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George Demetrios Papadopoulos[2] (born August 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 contacts he had with the Russian government in 2016 relating to U.S.–Russia relations and Trump's campaign.

George Papadopoulos
Papadopolous Mugshot.jpg
George Papadopoulos after he was arrested by the FBI at Dulles Airport
Born August 1987 (age 30)[1]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Residence Ravenswood, Chicago, Illinois
Citizenship United States of America
Education Niles West High School
Alma mater

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Papadopoulos was born in August 1987 at Swedish Covenant Hospital[1] in Chicago, Illinois,[3] to Greek immigrants[1][4] originally from Thessaloniki.[5] His father, Antonis was heavily involved in the local politics of the Greek-American community[5] and the former president of the Pan-Macedonian Union of the United States.[5] His mother, Kate, 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 degree; majored in political science from DePaul University in 2009.[2][6] He says he speaks Arabic, English, French and Greek.[3] He later went on to earn a MSc degree in security studies at the University College London.[2]

Early careerEdit

Papadopoulos was an unpaid intern at the Hudson Institute in 2011 and later worked as a contact research assistant to a senior fellow at the institute.[7]

He describes himself as an "oil, gas, and policy consultant" on his LinkedIn page.[8] 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.[9] He directs an international energy center at the London Center of International Law Practice.[10]

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.[11] He left the Carson campaign in February 2016.[4] Following his indictment, he was described by HuffPost as "a little-known, little-qualified 30-year-old."[12][13]

Involvement in Donald Trump's presidential campaignEdit

According to court records, Papadopoulos was recruited to join Trump's foreign policy advisor team in early March 2016 by a "campaign supervisor" later identified as Sam Clovis. In a meeting on March 6, the official reportedly told him that "a principal foreign policy focus of the campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia," but Clovis denies having said that.[14] Donald Trump identified Papadopoulos as one of his campaign's foreign policy advisors on March 21, 2016, in an interview with the editorial board of The Washington Post.[10] Trump said: "He’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy".[4] At the time he was living in London, where he was approached by Joseph Mifsud, a professor with connections to high-ranking Russian officials.[15] Mifsud was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.[16] Mifsud told him the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." The two met on March 14 and 21, 2016. At the March 21 meeting Mifsud brought along a Russian woman.[17]

Papadopoulos sent emails concerning 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 being told that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton it wanted to share with Trump's campaign.[18][19][20][21] This occurred before there was public knowledge of the hack of Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta's emails, both of which U.S. intelligence agencies believe were carried out by Russia.[22]

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."[19][23][24]

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.[25] 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.[26] Just after Trump became President, Papadopoulos visited Israel and told settlers in the West Bank that Trump supported their settlements.[9][27]

Senator Richard Burr, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which 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.[28] 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.[18]

Arrest and guilty pleaEdit

 
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

After being interviewed by FBI agents on January 27, 2017, Papadopoulos deactivated his Facebook account, which contained correspondences with Russians, and created a new one.[29] Papadopoulos was arrested at Washington-Dulles International Airport on July 27, 2017, and he has since been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation.[20] 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.[30][31] The guilty plea was part of a plea bargain reflecting his cooperation with the Mueller investigation.[20] Papadopoulos's arrest and guilty plea became public on October 30, 2017, when court documents showing the guilty plea were unsealed.[32]

Following his guilty plea, Trump belittled 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.[33][34] 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".[35][36][37][38] From March to August 2016, Papadopoulos "was identified as having contacts with senior members of the Trump campaign on at least a dozen occasions."[37] 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 settlements.[39]

Papadopoulos' fiancée told ABC News that his job on the campaign was to "set up meetings with leaders all over the world" for senior campaign officials. She said he was "constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign."[40]

Personal lifeEdit

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]

