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Former Trump Campaign Adviser Charged With Lying To F.B.I. About Contacts With Russia

Trump Russia

In addition to the indictments of Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Klein, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed this morning that they had charged and reached a plea agreement with George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign official, on charges of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his contacts with Russian officials regarding the 2016 while he was working for Trump:

WASHINGTON — A professor with close ties to the Russian government told an adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in April 2016 that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court documents unsealed Monday.

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that conversation. The plea represents the most explicit evidence connecting the Trump campaign to the Russian government’s meddling in last year’s election.

“They have dirt on her,” the professor told him, according to the documents. “They have thousands of emails.”

Mr. Papadopoulos was quietly arrested in July and has since been cooperating with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, records show. Mr. Papadopoulos’s conversation in April raises more questions about a meeting in June at Trump Tower, where Mr. Trump’s eldest son and senior advisers met with Russians who were similarly promising damaging information on Mrs. Clinton.

Taken together, the meetings show that early in the presidential race, people at the heart of Trump campaign and on its fringes were aware that Russian government officials were trying to help Mr. Trump.

The professor whom Mr. Papadopoulos met was not identified in court documents. The professor introduced Mr. Papadopoulos to a woman identified as a relative of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and to someone in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Papadopoulos repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials, court records show.

“We are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” the woman, who was not identified, told Mr. Papadopoulos in an email.

Mr. Papadopoulos told the F.B.I. in January that the professor was “a nothing.” But Mr. Papadopoulos now acknowledges that he knew the professor had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” Attempts to reach Mr. Papadopoulos on Monday were not successful.

The United States government has concluded that Russia hacked Democratic email accounts and released thousands of embarrassing messages related to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. The emails began appearing online in the summer of 2016. The Trump campaign has repeatedly denied any inside knowledge about that.

Mr. Papadopoulos was one of a small group of foreign policy advisers that Mr. Trump announced in March 2016. Another of the advisers, Carter Page, has met with the F.B.I. about his own meetings with Russians.

More from The Washington Post:

George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser to President Trump, pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to federal officials about his contacts with Russian nationals he believed had ties to the Russian government during Trump’s presidential campaign.

Papadopoulos, who was named by Trump in March 2016 as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russians when he was interviewed in January by federal agents who were investigating Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

Papadopoulos told agents that he had been in contact with a Russian professor even prior to joining the campaign. In fact, prosecutors say he met the man in March 2016 and was told by the professor the next month that he had damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, including thousands of Clinton’s emails.

Papadopoulos also falsely told agents he believed the professor was a low-level person in Russia, but, in fact, he knew that the professor had ties to senior levels of the Russian government, according to court papers released Monday.

Neither Papadopoulos nor a representative could be reached immediately Monday for comment.

Papadopoulos’s plea indicates he is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The charge indicates that Mueller, who is known to be probing alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, is deeply probing contacts with Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.

The court papers show that Papadopoulos had also met a Russian woman he believed had ties to the Kremlin and with whom he communicated about setting up a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials.

He told agents that he met the woman a year before joining the Trump campaign, but, in fact, he met her only after he was named to the campaign and communicated with her for months while working with Trump aides, the documents show.

Papadopoulos’s plea agreement shows he was introduced to the woman by the professor, and she claimed she was a relative of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. According to the plea, she told Papadopoulos she would like to help set up meetings for the Trump campaign with her associates to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under a future President Trump.

Off the top, it’s worth noting that the charges against Papadopoulos come in the form of an Information rather than the Indictment that was issued against Manafort and Gates. The difference is significant and indicates the extent to which Papadopoulos has likely been cooperating with Mueller and his investigators. An Information is an initial charging document in which the charges against a defendant and the facts supporting them are laid out. They can, and often do, form the basis for an arrest but generally must be followed up by a formal Indictment via a Grand Jury after a period of time that is usually already set forth in the relevant state or Federal laws or Rules of Court. Mueller could have chosen to proceed via an Information with respect to Manafort and Gates too, but it appears that he chose to go through with an Indictment in that case in part due to the fact that the Statute of Limitations on some or all of the charges may have been about to expire had action not been taken. Additionally, the Indictment indicates that the evidence it is based upon was found by a Grand Jury to have been sufficient probable cause that crimes were committed. In the case of an Information, there is no such finding although the document is generally required to set forth the supporting facts for the charges. In this case, the fact that Mueller reached a plea deal with Papadopoulos led to the decision than an Indictment is not necessary in the case since there would be a guilty plea.

