Papadopoulos Suggests He Was Setup by the FBI: ‘It’s Not What You Think It Is’
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy aide to President Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign who the first to be charged in the Russia probe, claimed Thursday he was set up by the FBI to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Papadopoulos said there was a lot about his case that the public did not know, and that he only found out after the fact.
The young former Trump aide said he was “threatened with a charge of acting as an agent of the Israeli government for obstruction of justice” after a man named Joseph Mifsud, who was allegedly connected to the Russian government, had contacted him in 2016 with dirt on Trump’s then-opponent, Hillary Clinton. Following Papadopoulos’ arrest, Mifsud went missing. He has yet to be found.
Papadopoulos said he found out eight months after pleading guilty that Mifsud’s lawyer had publicly said Mifsud had been working for the FBI and the intelligence community.
“Essentially looking back, it was a mistake to plead guilty,” he said. “I pled guilty and I served my time. That was actually part of the process that was corrupted in my situation.”
Tur asked him to confirm that he believes he was directly set up by the FBI and Western intelligence agencies, to which he answered in the affirmative.
Tur asked Papadopoulos why he had lied about his meeting with Mifsud. Papadopoulos said he did tell what he knew about Mifsud in his initial meeting with the FBI, but that “moving forward,” they didn’t seem interested in Mifsud. Rather, he said, the FBI was more interested in what they claimed was his involvement with the Israeli government.
“The situation was very chaotic, it’s not what you think it is and it took me really six months to get pen to paper and really get my story out there because no one actually understands why I was involved in the Mueller probe to with,” he said. “It had absolutely nothing to do with Russia and it had a lot to do with my involvement, or alleged involvement, with the Israeli government.”
The MSNBC anchor asked Papadopoulos why, if there was no Russian collusion, were others on the Trump campaign charged for obstructing justice. She also asked why, if Trump was not colluding with the Russian government, did he talk so highly of the Russians and try to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Papadopoulos said he doesn’t know about the other individuals’ cases in detail, nor about the President’s personal business, but that he knew Trump’s relationship with the Russians was a diplomatic effort to gain leverage over China.
“I have no reason to believe that Russia didn’t try and interfere with the 2016 election, but I also do believe that many other governments tried to as well,” said Papadopoulos. “Look, any presidential campaign of the election season is the most highly watched event around the world. Obviously, both allies and foes are going to try to interfere.”
He concluded, “If Russia is just obviously the high topic and we are going to focus on them, we should. If they did interfere, they should be punished. But I think we should also look at other facts as well.”
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