In the beginning of her hour on MSNBC Friday night, host Rachel Maddow pointed out that newly-sentenced Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos recanted a major aspect of the intelligence that led to the FBI investigating the Trump campaign.
Maddow noted that at the very end of 2017, the New York Times dropped a bombshell report, sourced from multiple intelligence officials, claiming that Papadopoulos' drunken admission of having "dirt" from Russians on Hillary Clinton to an Australian diplomat in the UK was the impetus for surveillance of the Trump campaign.
On the same day he was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to investigators, the New York Times released excerpts of an interview its reporters conducted with the onetime Trump campaign aide — and included quotes where he "recanted that central point."
"Today, for the first time, he said he at least doesn't remember" telling the Australian diplomat about Russian "dirt" on Clinton, Maddow said.
After denying that he was drunk and claiming he and diplomat Alexander Downer only had "one or two" drinks together, Papadopoulos said he didn't recall speaking about the topic.
"In interviews, Downer has said that — besides having one drink — he has said that you brought up the Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton," the Times' Mark Mazetti said to the former campaign aide in the transcript of the interview.
"I don’t remember talking about that with him at all," Papadopoulos responded.
When Mazetti pressed, he repeated the claim.
"Imagine, if you will, that George Papadopoulos is telling the truth here — that he honestly doesn't remember anything like that happening," the host said. "And it's not that he doesn't remember because has schnockered, he says he wasn't even drunk."
"If that's true, the whole story about how and why the FBI started investigating Russian interference and the Trump campaign potentially collaborating in it — that story no longer holds," Maddow concluded.
Watch below, via MSNBC: