A former Trump campaign advisor lied to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia less than a week after Inauguration Day.
George Papadopoulos, a volunteer foreign policy advisor, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to lying to federal authorities in exchange for his testimony, although the agreement wasn’t announced until after indictments were unsealed against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
The special counsel’s probe determined Papadopoulos lied when he told FBI agents during a Jan. 27 interview that he learned from Russians about stolen emails involving Hillary Clinton.
But, in fact, his Kremlin contact took interest in Papadopoulos only after he joined the Trump campaign.
That initial meeting, when FBI agents asked about his contacts with Russia, came the same day President Donald Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey for his loyalty.
Trump summoned the FBI director to the White House for a private dinner Jan. 27, some hours after his former foreign policy advisor spoke to agents.
Comey told associates about the meeting, which troubled him, after the president abruptly fired him May 8.
The FBI director promised Trump his honesty, but the president pressed him to assure his “honest loyalty” — which Comey refused to grant.
Comey later told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he hoped the White House had recorded the conversation.
Papadopoulos served on a foreign policy advisory committee overseen by then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was forced to recuse himself from the Justice Department probe of campaign ties to Russia after he was caught making misleading statements about meeting with Russians during the campaign.
The Sessions recusal and Comey firing set into motion a chain of events that led to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointing special counsel Robert Mueller.
Papadopoulos was arrested July 27, the day after FBI agents conducted a pre-dawn raid of Manafort’s home.