Further readingEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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 Meisner, Jason; O'Connell, Patrick M. (7 November 2017). "Week after bombshell, George Papadopoulos largely remains a mystery man". Chicago Tribune. 
  3. ^ a b "Who is former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos?". USA Today. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Edwards, Haley Sweetland (October 30, 2017). "The Short, Happy Political Career of George Papdopoulos". Time. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Kokkinidis, Tasos (31 October 2017). "George Papadopoulos: The Greek-American Who Wanted Attention". Greek USA Reporter. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Herb, Jeremy; Cohen, Marshall (October 30, 2017). "Who is George Papadopoulos?". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "Dr. Ben Carson Announces Foreign Policy Advisors" (Press release). The American Presidency Project. December 8, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  12. ^ Reilly, Ryan J.; Terkel, Amanda (October 30, 2017). "Robert Mueller Flipped A Trump Campaign Adviser. That's Bad News For The White House". HuffPost. 
  13. ^ Wichter, Zach (October 31, 2017). "He's George Papadopoulos, Just Not That George Papadopoulos". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ Lynch, Sarah N.; Hosenball, Mark (October 31, 2017). "Former Trump campaign adviser denies encouraging aide on Russia dealings". Reuters. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  15. ^ Kutner, Max (October 31, 2017). "Who is Joseph Mifsud, the professor in the George Papadopoulos investigation?". Newsweek. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  16. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (October 31, 2017). "The Professor Behind the Trump Campaign Adviser Charges". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  17. ^ Herb, Jeremy; Cohen, Marshall. "Who is George Papadopoulos?". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 30, 2017). "Who's who in the George Papadopoulos court documents". The Washington Post. 
  19. ^ a b Tom Winter and Tracy Connor (October 30, 2017). "Secret Guilty Plea of Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Reveals Russian Ties". NBC News. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b c Apuzzo, Matt; Schmidt, Michael S. (October 30, 2017). "Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian to Discuss 'Dirt' on Clinton". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ Apuzzo, Matt; Goldman, Adam; Schmidt, Michael S.; Rosenberg, Matthew (October 30, 2017). "Former Trump Aides Charged as Prosecutors Reveal New Campaign Ties With Russia". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  22. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (October 30, 2017). "Top campaign officials knew of Trump adviser's outreach to Russia". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  23. ^ Hamburger, Tom; Leonnig, Carol D.; Helderman, Rosalind S. (August 14, 2017). "Trump campaign emails show aide's repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  24. ^ Brennan, Christopher (August 14, 2017). "Trump campaign adviser made repeated attempts to set up meeting with Russia: report". Daily News. New York. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  25. ^ Baygarova, Ksenia (September 30, 2016). "George Papadopoulos: Sanctions have done little more than to turn Russia towards China". Interfax. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Kammenos 'confident of close cooperation' with Trump administration". Kathimerini. January 20, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  27. ^ Kutner, Max (August 14, 2017). "Who is George Papadopoulos, the Trump Campaign Adviser Who Suggested a Meeting with Russian Leaders?". Newsweek. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  28. ^ Silva, Christianna (October 20, 2017). "Russia Update: Senate investigators consider meeting with Trump campaign official, George Papadopoulos". Newsweek. Retrieved October 21, 2017. 
  29. ^ Glaser, April (October 30, 2017). "The Trump Campaign Adviser Who Pleaded Guilty Was Very Bad at Facebook". Slate. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Plea Offer and Defendant's Acceptance". United States v. George Papadopoulos. United States Department of Justice. October 5, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Statement of Facts of Guilt". United States v. George Papadopoulos. United States Department of Justice. October 5, 2017. 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ Peter Baker (October 31, 2017). "Trump Belittles George Papadopoulos as 'Low Level' Adviser". New York Times. 
  34. ^ Landers, Elizabeth (October 31, 2017). "Trump dismisses Papadopoulos as 'low-level volunteer' but once touted him". CNN. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  35. ^ Louis Jacobson (October 31, 2017). "Was George Papadopoulos just a 'volunteer'?". PolitiFact. 
  36. ^ Louis Jacobson (October 30, 2017). "How important was George Papadopoulos on Donald Trump's foreign-policy team?". PolitiFact. 
  37. ^ a b Robert Farley & Eugene Kiely (October 31, 2017). "Was Papadopoulos a 'Low-Level Volunteer'?". FactCheck.org. Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania. 
  38. ^ Merica, Dan (October 30, 2017). "Fact-checking Sarah Sanders' post-indictment briefing". CNN. 
  39. ^ "Trump advisor: 'We look forward to new ties with Judea and Samaria'". The Jerusalem Post. January 22, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Fiancée of Trump campaign official who lied to FBI says he was 'constantly in touch' with top Trump officials". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-08.