Papadopoulos is not a well-known figure like Manafort and, to some extent Rick Gates, but the fact that he has been charged and pled guilty to charges directly related to both the 2016 campaign and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As the Information embedded below indicates, Papadopoulos apparently had contact with Russian officials in the past and those contacts increased once he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign specifically on foreign policy issues. As the Information alleges, at some point in early 2016 Papadopoulos told an unnamed Trump campaign official that he had been in contact with someone close to the Russian government who said that they could provide damaging information regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails to the campaign and the unnamed official responded: “That’s great.” It’s unclear what happened after that, but the reader will recall that this is nearly the same response that Donald Trump Jr. gave in response to another campaign aide in June 2016 regarding what ultimately became the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner and an attorney with a long history of ties to the Russian government. Whether these two incidents are related is unclear, but it does lead one to wonder if the top campaign official named in the indictment might be Trump Jr. himself or someone such as Manafort or Kushner.

While the charges against Manafort and Gates are potentially more serious in terms of the sentence they could serve if convicted, the charges against Papadopoulos would seem to be the most significant news of the day. Unlike the Manafort and Gates case, these charges are directly related to both the issue of Russian interference in the election and the question of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials. This makes it much harder for the Trump Administration to dismiss today’s news as something unrelated to the investigation and unrelated to the campaign itself and it also puts a lie to the line that Trump himself and those close to him had no contact with Russian officials regarding the campaign. Additionally, the fact that Papadopoulos entered a guilty plea means that he’s most likely cooperating with Mueller and the his investigators in their ongoing investigation of Russian interference and contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign. Based on the Information, it seems clear that he was in some sense the initial point of entry for such contacts, so Mueller would obviously be interested in what he knows about what may have happened after he brought these contacts to the attention of people higher up in the campaign than he was. The question, of course, is how far up the food chain Papadopoulos can take Mueller and his team in the coming months. We don’t know that for sure, but this one should clearly make everyone at the White House nervous.

Here’s the Information filed against Papdapoulos:

George Papadopoulos Information by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

And here’s the Plea Agreement:

George Papdopoulos Plea Agreement by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    This guy was a member of foreign policy campaign advisors chaired by…what was that guy’s name again?…tip of my tongue…oh yeah, Jeff Sessions. Now where have I heard that name recently?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  2. michael reynolds says:

    If I had information on this, and I – or my lawyer – saw that Panagopoulos had copped a plea and gotten lenient treatment? The math would definitely be different now.

    This is collusion with a hostile foreign power, by the Trump campaign, profiting from illegal acts by a foreign intelligence service. My guess is Mueller has plenty of verification for Panagopoulos’ statement from various functionaries. That’s collusion proven, though what the charge will be is a separate matter.

    Proven collusion, proven obstruction, indisputable Trump lies by the bushel, and a whole bunch of dirty money besides. I wish it wasn’t so early, I’d pop a bottle of Champagne.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  3. drj says:

    Fox News has already started laying the groundwork for the firing of Mueller.

    Unfortunately, I think this is right:

    The journalism in the story is laughable, but the message is clear and important: When Trump decides to fire Mueller (and possibly pardon the targets of his investigation) to spare himself and his family from accusations of serious wrongdoing, America’s premier propaganda broadcaster will have his back.

    That means that, inevitably, the vast majority of rank-and-file congressional Republicans will also have his back. Which means that, inevitably, the GOP congressional leadership will have his back. Republicans who attempt to stand up for the rule of law will be putting their careers at risk, which presumably is why virtually all of them have been willing to overlook so many subventions of the rule of law already.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  4. Paul Hooson says:

    Sadly, Trump is unethical man who only surrounded himself with many more corrupt men. However, the millions that voted for him just would not accept or believe this despite billboard size glaring warnings of this. The indictments carry solid evidence of the money trail and the schemes of Manafort and Gates to act as agents for the proRussian government of the Ukraine at the expense of our own country. It takes a real bastard to do anything against your own country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  5. Kari Q says:

    This is the big news of the day. Papadopoulos has been cooperating since July and no one knew about it. How much has Mueller found out already? How many more inner circle members are ready to spill what they know? The prisoner’s dilemma was just resolved and your only choice now is to turn on everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. Eric Florack says:

    In case you guys haven’t heard both of the judges involved with this case are Obama appointees.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 41

  7. Mikey says:

    So if I’m reading the plea agreement correctly, he could have been up for five years in prison and a $250K fine, but his cooperation has knocked that down to a maximum of six months and a $9.5K fine. And he could end up serving no time in prison at all.

