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Dec 30 2017

Negative Press Covfefe

Despite Misadministration insistence that George Papadopoulos was little more than an unpaid intern delegated to fetch coffee and other menial tasks, The New York Times today reveals, in a story sourced by “four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge” (none of them named), he really played a much more influential role than that.

How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt
By SHARON LaFRANIERE, MARK MAZZETTI and MATT APUZZO, The New York Times
DEC. 30, 2017

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?

It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.

Interviews and previously undisclosed documents show that Mr. Papadopoulos played a critical role in this drama and reveal a Russian operation that was more aggressive and widespread than previously known. They add to an emerging portrait, gradually filled in over the past year in revelations by federal investigators, journalists and lawmakers, of Russians with government contacts trying to establish secret channels at various levels of the Trump campaign.

When Mr. Trump’s foreign policy team gathered for the first time at the end of March in Washington, Mr. Papadopoulos said he had the contacts to set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. Mr. Trump listened intently but apparently deferred to Jeff Sessions, then a senator from Alabama and head of the campaign’s foreign policy team, according to participants in the meeting.

Mr. Sessions, now the attorney general, initially did not reveal that discussion to Congress, because, he has said, he did not recall it. More recently, he said he pushed back against Mr. Papadopoulos’s proposal, at least partly because he did not want someone so unqualified to represent the campaign on such a sensitive matter.

Once the information Mr. Papadopoulos had disclosed to the Australian diplomat reached the F.B.I., the bureau opened an investigation that became one of its most closely guarded secrets. Senior agents did not discuss it at the daily morning briefing, a classified setting where officials normally speak freely about highly sensitive operations.

Besides the information from the Australians, the investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch. A trip to Moscow by another adviser, Carter Page, also raised concerns at the F.B.I.

With so many strands coming in — about Mr. Papadopoulos, Mr. Page, the hackers and more — F.B.I. agents debated how aggressively to investigate the campaign’s Russia ties, according to current and former officials familiar with the debate. Issuing subpoenas or questioning people, for example, could cause the investigation to burst into public view in the final months of a presidential campaign.

It could also tip off the Russian government, which might try to cover its tracks. Some officials argued against taking such disruptive steps, especially since the F.B.I. would not be able to unravel the case before the election.

Others believed that the possibility of a compromised presidential campaign was so serious that it warranted the most thorough, aggressive tactics. Even if the odds against a Trump presidency were long, these agents argued, it was prudent to take every precaution.

Why is this so interesting, besides the salacious details?

Well, it puts the lie to the assertions that Papadopoulos was unimportant and insignificant and that “The Steele Dossier” (or as some of us put it, “The Piss Papers”) was the starting point of the F.B.I investigation of the Trump Campaign that ultimately resulted in The Donald’s firing of James Comey and confession on National Television that he was deliberately Obstructing Justice when he did it.

Let’s not forget that Papadopoulos is now a co-operating witness and that his sponsor in the Trump Campaign was Sam Clovis who was National Co-Chairman from August of 2015 right up until the election in November 2016, 16 months. Clovis was also nominated as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics but had to withdraw both because he is supremely unqualified for the position and he was called to testify before the Special Prosecutor and his Grand Jury.

Think he’s getting an indictment or will flip for a plea deal? I do.

The other person deeply implicated by this information is our old friend Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, currently the Attorney General.

When Mr. Trump’s foreign policy team gathered for the first time at the end of March in Washington, Mr. Papadopoulos said he had the contacts to set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. Mr. Trump listened intently but apparently deferred to Jeff Sessions, then a senator from Alabama and head of the campaign’s foreign policy team, according to participants in the meeting.

Mr. Sessions, now the attorney general, initially did not reveal that discussion to Congress, because, he has said, he did not recall it. More recently, he said he pushed back against Mr. Papadopoulos’s proposal, at least partly because he did not want someone so unqualified to represent the campaign on such a sensitive matter.

If the campaign wanted Mr. Papadopoulos to stand down, previously undisclosed emails obtained by The Times show that he either did not get the message or failed to heed it. He continued for months to try to arrange some kind of meeting with Russian representatives, keeping senior campaign advisers abreast of his efforts.

Haven’t had an A.G. indicted since John Mitchell and they’re not immune. Mitchell went to jail.

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