Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

Trump campaign adviser denied collusion to FBI source early on

George Papadopoulos says his admission to London-based professor Stefan Halper occurred well before the FBI and Obama DOJ sought a FISA warrant to collect Trump campaign communications.

The Duran

Published

on

739 Views

Article originally appeared on The Hill, authored by John Solomon:


Just weeks after the FBI opened a dramatic counterintelligence probe into President Trumpand Russia, one of his presidential campaign advisers emphatically told an undercover bureau source there was no election collusion occurring because such activity would be treasonous.

George Papadopoulos says his spontaneous admission to London-based professor Stefan Halper occurred in mid-September 2016 — well before FBI agents and the Obama Justice Department sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to collect Trump campaign communications in the final days before the election.

“He was there to probe me on the behest of somebody else,” Papadopoulos told me in an interview this week, recalling the Halper meeting. “He said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, it’s great that Russia is helping you and your campaign, right George?’ ”

Papadopoulos said Halper also suggested the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails that summer. “I think I told him something along the lines of, ‘I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. What you are talking about is treason. And I have nothing to do with that, so stop bothering me about it,’ ” Papadopoulos recalled.

The former campaign aide is set to testify behind closed doors Thursday before two House panels.

Sources who saw the FISA warrant and its three renewals tell me there is no mention of Papadopoulos’s denial, an omission of exculpatory evidence that GOP critics in Congress are likely to cite as having misled the court.

A source directly familiar with the Russia probe declined to discuss specifics of the Papadopoulos-Halper conversations but acknowledged the FBI possessed one or more transcripts that called into question the Trump campaign’s — and specifically Papadopoulos’s — alleged complicity with Russia.

The FBI officially opened the Trump-Russia case on July 31, 2016, based on suspicions that Papadopoulos had prior knowledge that Russia hacked Clinton’s emails, but it quickly pivoted by early fall 2016 to evidence such as the Democratic-funded dossier produced by Christopher Steele, and Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s trips to Moscow. The FISA warrant was drafted to target surveillance at Page but also cited Papadopoulos in a section that suggested Russia was coordinating election collusion through Page and “perhaps other individuals associated” with Trump’s campaign.

“The truth is, the Papadopoulos predicate went into reversal, but rather than shut down the probe at that point, the bureau turned to other leads like Steele and Page without giving the court a full picture,” one source said.

Some in Congress are bracing for the possibility that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might argue in his interview with lawmakers that the FBI did not have an obligation to disclose all exculpatory evidence to the FISA judges. Such an argument is contrary to how the court works, according to officials who prepare FISA warrants. The FBI is required to submit only verified information and to alert the court to any omissions of material fact that cast doubt on the supporting evidence, including any denials, these officials told me.

Papadopoulos said his discussions with Halper — identified this year by The Washington Post as an FBI informant in the Russia case — were among more than a half-dozen contacts that U.S. and Western intelligence figures initiated with Papadopoulos during the campaign.

Other contacts were initiated by Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials, an Australian intelligence agent, an Australian diplomat, an Israeli diplomat and British diplomats, Papadopoulos told me. At least one contact sought to offer him sex in return for information, he alleged.

Nearly all the contacts occurred in London, between April and October 2016, while Papadopoulos served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and after a different London professor, Joseph Mifsud, had told Papadopoulos the Russians planned to release thousands of emails from Clinton they possessed, Papadopoulos said.

Papadopoulos said he never asked Mifsud for the emails and did not act on his tip, though he told a few people about Mifsud’s claim. Papadopoulos eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing and content of his conversations with Mifsud; he was sentenced to 14 days in jail.

Once Mifsud conveyed the information to him, Papadopoulos began getting overtures from Western and U.S. intelligence.

In late April 2016, for example, two officials at the U.S. Embassy in London, who identified themselves as DIA officers, probed Papadopoulos for information about Trump and Russia.

“They were wining and dining me as if I were Marilyn Monroe,” Papadopoulos told me. “They said, ‘You are an individual, George, that has tons of contacts in Athens and you are a subject of interest.’ ”

He said the two intelligence officers then asked about Moscow: “They were trying to find out why Trump was willing to work with Russia. They were trying to act as if they were pro-working with Russia.”