    He must have sung like Pavarotti.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    Only a fool would now try and defend Trump.
    I’m just wondering how you square a guy pleading guilty, with claims that what he pleaded guilty about is made up fake news. I mean…who pleads guilty to something fake?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack: The judges didn’t show up and make Papadopoulos meet with the Russians, and they didn’t show up and make him lie to the FBI about it, and they didn’t show up and convince him to cop a plea in exchange for the truth.

    The evidence doesn’t give a flying fvck who appointed the judges.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

  10. Davebo says:

    @Eric Florack: What judges are you referring to??

    The bail hearing is being handled by a U.S. magistrate judge who’s been on the bench for almost two decades.

    Is that the Obama time machine at work again?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  11. Davebo says:

    @Eric Florack: What judges are you referring to??

    The bail hearing is being handled by a U.S. magistrate judge who’s been on the bench for almost two decades.

    Is that the Obama time machine at work again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @Eric Florack:
    The guy that pleaded guilty is a Trump appointee.
    Fool.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll:

    Only a fool would now try and defend Trump.

    Daryll, meet @Eric Florack. His friends @MBunge, @JKB, @John 431 and @Guarneri will be along shortly – just as soon as Steve Bannon and Rush Limbaugh tell them what to think.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Oh, man. I loved him on Webster. :-/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    Look at the timeline:
    The Podesta emails were hacked in March.
    Pappadoc was talking to these people in March and April.
    Donnie Jr. And Manafort met with the Russian attorney in June.
    Cambridge Analytics approached Assange about organizing emails.
    Wikileaks then started leaking the emails soon after. (Right after the pussy grabbing tape dropped.)
    I the meantime Manafort had changed the Ukraine plank of the Republican platform at the RNC Convention. ( The WH is still trying to prevent weapons going to the Ukrainian resistance today.)
    And immediately upon walking thru the WH door Donnie Sr. was trying to get the Russian sanctions lifted.
    Quid…meet Quo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  16. MikeSJ says:

    Paul Revere.
    Nathan Hale.

    Soon we’ll be adding Robert Mueller’s name to a list of famous American Patriots.

    Is it too soon to ask for a new national holiday? That being “Mueller Day” of course.

    (I’m hoping Papadopoulos wore a wire and got Sessions fessing up. Seeing that evil little bastard in an orange jumpsuit would put a smile on my face for the next twenty years.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll:

    who pleads guilty to something fake?

    Poor people without a lawyer do it all the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    Huckabee-Sanders honks that Papadopoulos was a
    Volunteer of America!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    #MAGA
    Make America Great Again
    Many Are Getting Arrested

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  20. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Point taken…but not applicable here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Ah, it can only be legitimate if every single person involved is a Republican. Guess what? The facts are neither DEM nor GOP, they are just the facts. Get used to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll: Obviously not applicable here. :-) His lawyer got him a sweet heart of a deal. Just had to point it out because I have heard those exact words from conservatives a little too often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  23. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Is it too soon to ask for a new national holiday? That being “Mueller Day” of course.

    Mueller Time

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    By the way, I have January in the pool for when the Trumpaloos switch from, “There’s no evidence of any collusion!” to “Well, of course they colluded! They would have done anything to stop Hitlary!” I doubt that Trump himself was involved, but we may see a lot more people fall.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  25. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I doubt that Trump himself was involved, but we may see a lot more people fall.

    Involved? Or knew?
    I find it hard to believe Donnie Jr. And Kushner and Manafort weren’t keeping him up to date on this stuff.
    We know Donnie Sr. helped craft the lie about the Russian Attorney mtg.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    He knew. His behavior has been about 95% consistent with an awareness of guilt. The only other narrative that fits the facts is that Javanka is in jeopardy. Trump wouldn’t let himself get into a corner like this for anyone but Ivanka or himself.

    My bet is that Trump knew and actively participated in colluding with Putin to steal the election, and colluded with Russian intelligence in targeting Americans with a barrage of strategic lies, and has taken dirty money from Russians as well as others, and was involved with money-laundering. I think Pence and Sessions are almost equally dirty.

