Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to lying to the FBI in January about his meeting with a Russian professor. According to an unsealed court filing, the professor claimed links to the Russian government, and Papadopoulos talked with him to learn about “thousands of emails” as well as “dirt” on then-candidate Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos also met with a woman who falsely claimed to be a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FBI agents were then in charge of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Kremlin interference efforts. This probe is now handled by a special counsel. Here’s the basic info on Papadopoulos:
The 30-year-old bills himself as an “independent consultant” and “Former Advisor at Donald J Trump for President” in his LinkedIn page. His early professional history set him up pretty well to be a foreign policy adviser for the Trump team.
He started in 2008 as a research analyst for the American Hellenic Institute, before getting his Master of Science in Security Studies at the University of London. (The Russian professor was “based in London” according to the unsealed court filing.) Papadopoulos shifted over to the Hudson Institute as a research associate. But these positions apparently had nothing to do with Russia. He focused on nations along the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.
In 2015, he served briefly as an oil and gas consultant for Energy Steam before transitioning to Ben Carson‘s presidential campaign, according to his LinkedIn page. That ended in Feb 2016, and Papadopoulos was director at the Centre for International Energy and Natural Resources Law and Security. This set him up nicely for his March 2016 start at the Trump campaign.
“George Papadopoulos. He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy,” said Trump at the time.
Click here to check out Senior Editor Ronn Blitzer‘s take on the significance of this guilty plea.
Update – Nov. 2, 8:30 p.m.: One of Papadopoulos’ former employers have pushed back on details in his LinkedIn page. The profile said he worked as a Research Associate for the Hudson Institute from 2011 to 2015, but they said he started as an unpaid intern.
“Mr. Papadopoulos was never a salaried employee of Hudson Institute, we have had no relationship with him since 2014, and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on legal proceedings of which we have no knowledge and to which we are not a party,” the Hudson Institute said in a statement to USA Today on Monday.
[Screengrab via ABC]