elizabeth (October 31, 2017). "Trump dismisses Papadopoulos as 'low-level volunteer' but once touted him". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  52. ^ Louis Jacobson (October 31, 2017). "Was George Papadopoulos just a 'volunteer'?". PolitiFact.
  53. ^ Louis Jacobson (October 30, 2017). "How important was George Papadopoulos on Donald Trump's foreign-policy team?". PolitiFact.
  54. ^ Merica, Dan (October 30, 2017). "Fact-checking Sarah Sanders' post-indictment briefing". CNN.
  55. ^ "Document: George Papadopoulos Sentencing Memo". August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  56. ^ a b Hsu, Spencer; Helderman, Rosalind S. (September 7, 2018). "Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in plea deal with Mueller probe". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  57. ^ "Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos gets 14 days in jail". Washington Examiner.
  58. ^ Stephanopoulos, George; Mosk, Matthew (2018-03-05). "Russia Investigation Romance: Key witness George Papadopoulos marries Italian lawyer". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  59. ^ Janssen, Kim. "Mueller witness George Papadopoulos weds Italian sweetheart at Chicago's City Hall". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  60. ^ a b Hadar, Roey (September 9, 2018). "Papadopoulos's wife acknowledges that special counsel team suspected her of being a Russian spy". ABC News. Retrieved 10 September 2018.

External links[edit]