    You don’t go on and on about firing a prosecutor when you’re innocent. Trump’s stupid but even he isn’t that stupid. He’s guilty as hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  27. Teve tory says:

    People like Eric florack must just like looking dumb. They never seem to learn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  28. MarkedMan says:

    Allahpundit over at Hot Air makes the case that Papi was wearing a wire for the past couple of months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve tory: It’s a habit with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll:

    It has the appearance that somebody else knew as well.

    “Tony Podesta, a Democratic power lobbyist, announced to colleagues Monday that he is stepping down amid a series of indictments that cast a shadow on work his firm had done with Paul Manafort that may have benefited a Ukrainian regime friendly to the Kremlin.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  31. Eric Florack says:

    @Teve tory: learn that the left is usually wrong? I learned that before you were born son.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  32. Eric Florack says:

    As for the judges involved, what would your comments be if every judge involved with a case against Barack Hussein Obama was a Republican? You already know the answer to that one.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    I suppose this is more about me than the situation, but an odd thought popped into my head when reading about all this and contemplating Bob Mueller. I’m not sure I even want to know what this says about me…but there it is…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqOEnbXmnGc

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Eric Florack says:
  35. MarkedMan says:

    Republicans. Man. They will be reaping what they sowed. By trying to keep their heads down and letting someone else handle Trump, they will be hitting the campaign trail with crowds of angry voters screaming “Traitor!” and “Treason!”

    I honestly believe they could have prevented all this if they had just acted on a bill that was put forward the year before the election: if I remember it correctly the bill would have required all Presidential candidates to release their complete tax returns for something like the previous 5 years. It would have taken Trump out. (And I’m pretty sure it would have taken Bernie Sanders out too.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Eric Florack: Given your past arguments, what makes you think you’ve earned enough credibility here that people would follow a blind link?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  37. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    However, the millions that voted for him just would not accept or believe this despite billboard size glaring warnings of this.

    I was going to post “…and they still won’t. Just watch.”

    …but that’s now been overtaken by events — His Florackness has made my point for me, much more vehemently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Holy G-d you’re dumb … :roll:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  39. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    In case you guys haven’t heard both of the judges involved with this case are Obama appointees.

    In case you haven’t heard, Robert Mueller is Republican.

    … and really … “truepundit” ?
    Why not cite the Easter Bunny, marginally more believable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  40. Gustopher says:

    It must make a Republican’s heart break — we all know that Barack Hussein Obama was the most corrupt president of all time, past and future, and the weasel little community organizer got away with it. But Trump and his minions can’t get away with simple money laundering, lying to the FBI and colluding with a hostile government.

    Trump’s business skills amount to squat. Obama failed to keep evil Russians out of the country, so Trumplets would have no choice but to talk to them, and then he appointed judges to preside over it!

    Oh, your malodorous mandarin got played!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  41. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So far, the “he knew” camp consists of entirely that: “well, he’s acting guilty”. But, remember, Trump wasn’t at the meeting with the Russian lawyer. And Papadopoulos doesn’t indicate contact with Trump either. Trump’s pattern, so far, has been one of supreme laziness when it comes to organizing, vetting and deal-making. We haven’t seen a smoking gun.

    Yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Was there ever a case against Obama? No. Jaysoos Crispo, do you ever think before you speak?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. Hal_10000 says:

    I should add that I’m generally not happy with the idea of charges stemming from lying to federal agents when you’re not under oath. Papadopoulos is slime but there’s no evidence this impeded the investigation at all. It’s the sort of charge we cheer when it’s brought against someone we don’t like, but would be appalled if it were brought against someone we did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  44. Daryl's other brother Daryll says:

    @Hal_10000:

    there’s no evidence this impeded the investigation

    But doesn’t he go more to the collusion? Part and parcel of the Donnie Jr meeting?
    I understand you believe they’ll never get them on collusion.
    I agree they’re likely to get Donnie Sr on money laundering and RICO charges.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000: Just to be clear, I’m agnostic on whether Trump new his campaign officials were doing crimes with the Russians, other than in the “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest”, kind of way. I think the Russians have all kinds of dirt on Trump, and he’s probably in the cross hairs of the Russian mob, due to acting as a front for their money laundering activity. But regardless, Trump’s actions scream that Putin has something on him. Trump is obviously afraid of Putin in a way that is tangibly different from others.

