Trump repeatedly denied publicly that there was any contact between his campaign and Russian officials.
“It’s all fake news,” Trump said of the allegations in January. “It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen.”
Papadopoulos, who had extensive contact with Kremlin-linked officials, did not want to contradict the president so he lied to the FBI, a source told ABC News.
He later admitted he lied to FBI agents and struck a plea deal with special counsel Bob Mueller’s prosecutors.
According to the court filings in the case, Papadopoulos first claimed that his contact with a professor with extensive ties to Russia had “occurred before” he joined the Trump campaign.
But the filings say, “In truth and in fact the professor only took interest in defendant Papadopoulos because of his status with the Campaign.”
His status in the campaign has also come into question after Trump downplayed his role, tweeting that “few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.”
But during the campaign, Papadopoulos repeatedly represented the campaign at a number of meetings and forums.
In April, he flew to Israel to give a speech at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, which was arranged by the former Israeli ambassador to Greece. In May he met the president of Greece on behalf of the campaign. In September, he met with officials at the British Foreign Office in London.
At Trump’s inauguration, Papadopoulos met with an Israeli delegation, telling them, “We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told ABC News that the campaign only seemed to try to distance themselves from Papadopoulos after he became a liability.
“You’re a senior foreign policy adviser until you do something that exposes the campaign,” Swalwell, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC. “It is certainly of deep interest to know whether the Russians were paying for any of Papadopoulos’s travel through Europe during his time with campaign.”
Papadopoulos lied to FBI in "an apparent case of blind loyalty to protect Donald Trump,” ABC News reports, and is “upset the man he tried to protect is now trying to distance himself.” https://t.co/yJ41X7QURP pic.twitter.com/IvPIImrRSd
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 10, 2017
Papadopoulos’ contacts with the Russia are also closely linked to that of fellow campaign foreign policy adviser, the very talkative Carter Page.
Page testified before the House Intelligence Committee last week that he had lied in multiple public statements that he never met with Russian officials during a trip to Moscow in July 2016.
Page wrote in a campaign memo after he returned that he had met with Arkadiy Dvorkovich, the deputy prime minister of Russia.
“In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems,” Page wrote.
Page admitted to meeting with Dvorkovich before the committee but in another email to campaign advisers, Page suggested he met with other senior Russian officials as well.
“I’ll send you guys a readout soon regarding some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential administration here,” Page wrote.
Well over a year since the contacts and the lies about the contacts began, we are only now learning about the extent to which Trump campaign officials went to try to work with Russia, despite the president’s repeated denials.