.@GStephanopoulos: Why did you lie to the FBI?
George Papadopoulos: “I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president …”@GStephanopoulos: “You were trying to protect the president?”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 9, 2018
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos says he lied to the FBI in their Russia probe in order to protect President Donald Trump.
“At the time of my interview with the FBI, I think three or four days before that, I was at the inauguration attending parties with senior level transition officials,” he said on Sunday’s episode of ABC’s This Week. “I understood that there was an incipient investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and I found myself as somebody who worked incredibly hard over the past year in the campaign to actually have candidate Trump be elected. And I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president, and having probing questions that I thought might incriminate the sitting president.”
“You were trying to protect the president?” asked host George Stephanopoulos.
“Of course,” said Papadopoulos. He added that he didn’t think he did incriminate the president, but the worry was in the back of his mind.
Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his conversation with Professor Joseph Mifsud, who, according to federal prosecutors, said the Russians had emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos appeared in a Friday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, and said he didn’t remember if he told anyone in the campaign about that information. He did tell the campaign in March 2016 he could set up a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Trump deferred to then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who was “enthusiastic,” he said.
Sessions, now Attorney General, testified in November that he rejected Papadopoulos’ offer.
“My recollection differs from Jeff Sessions’,” Papadopoulos said on This Week.
[Screengrab via ABC News]