    One thing I think is extremely significant is that when the sh*t hit the fan wrt the firing of Comey and Trump’s admission that he did it because of the Russian investigation, and the entire White House was in turmoil, Trump kept exactly one appointment the next day: with the Russian ambassador. During which he revealed highly classified information gathered by our allies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  46. MarkedMan says:

    “knew” not new. God, my spelling is getting worse and worse…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’m 41. When i was a kid, it was perfectly acceptable to call someone a Tard. I realize now that this is unfair, demeaning, and ugly. So i don’t say that anymore. But if this were 1986, I’d have the perfect word for florack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. JKB says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Daryll: I understand you believe they’ll never get them on collusion.

    Collusion is not a crime. First they have to find something illegal then develop evidence of a conspiracy to commit that crime.

    What you’ll like hate is that Andrew McCarthy has looked as the Papadopoulos “Statement of the Offense,” and found not incriminatory information in regards to the Trump campaign, but exculpatory evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  49. Pylon says:

    @Teve tory: you may end up calling dumb people “floracks”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  50. Hal_10000 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yeah, I remember that. Even Trump supporters I know who are skeptical of the Russia thing admit he has an amazing ability to stick his foot in hit. And troublesome priest might be what we end up finding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. Terrye Cravens says:

    @JKB: It might not be a crime, but it is abuse of power and could lead to impeachment for that bastard…which is why Trump has been screeching NO CULLISION in caps on his twitter feed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. JKB says:

    @Terrye Cravens: but it is abuse of power and could lead to impeachment for that bastard

    Abuse of power? During the time of the alleged collusion, Trump wasn’t in “power”. He was a private citizen running for office. So far all evidence available to the public shows the Trump campaign only considered meeting with the Russians at low levels, but never did meet with them.

    In any case, while perhaps if Democrats have some miracle and win the House they could vote to impeach. But the whole Russia thing involves all the old hands in DC, including Hillary and Obama. I don’t see the constitutional majority of voters getting behind removal and if without it, removal will just provoke deeper hostility, if not violence, in the country.

    Collusion is not a crime, but could be a political issue. Like when Obama was caught on an open mic colluding with Russia, by sending a message to Putin that he’d be flexible after the election. That’s collusion, but as many have said, not illegal on its face.

    The Trump dossier collusion with the Russians has a better chance of an underlying crime and conspiracy being found.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: I don’t know… I’m pretty much of the opinion that you shouldn’t be lying to law enforcement in general. Feel free to say nothing, but deliberately misleading them is a mild form of obstruction of justice.

    If we found out that Hillary Clinton deliberately lied about her whereabouts to authorities during the Vince Foster case, even if she was never shown to have killed him, I would still want them to LOCK HER UP. And, if they could prove she was lying, but couldn’t prove her responsibility in the death… same thing, but more so.

    But, I’m funny that way. I am opposed to obstruction of justice. This is because I am a Democrat, and we don’t put party ahead of country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    But the whole Russia thing involves all the old hands in DC, including Hillary and Obama.

    Well, no, it doesn’t. But if it did — no problem Bring it on. Take them all down, for the good of America.

    You OK with that?

    The Trump dossier collusion with the Russians […]

    You need a better dictionary, dude. This word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  55. Eric Florack says:

    @DrDaveT: actually, yes it does.

    Has anyone noticed that
    A.) The alleged Manafort misconduct took place during the OBAMA administration while Mueller was the head of the FBI.
    B.) The Behavior was reported to the FBI International Corruption Unit in 2012.
    C.) The FBI Did nothing about it until now?
    “Ya just gotta wonder, don’t ‘ya, “Why is that?”

    Mueller did not indict Manafort when he was Obama’s FBI director and he is indicting him now because of the Trump Russia collusion investigation?

    But there’s no political connection to those actions. Right? After all Democrats say going after him now is not political.

    You know, if I remember correctly this was supposed to be about Russian collusion. But the incident in question in the Chargers doesn’t have anything to do with Russia at all but rather the Ukraine. Well I guess it must be Russian collusion since Ukraine borders on Russia. So it’s almost Russian.