Around the same time, he said, an Israeli diplomat who portrayed himself as friendly to the Obama State Department, and decidedly opposed to Trump, befriended him in London. The Israeli official questioned him about where Trump stood on Russia and Iran issues, and introduced Papadopoulos to a woman he identified as his girlfriend.

That woman, Papadopoulos said, apparently worked for Australian intelligence and set up a meeting for him at a London bar to meet the Australian ambassador to England, Alexander Downer.

It was at that May 10, 2016, meeting that the FBI alleges Papadopoulos told Downer he knew the Russians had thousands of Clinton emails they planned to release later in the campaign. That release occurred in July, after which Downer reported his Papadopoulos information to U.S. authorities.

Papadopoulos said he doesn’t remember telling Downer about the email claim but does remember making a passing reference a few weeks later when he met the Greek foreign minister. “He basically told me, ‘Where you are sitting now, Putin will be sitting there tomorrow.’ And I just had this nervous reaction and said, ‘Oh, hey, I heard this thing about emails.’ It was nothing else.”

Whatever the case, the uninvited overtures continued in London.

The most significant, in Papadopoulos’s mind, was in September 2016 when Halper invited him to London to write an academic paper for $3,000.

A former adviser to Republican Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, Halper was a respected professor at Cambridge University who frequented policy conferences deemed friendly to Western intelligence and diplomats. Two sources confirmed to me that the Washington Post article claiming Halper was a confidential human source who reached out to Papadopoulos at the FBI’s behest was true.

The sources said Halper reached out to other Trump campaign aides in the summer and fall of 2016, including Carter Page (who became the subject of the FISA warrant) and senior adviser Sam Clovis, though it is not clear if the FBI prodded him to do so. A spokesman for Cambridge and Halper did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Papadopoulos said when he arrived in London for his meeting with Halper, strange things began to happen, beginning with the young woman who served as a guide. “She was trying to seduce me and was trying to hint that, ‘I want to sleep with you but you have to give some information first,’ ” he recalled.

Papadopoulos said he rejected that overture and then got another unexpected invite, this time from the British foreign ministry. He said two diplomats quizzed him about Trump’s positions on Iran, Russia and Brexit, and arranged a follow-up meeting with a more senior British official back in the United States.

Then, Papadopoulos recalled, Halper set up a meeting at a swanky London club fancied by diplomats. The conversation started with Halper challenging Papadopoulos on some of his views on the Middle East, but quickly turned to Russia.

“He puts his phone out in front of him and right away I saw what he was doing: this guy is obviously recording me,” Papadopoulos recalled.

At one point, Halper asked him about the hacked Clinton emails and “if I was involved and if the campaign knew,” he recalled.

Papadopoulos said he again denied involvement. “‘That would be treason. I don’t know what you are talking about and I have nothing to do with Russia,’” he recalled saying.

Papadopoulos said he does not believe he ever told anyone in the Trump campaign about the Russia emails, though he did offer to broker a summit between Trump and Putin — an idea that never gained traction with campaign insiders.

Democrats doubt Papadopoulos’s story about the emails. “It just stretches, I think, most people’s credibility that if Papadopoulos had this knowledge and he wanted to try to further ingratiate himself with the campaign, that he wouldn’t have shared that with somebody on the campaign,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (Va.) said recently on CNN.

But some Republicans are convinced that Papadopoulos was targeted by a Western intelligence operation designed to discredit or infiltrate the Trump campaign, and that the Obama CIA may have played a role.

That suspicion is triggered by testimony that former CIA Director John Brennan gave to the House Intelligence Committee more than a year ago, when he acknowledged reaching out to the FBI in July 2016 to try to get an investigation started into Trump and Russia — even though he knew such an investigation was “well beyond my mandate” as CIA chief.

“I was worried about a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons” in the Trump campaign, Brennan testified.

Whether the half-dozen Papadopoulos overtures by Western intelligence officials were directed or assisted by the CIA, or were purely coincidental, one important concern lingers: If Papadopoulos is telling the truth, the FBI possessed a critical piece of exculpatory evidence by September 2016 that called into the question the legitimacy of its Trump-Russia collusion probe.

If the FBI did not disclose that evidence to the FISA court a month later when it sought the surveillance warrant, it likely committed a grave abuse that furthers the narrative that this probe was infected more by politics than evidence.

And those who signed the FISA warrants — including Rosenstein — have serious questions to answer.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

Published

on

Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending