Threat Management, Threat Intelligence

Trump ex-aide pleads guilty to lying about meeting with Russians to get ‘dirt’ in hacked Clinton emails

While Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election has led to indictments of former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and former Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates for crimes against the U.S. and money laundering, Mueller announced that the campaign's former foreign adviser George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty October 5 to lying about his efforts to facilitate communications between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, in part to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton allegedly from hacked emails - months before it became public that Clinton campaign officials and the Democratic National Committee had been hacked. 

Papadopoulos, 30, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Court documents show that he communicated in the campaign, writing in an email to a more senior adviser in April 2016, “The Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.”

That adviser passed the missive along to another person affiliated with the campaign for further discussion. “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips,” the email read. “It should be someone low-level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

Papadopoulos, who was arrested in July after investigators conducted a no-knock search of Manafort's home, had been in touch with a London-based professor with ties to Russian government who claimed to have a raft of Clinton's emails and could deliver “dirt” to the Trump campaign.

The campaign foreign policy adviser then began correspondence with a Russian woman who had attended the meeting with the professor – less than two weeks after the initial meeting he attended what was termed a national security meeting with Trump and other members of the campaign, court documents show.

“Trump campaign was notified Russians had stolen emails as early as April 2016. May explain why they were eager to take Trump Tower meeting,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted Monday, referring to the controversial 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer attended by Manafort and Jared Kushner.

Despite claims by the Russian lawyer that she acted independently when met with the younger Trump to peddle dirt on Clinton, she reportedly discussed the potentially damaging information with Russia's prosecutor general Yuri Y. Chaika.

The merits of the Papadopoulos case, posted here by NBC News, “directly relate to the issue of collusion,” Schiff said in a statement, saying the facts “set out what appears to be a classic Russian intelligence operation” that established a relationship between Papadopoulos and Russian operatives.

“Of key significance is that in late April of 2016 one of Papadopoulos's Russian contacts informed Papadopoulos that the Russians possessed ‘thousands' of stolen Clinton emails and other ‘dirt' on Clinton,” Schiff said. “That conversation took place before the American people were even aware that emails had in fact been stolen by the Russian government from both Clinton campaign officials as well as the Democratic National Committee.”

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