    Right?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  56. Eric Florack says:

    @Hal_10000: here, we agree. And it seems to me that the charges are overtly political in nature.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  57. Eric Florack says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: there was always the case against Obama and still is. Just as there’s a case against Hillary Clinton and still is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  58. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    Like when Obama was caught on an open mic colluding with Russia, by sending a message to Putin that he’d be flexible after the election. That’s collusion

    What bullshit. You Trumpists are trying to dilute the meaning of the word so far that it becomes meaningless. By your fatuous definition, anyone talking to anyone else about anything ever is “collusion.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  59. Mikey says:

    Any Trumpist fool who thinks this guilty plea is the end of this is very wrong indeed. This is only the beginning.

    Papadopoulos was arrested in July. He pled guilty October 5th. Nobody outside Mueller’s investigation knew either of these facts until yesterday.

    Think about that for a while, and all its implications. I’ll give you a little nudge: none of it is good for Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  60. Barry says:

    @Hal_10000: “By the way, I have January in the pool for when the Trumpaloos switch…”

    I will take late November, and that’s only for those who actually face reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. Mikey says:

    And here’s a good analysis at Politico.

    Take a look at the photo at the top of the page. See the young guy with the close-cropped hair and olive skin, sitting halfway between Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump, as all watch Sessions speak? That’s George Papadopoulos. That’s the guy–sitting at the table with the Republican candidate for President and the future Attorney General–who the Trumpists are trying to dismiss as essentially a nobody.

    Utterly detached from reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump wouldn’t let himself get into a corner like this for anyone but Ivanka or himself.

    That’s your one statement I question. I don’t recall any evidence that Trump regards his daughter as anything more than a decorative possession. He eagerly signed on to Howard Stern’s statement that she was “a nice piece of…”. As you’ve said, he’s protecting himself from disclosure of decades of financial violations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  63. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump is obviously afraid of Putin in a way that is tangibly different from others.

    Any sensible, and innocent, person in Trump’s position would be doing everything he could to distance himself from Russia and signal opposition to Russia. Trump is past deadline on implementing legally mandated sanctions against Moscow. Might as well wear a Russian flag lapel pin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  64. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Collusion is not a crime, but could be a political issue. Like when Obama was caught on an open mic colluding with Russia, by sending a message to Putin that he’d be flexible after the election. That’s collusion, but as many have said, not illegal on its face.

    So, Obama was colluding with Putin when he inadvertently spoke into an open mic? Are you a writer for Stephen Colbert?

    As you may know, legality may or may not be relevant if and when it ever comes to impeachment of Trump.

    Congress may impeach a president for any reason whatsoever. I mean, it helps to at least make the bill of impeachment sound like there there was serious wrongdoing, but really, all that is needed is control of The House and a majority vote. Conviction by the Senate has a higher threshold, it’s more difficult.

    In the case of Trump impeachment would likely have something to do with his real estate {slash} Russian money laundering operation (illegal, impeachable)) and not, say, forcing White House guests to eat the meat loaf when they want something else (legal, but still impeachable).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Barry:

    I will take late November, and that’s only for those who actually face reality.

    Personally, I don’t think we will see any mass migration away from Trump, certainly not publicly. As I’ve said before, the Trumpistas remind me most of Marion Barry’s die hard voters. They were primarily motivated by anger against, well, “us”. And by us, I mean the people that had told them they were making terrible choices, that their chosen leaders deserved jail while “ours” deserved celebratory chicken dinners. The people that told them they just didn’t understand. That made them feel stupid. So when “we” were proven completely right in our warnings about Barry, they didn’t say “hey, you were right. We now like you and respect you and, by the way, give us some advice.” They instead festered in hatred and mostly just stopped showing up at the ballot box. Or waited for Barry to get out of jail so they could vote for him again and show “us” they couldn’t be pushed around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  66. JKB says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Congress can try to impeach, but as I’ve said, if the voters aren’t prepped to accept the validity of impeachment, then all you get is division. Perhaps even open conflict since without the support of the voters, it is a coup by a faction that must then be put down by violence.

    I’m not saying Democrats won’t try it should they get the chance. The VA Democrats are running vile racist ads in the governor’s race just days after the beloved Obama called for a rejection of the “politics of fear.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  67. Barry says:

    @JKB: “The VA Democrats are running vile racist ads in the governor’s race just days after the beloved Obama called for a rejection of the “politics of fear.””

    Wrong, but keep on playing….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  68. charon says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t recall any evidence that Trump regards his daughter as anything more than a decorative possession.

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/former-trump-campaign-adviser-indicted-for-lying-to-f-b-i-about-contacts-with-russia/#ixzz4x6Pqurnc

    He probably does not care about his daughter but does care about his image, what people think of him.

