New details reveal that President Donald Trump’s aide George Papadopoulos maintained close ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia. Reporter and attorney Seth Abramson released the new information on Twitter. He noted the Greek media has a very different perspective on Papadopoulos — one which looks damaging for Trump. That might mean big things for the Trump campaign. Here’s what Abramson found out, and what it means for Trump.
1. Papadopoulos has close ties with this Putin puppet
This video shows Vladimir Putin meeting Panos Kammenos, the Greek Defense Minister and an ally of Putin. According to The Daily Beast, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos signed a memorandum of understanding between his Athens think tank, the Institute for Geopolitical Studies, and a Moscow counterpart, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, known as RISS. RISS serves as the public face of the Kremlin. The RISS also orchestrated interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to Reuters.
Next: He met and dined with Trump.
2. He met and dined with Trump prior to his hiring
In early March, according to Abramson’s sources, Papadopoulos spoke with Trump over the phone about working for the campaign. He represented himself as an expert on eastern Mediterranean energy, but apparently falsified much of his resume. While Trump called him a “low-level volunteer,” that doesn’t jive with Abramson’s findings.
On March 20, 2016, Papadopoulos met with Kammenos in Washington D.C. The next day, he attended a press conference at the Old Post Office Building, which later became Trump Hotel, and Trump invited him upstairs for dinner. This directly conflicts with statements Trump has made about when he first met Papadopoulos.
Next: The timeline is not adding up.
3. Trump did not meet the advisor when he says he did
When asked about meeting Papadopoulos, Trump said he doesn’t remember much about the meeting, Politico reported.
In court documents released this week, Papadopoulos said he offered to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. The New York Times reported in its timeline that Trump met Papadopoulos on March 31. That means Trump lied about when he first met his adviser. It also means he was much closer than the White House previously let on.
Next: Caught in another lie?
4. He lied about the number of times his National Security Team met
According to CNN, Papadopoulos told the FBI that in a national security meeting attended by Trump and campaign advisers, he “in sum and substance” said that “he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the foreign policy group that Papadopoulos was a part of only met once. But CNN was told Papadopoulos attended another campaign policy meeting, though Trump was not in attendance. In fact, Papadopoulos and Jeff Sessions attended at least one more meeting, where he and Papadopoulos sat next to each other. The Washington Post broke that story. Sessions and Papadopoulos may have been at the same press event in March, Abramson reported.
Next: Papadopoulos sent a series of emails about Trump and Russia.
5. Papadopoulos emailed with Manafort about Russia
According to a Washington Post timeline, Papadopoulos sent a series of emails about connecting Trump and the Kremlin. In May, he emailed former campaign chairman Paul Manafort that “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss.”
Manafort forwarded the email to Rick Gates, writing, “We need someone to communicate that [Trump] is not doing these trips,” he writes. “It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
On June 19, Papadopoulos emailed, “The Russian ministry of foreign affairs messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if a campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if it’s in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”
Next: A secret meeting took place with both Papadopoulos and Putin meeting this person.
6. Papadopoulos and Putin traveled to Athens on the same day
While The Washington Post noted that the meetings Papadopoulos tried to set up between the Trump campaign and Russia “never happened,” he did meet with Russian officials in May.
According to this Greek newspaper, Papadopoulos took a secret trip to Athens in May 2016. That means he and Putin both met with Kammenos during the same trip. Greek media described the events as “secretive.” By that point, Papadopoulos told Greek officials he could name his position at the White House.
Next: He also met with Kammenos at Trump’s big event.
7. He met with Kammenos at the inauguration
Greek media also reported a different timeline for Papadopoulos’ relationship with Trump than the president did. Kammenos reportedly met with incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, as well as with Papadopoulos, at the inauguration. Trump, Kammenos said, has “some very important Greek-Americans by his side who maintain their ties with our country, with Orthodoxy and with the Greek people. We are certain that when the time comes for them to help their homeland … they will do so do the best of their ability.”
Next: Trump warned him about the press.
8. Trump told Papadopoulos not to talk to the press
Abramson obtained this text from a Greek newspaper, which reports that Papadopoulos not only worked for the Trump campaign longer than anyone knew, but under a gag order. He not only became forbidden from talking about Russia, but also worked on the campaign for a different timeline than anyone knew. Whatever “his piece” was, it appears he came back specifically to spread dirt on Hillary Clinton.
While Abramson’s in-depth reporting reveals staggering new information, much more will undoubtedly come out. The connections between Russia, Papadopoulos, and Trump continue to emerge, from foreign media as much as that within the U.S.
Scott Stedman contributed reporting to Abramson’s story, as did reporters at Ta Nea (Greece), Kathimerini (Greece), SKAI TV (Greece), and Sky News (U.K.).
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