One of the biggest surprises in the string of indictments and convictions that have stemmed from the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia was that campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, who wasn’t exactly a household name, was revealed to have pled guilty to charges of lying to the FBI in secret proceedings and had, in all likelihood, been working with the Mueller investigation for several months. Papadopoulos, however, was written off by the Trump administration, including Trump himself, as a low-level intern. His fiancee has come forward to argue his role was fairly important.
The Trump campaign’s narrative was always odd, considering Papadopoulos was young but not unqualified for an advisor role. He’d served as such for Ben Carson before joining the Trump campaign, worked for conservative think-tank the Hudson Institute, has a master’s degree from the University of London, and headed up the energy policy division of a London think-tank as well. Certainly if he only did get coffee, it wouldn’t be the first time a political campaign wasted the talents of its staff, but it’d be an unusually glaring example.
Papadopoulos’ fiancee Simona Mangiante, however, claims his job was to broker meetings. Speaking to ABC News, she laid out the work she observed he was doing for the campaign:
Mangiante said Papadopoulos “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for senior campaign officials. He was “constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign,” she added. That included direct communication with now-former senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, Mangiante said, adding that she had seen correspondence supporting the assertion.
Mangiante claims that the problems for Papadopoulos all start with one Joseph Mifsud, the professor Papadopoulos had told the FBI he’d never met. Lying about that contact was what landed Papadopoulos in court, and Mifsud, who supposedly claimed he had access to incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton before denying that to the Daily Telegraph, has since disappeared. Mifsud apparently cultivated Papadopoulos as a contact to try and get at more senior members of the Trump campaign.
Where does the truth lie, exactly? Good question. Mangiante claims to have proof of what she’s stating, but that she’s been advised by lawyers not to give it to reporters. So, likely only lawyers will know for sure for quite a while. But there is one point worth remembering: There’s a lot more proof out there for what Mangiante is claiming, from Mifsud’s own words to the statements of foreign governments, than there is for claims that Papadopoulos only hit up Starbucks.
(via ABC News)