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Ex-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos disavows Mueller plea deal

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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).

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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.”

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In July 2016, WikiLeaks published a trove of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, one in a series of operations that U.S. 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.

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Australian officials passed that information to their U.S. 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.

Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Leslie Adler

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Most Republican voters admit to feeling ‘embarrassed’ and ‘exhausted’ by Trump’s comments

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Some diehard supporters of President Donald Trump have asserted that they admire the fact that he is so unapologetic about his rhetoric and his actions. But according to a new Pew Research survey, most Republican or Republican-leaning voters admit that they sometimes feel “embarrassed” or “concerned” about things that Trump says.

According to Pew, 53% of Republican or Republican-leaning voters say they sometimes feel “embarrassed” by Trump’s comments — while 59% are sometimes “concerned” by them. Some of the adjectives Pew ran by GOP or GOP-leaning voters were even stronger, including “angry,” “exhausted” and “frightened.”

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Facebook moderator died from heart attack on the job — and managers were ordered not to tell employees: report

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A Facebook moderator died of a heart attack last while on the job for the social media giant, according to a new report detailing miserable working conditions for the company's employees.

Keith Utley, a former Coast Guard lieutenant commander, was working an overnight shift at Facebook's moderator site in Tampa, Florida, when co-workers noticed him slump out of his chair, reported The Verge.

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2020 Election

Biden tells billionaires that things wouldn’t change under his administration

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Don't worry, billionaires: your standard of living won't change under a Joe Biden administration.

That's the message the Democratic frontrunner delivered to donors Tuesday as he continued a fundraising trip in New York that saw him on Monday tell a room of wealthy Wall Streeters "you guys are great" and ask a Trump-loving supermarket magnate for support.

In Biden's comments Tuesday, the former vice president told a room of 100 of the New York financial elite, including bankers Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, both of whom worked in the Treasury Department under Democratic administrations, that he wasn't their enemy. According to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden took pains to separate himself from the rest of the field in his comments.

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