George Papadopoulos speaks at the American Priority conference in Washington DC, US. File photo/Reuters
NEW YORK: George Papadopoulos, the first Trump campaign aide charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, disavowed his guilty plea in a book released on Tuesday, claiming he was unfairly pressured into cutting a deal.
Papadopoulos, who was plucked out of obscurity to work as a foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign, has become an increasingly vocal critic of Mueller’s Russia probe since completing a 12-day prison term in December.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to FBI agents about the timing and nature of his communications with a Maltese professor with ties to Russian government officials while working on the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos says Mueller’s team threatened that if he did not agree to the plea deal he would be charged for not registering as a foreign agent in relation to his dealings with an Israeli businessman who gave him $10,000 in cash.
“I was faced with a choice: accept the charges that I lied or face FARA charges,” he wrote in the book, “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.” “I made a deal. A deal forced on me.”
FARA refers to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
His claims could gather traction after Attorney General William Barr said on Sunday that Mueller’s team of investigators did not find evidence that Trump or his campaign conspired with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
“My story is part of a larger story. The story of Trump and the story of stopping Trump, or trying to,” the 31-year-old Papadopoulos wrote in his book. “The Trump presidency was the primary target of all this insanity.”
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.
Under his plea deal, Papadopoulos acknowledged that Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor, told him in April 2016 that Russia had “dirt” on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”
In July 2016, WikiLeaks published a trove of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, one in a series of operations that US intelligence agencies say were carried out by Russia and which roiled Clinton’s campaign.
Papadopoulos admitted he lied when he told the FBI that Mifsud had shared that information on the emails with him before he became an adviser to the Trump campaign.
Mifsud has denied discussing the emails with Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos also helped trigger an FBI counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign by telling an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, in May 2016 that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton.
Australian officials passed that information to their US counterparts two months later when the leaked Democratic emails appeared online.
In his book, Papadopoulos said his alleged lies to the FBI were unintentional, contradicting his plea agreement and his final statement to the judge in which he apologized for not being honest and for possibly hindering Mueller’s probe.
“Without consulting my calendar or my emails, I did not accurately remember the timeline of events,” he wrote in the book.
Even though Mueller’s findings on obstruction of justice were inconclusive, US Attorney General William Barr said in a summary released on Sunday that Mueller’s team had not found enough proof to warrant bringing charges against Trump.
Moscow would be happy to mend ties with Washington after a report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.
The top US law enforcement official could release as early as Saturday the main findings in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on his 22-month-long inquiry into Russia’s role
The 22nd edition of the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) this year is offering residents and visitors exciting events, sales, entertainment and offers on citywide attractions till Aug.3.
Aiming to provide a platform for aspiring and professional writers to hone their skills, Dubai Public Libraries of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) hosted a series of creative writing workshops. The workshops were held for five days and conducted in Arabic and English by local, regional, and international authors and professionals.
Collage Talent Centre at Sharjah Ladies Club is encouraging female artists and photographers from all around the UAE to showcase their photographs, paintings and digital artworks at the third edition of its Noon Arts Award themed “After the Rain.”
Sharjah Police are still searching for an Indian boy, 15, who has been missing from his parents’ home for 13 days now. The boy did not take any of his personal belongings and left home with only Dhs8 of his daily pocket money, according to the boy’s father.