- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2017

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was trying to do what the Democratic-financed dossier writer also wanted: Dirt on the other candidate.

And they both worked out of London and looked east, to Moscow.

Mr. Papadopoulos, 30, an unpaid low-level adviser, was in contact with a Kremlin-connected professor in March-April 2016 who promised dirt on then-candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller released Monday.

That same year, the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign financed British ex-spy Christopher Steele. He used the money to buy dirt from Kremlin sources on then-candidate Donald Trump and his aides

Mr. Steele produced a 35-page unverified dossier filled with charges of lawbreaking and collusion against Mr. Trump and his people. Some of his charges made their way into the election debate via the Clinton campaign and the news media. Since then, Mr. Steele’s work has been cited by Democrats and liberal pundits to pound the White House.

Mr. Mueller disclosed that Mr. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to a charge of lying to an FBI agent about his Russia contacts. He has agreed to cooperate with the government in the investigation into any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.

Mr. Mueller filed a “statement of offense” that does not say that Mr. Papadopoulos ever obtained any dirt on Mrs. Clinton.

The filing shows that Mr. Papadopoulos was trying to burnish his credentials with the campaign at Trump Towers by connecting with Russians and trying to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a candidate, Mr. Trump had talked about wanting to improve relations with Moscow.

The filing says Mr. Papadopoulos met with a female Russian national on March 24, 2016, the same month he learned he had become a campaign adviser. He believed she had connections with Russian government and could arrange a meeting with the Trump campaign.

That same month, Mr. Papadopoulos while traveling in Italy met an unnamed professor with links to the Kremlin.

In April, he met with the professor for breakfast at a London hotel. The professor told him he had just returned from Moscow, where operatives told him they had “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton.

“They have thousands” of her emails, the professor said.

It is unclear from the filing what the professor was referring to — the emails stolen via hacks into Democratic Party computers by Russian operatives, or the widely-reported 30,000 missing emails that Mrs. Clinton wiped from the private server and account she had used for government business as secretary of state. Nor does the filing say whether it’s known that the professor actually possessed any emails at all.

Mr. Papadopoulos wrote an email to a supervisor that he was working “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S. Russia ties under President Trump.”

That same month, he traveled to Washington and attended a national security meeting that included Mr. Trump. Mr. Papadopoulos told the candidate and his men he had connections in Russia and could help arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.

In April, the professor introduced Mr. Papadopoulos to a person in Moscow to try to arrange a Trump meeting.

During this time, Mr. Papadopoulos kept a supervisor in New York up to date.

No Trump-Putin meeting happened from these channels during the campaign, the Mueller filing notes.

It appears that the Papadopoulos emails quoted in the Mueller filing were all turned over to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. One of those emails showed that then-campaign manager Paul Manafort shot down the idea of a Russia meeting.

Former Trump campaign officials dismissed Mr. Papadopoulos as someone freelancing without campaign authorization.

“I was surprised to learn today what George Papadopoulos was up to during the campaign,” said J.D. Gordon, a Trump campaign national security adviser who worked under then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is now the attorney general

“He obviously went to great lengths to go around me and [Sen.] Sessions,” Mr. Gordon told The Washington Times. “Presidential campaigns are like that. I have been senior staff, senior advisers on three. Very hard to know what every single person is doing, especially since some folks deliberately go around the chain of command or circumvent it. George Papadopoulos obviously represents an extreme case.”

The Mueller filing said that Mr. Papadopoulos was arrested last July on his arrival at Dulles International Airport. Since then, the former adviser “met with the government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions,” the document says.

The document does not disclose the information provided by Mr. Papadopoulos to Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors.

Mr. Papadopoulos is not mentioned in the Steele dossier on Mr. Trump, though it does accuse Trump people of working hand-in-hand with Russian intelligence to hack into Democratic Party computers.

The people named by Mr. Steele deny the charges and call the dossier fiction. A source close to the congressional inquiry told The Times that none of Mr. Steele’s Russia-Trump charges has been verified.

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