    He sees himself, and wants to be seen as an alpha male, a macho man

    Alpha males protect their daughters, at least in our culture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Hal_10000: I suspect that Mueller filed the charges that he did because he 1) didn’t want to tip his hand about what he knows and what he doesn’t, and 2) at least w/r/t the charges against Papa, he wants to hold off so he can use that as leverage to ensure cooperation.

    I get your unease at that, but I’m guessing (and this is based on pure conjecture on my part) that there’s a lot more there, he’s just playing his cards close to his vest.

    But I think the real tell is that he released Papa’s plea deal yesterday to show that he does have a lot more than he is letting on, sending a message to Manafort that cooperating would be in his benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  70. Terrye Cravens says:

    @JKB: Who says they would not accept the validity of an impeachment…sure Trump deadenders will threaten all manner of mayhem if their Godking is held responsible for his actions, but that is their problem. Screw them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  71. JKB says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    Well, there you go. It’s all set.

    Now, just win the House and Senate in Nov 2018, take control in Jan 2019, run the impeachment, I’d say you might get to Trump around Nov 2019. Of course, the 2020 campaign will be in full swing by then, so can you count on those votes in the House and Senate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  72. Terrye Cravens says:

    @JKB: Considering how gutless and lame the current Congress is it might actually happen. It is interesting that all Trump supporters care about is protecting Trump, making excuses for Trump and shilling for Trump. They are totally indifferent to his innocence or guilt. That sounds like a cult.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  73. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    I’m not saying Democrats won’t try it should they get the chance. The VA Democrats are running vile racist ads in the governor’s race just days after the beloved Obama called for a rejection of the “politics of fear.”

    “beloved Obama”?
    Be that as it may, Republicans showed us that Michelle Obama’s “they take the low road, we take the high road” is not the way to win. So, if Democrats are using Republican tactics it probably means that they’re serious about winning. And really, who race baits more than Republicans? Nobody.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  74. Mikey says:

    @al-Ameda:

    So, if Democrats are using Republican tactics it probably means that they’re serious about winning. And really, who race baits more than Republicans? Nobody.

    The ad in question is neither vile nor racist, but rather an accurate representation of the reality faced by many young people of color today, who are having actual nightmares because of Trumpist acceptance and promotion of violent white supremacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  75. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    Explain how the ad is racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  76. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @JKB: And you expect me to believe that you wouldn’t endorse and participate in the actions depicted in the ad if you had the chance to? Really? Cuz I don’t believe you, but then again, that’s how polarization works and you and yours have been sowing the seeds for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  77. Hal_10000 says:

    @Gustopher:

    No. obstructing justice is one thing. Like destroying documents or suborning perjury. I support prosecuting that. But the statute on lying to investigators is a bit overly broad and can be used by federal agents to prosecute people who have not done anything wrong. Keep in mind also that investigators can lie to us and about us all the time. Indeed a lot of false confessions — such as the Central Park Five — came about because police lied to them about the evidence they had.

    I agree, however, as a general rule, you should just shut up whenever cops or federal agents want to talk to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    The VA Democrats are running vile racist ads in the governor’s race

    Huh. That’s news to me, and I live in Virginia and am already sick of the ads.

    Your link is broken. What particular “vile racist ads” did you have in mind? They’d have to be pretty bad to be worse than Gillespie’s pathetic attempt to claim that convicted pedophiles owning firearms somehow endangers children…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  79. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT: The Gillespie one with the “sanctuary cities” nonsense (there are none in Virginia) and MS-13 fearmongering was pretty bad too.

    Last night there were six ads in a row--one each from the major party candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and AG. I wanted to heave my TV out the window.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  80. Zachriel says:

    @Eric Florack: Well I guess it must be Russian collusion since Ukraine borders on Russia. So it’s almost Russian.

    Actually, it concerned the Russia-backed Ukrainian kleptocracy, so yes, it’s about Russia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  81. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: “…(A)s I’ve said, if the voters aren’t prepped to accept the validity of impeachment all you get is division…”

    Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to have any ‘division’ in our happy national household, now WOULD we? I mean, we should listen those nice persons that carried those tiki torches up in Virginia. Otherwise – division.

    What kind of argument is that? Jebus – are you retarded?

    And what do you mean by ‘voters’? Is your choice the selection that pass through the Kris Kobach test?

