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Trump Campaign Adviser Admits to Bombshell Russia Dealings in Guilty Plea, Cooperating With Mueller

A top Trump campaign adviser pleaded guilty in special counsel Bob Mueller’s Russia investigation and may be helping the Department of Justice build their case against his former boss, The New York Times reports.

“The plea represents the most explicit evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government’s meddling in last year’s elections,” The Times’ Matt Apuzzo reports.

George Papadoupoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump beginning in the early days of the 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian government-linked officials.

A professor with close ties to the Kremlin told Papadoupoulos that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails” and the adviser repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting between the campaign and Russian government officials.

In January, Papadopoulos told the FBI it was a “nothing,” but later admitted he knew the professor had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.”

Court documents show that Papadopoulos told a “campaign supervisor” about his attempts to set up the meeting, to which the unnamed supervisor replied, “Great work.”

He also told the supervisor that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton.

Papadopoulos repeatedly lied about all of this to the FBI, according to prosecutors.

“Through his false statements and omissions, defendant … impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors wrote.

Though his guilty plea was only unsealed Monday, Papadopoulos was arrested in July and pleaded guilty on October 5.

His plea agreement is predicated on the condition that he cooperate with the Mueller investigation, which the documents say he is, suggesting he may be helping investigators build a case against his former boss.

The plea was unsealed on the same day as Mueller revealed the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top aide, Rick Gates.

Both men surrendered to the FBI Monday morning on charges unrelated to their work for the Trump campaign, CNN reports.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates includes 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to register as a foreign agent and making false statements under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act, and seven counts of failing to report foreign accounts.

The charges do not include his work on the campaign, though it’s possible Mueller could add further charges.

It’s also possible that Mueller will use the indictment against Manafort and Gates to try and flip them in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia. Mueller has already shown a willingness to agree to plea deals for cooperation in the case of Papadopoulos and no one in Trump’s orbit had more ties to Kremlin-associated oligarchs than Manafort, who previously worked as an adviser to Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Trump took to Twitter in an attempt to distance himself from the man who ran his campaign, while insisting that the Democrats should be the focus of the investigation.

“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweeted, before the Papadopoulos plea was revealed.

“Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” he added.

While Trump could brush away the Manafort case as unrelated to his campaign, the Papadopoulos guilty plea is directly related to his work for the campaign.

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