Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea in the Bob Mueller investigation suggests President Donald Trump’s eldest son may be in hot water.
Papadopoulos, 30, admitted trying to obtain “dirt” from Russian government-linked officials and later lied about it to investigators. Donald Trump Jr. was involved in similar attempts and meetings, and later changed his story multiple times before admitting he was pursuing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign early in the election cycle when the team was very small, meaning he communicated directly with the very top officials in the campaign.
Within three days of joining the campaign, he was contacted by a woman he believed was connected to “high-level Russian government officials,” according to the plea he signed.
The contact offered him “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails.
Papadopoulos initially told the FBI that he met the woman before joining the campaign but Mueller’s investigators discovered that he lied and had only been contacted after joining the campaign.
He was arrested on July 27, a day after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home was raided.
Manafort and his top deputy, Rick Gates, were indicted on twelve federal charges related to money laundering Monday.
While Trump Jr. has not been named in any of the court documents, Papadopoulos’ case suggests that investigators were on to Russia’s attempt to provide the campaign aid in the form of “dirt” since January. The court documents also show Papadopoulos routinely communicated about his efforts to obtain the dirt with “high level campaign officials.”
In one email on June 1, 2016, Papadopoulos referred to a “high-ranking campaign official” who referred him to a “campaign supervisor” that was “running point.”
On June 3, 2016, Trump Jr. received an email asking to set up a meeting with a “Russian government lawyer” who promised the campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
The June 9 meeting was also attended by Jared Kushner, and Manafort, who we know was one of the officials referred to in the Papadopoulos emails.
Emails show that Papadopoulos was trying to set up such a meeting since March of 2016 until at least August 2016.
Papadopoulos reportedly sent at least six emails for Trump or campaign officials to meet with Russian government officials.
The Trump team later issued a false statement about the nature of the meeting, before Trump Jr. admitted he was seeking “dirt,” as Papadopoulos was.
Trump Jr. was interviewed by a Congressional committee in September, prompting Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons to suggest the president’s eldest son broke the law by lying.
Trump Jr. reportedly told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his father did not know about the meeting but the Papadopoulos plea shows that everyone from Trump down knew about Russian attempts to give them “dirt” on Hillary.
With Papadopoulos cooperating with investigators and evidence of attempted collusion mounting, it’s increasingly likely that Trump’s family may soon be embroiled in legal drama – if not for colluding with Russia, then for lying about attempting to collude with Russia.