    Here’s a little bit from the Washington Examiner (something you might believe):

    “Forty nine percent of voters approve of impeaching President Trump but 41% oppose a Public Policy Polling Survey found.”

    And those ‘voters’ were actually asked a question by a human being who listened to their answer.

    Go away, little guy. Play like you’re a smart person somewhere else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  82. KM says:

    @JKB:

    I’ve said, if the voters aren’t prepped to accept the validity of impeachment all you get is division…”

    Impeachment is a constitutionally mandated response to Presidential misconduct. To not accept its validity is to not accept the Constitution’s dictates for how to handle a criminal President. Whether you accept the *premise* that lead to the impeachment is another story and frankly, that’s so tribal in nature there’s no point trying to persuade someone who’d left a President float the Constitution just because he’s “their guy”. People are going to lose their sh^t, of that I have no doubt but it’s not going to be a revolution or whatever nonsense the echo chamber keeps telling you about. Republicans will still be in charge but the cult leader will be gone.

    Now, if you’d just let us arrest him like everybody else in this suitaition would be, you wouldn’t have that problem….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. MarkedMan says:

    @Zachriel: Not to mention that when Manafort’s guy got into hot water and his government collapsed, he fled to Russia. Russia. He was a Russian puppet. Why is it that everything Trump touches comes up Russia?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  84. MarkedMan says:

    Lying Trump-man and his but buddies are now trying to say that then only Russian contact came form low level dishonest George. (We will set aside Carter Page for now. And Michael Flynn. And Jeff Sessions. And Jared Kushner. And Donald Trump, Jr. And Paul Manafort. All of whom lied about meeting with the Russians and go caught.)

    But Josh Marshall points out the flaw in this whole argument. Prior to lying Georgie joining the campaign, prior to a lot of the other meetings, literally the only concrete foreign policy issues Trump talked about involved giving things to Russia that they wanted. A weaker NATO. Acceptance of their moves in Ukraine and Crimea. Removal of sanctions. And court documents show that when Clovis was recruiting the five foreign policy advisors, he told them (from Talking Points Memo:

    The plea agreement narrative states that in early March 2016 Papadapoulos learned he would be a foreign policy advisor for Trump’s campaign. At the time he was living in London. “Based on a conversation that took place on or about March 6, 2016, with [Sam Clovis] Papadopolous understood that a principal foreign policy focus of the Campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia.”

    I’ve looked back over news accounts from late 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Russia had definitely come up as an issue with Trump. But it was primarily about Trump’s then-odd-sounding praise of Vladimir Putin and some positive comments Putin had made about Trump in return. At a conference in mid-December Putin had said: Trump “is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that …. he is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today … He’s saying he wants to go to another level of relations – closer, deeper relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”

    But Trump didn’t seem to have much foreign policy at all, other than a focus on retrenchment and not fighting more wars in the Middle East. He talked a lot about bad trade deals. But bilateral trade isn’t a big issue with Russia. Again, Trump had little clearly expressed foreign policy at all. Indeed, that was the immediate trigger of putting together this list of policy advisors: to provide some explanation of who was advising him or that he had a foreign policy at all.

    But at least according to this plea document, Clovis made clear that a rapprochement with Russia was “a principal foreign policy focus.” (True, President Obama came into office wanting a “reset” with Russia. But it was a secondary or even tertiary focus of his campaign and subsequent presidency.) This exchange happens a few weeks before Trump hires Paul Manafort. But he’d been pitching himself for a job with Trump in February. It’s around the time Mike Flynn is going from being a sometimes informal advisor to a clear member of the campaign team. Flynn was clearly interested in closer ties with Russia. He’d visited Moscow for that 10th Anniversary conference for RT, where he sat as a guest of honor of Vladimir Putin. Of course, as I and many others have noted, Trump himself had deep financial ties to investors and purchasers in the countries of the former Soviet Union as well.

    Trump was owned by Russia long before this. It could be the tapes of him with hookers. But I strongly suspect it is the money laundering. After all, we know that he was asking for 30% off the top in order to put his name on a hotel in Moscow. Supposedly, he was bringing nothing else to the table, other than his name. We also know that the developers were getting offers from Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt-Regency for 3-4% premium, and they would additionally manage the hotel and had extensive experience managing hotels in Russia. What would justify that incredible multiple? 30% additional cost would just kill any project, anywhere in the world. Is it just coincidence that 30% is the normal fee for laundering large sums of money?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1