Editor’s note: This is the last of a three-part series, featuring an exclusive interview scheduled to air on Sunday, June 9, on Liberty Nation Radio with George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign operative and author of Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump. In Part 1, Papadopoulos described how he was first set up by a mysterious professor in London. In Part 2, he discussed how information revealed to him about Hillary Clinton and the Russians led to his entrapment and arrest.
It all became clear to him. As he was arrested by federal authorities at Dulles Airport six months after Donald Trump assumed the presidency, George Papadopoulos realized what the shadowy figures of Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and Stefan Halper were doing all along: setting him up.
Mifsud, the supposed Maltese professor, had told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Downer, the pro-Clinton Australian diplomat, and Halper, London professor and CIA asset, had then met with the young Trump campaign operative and apparently done their parts in reporting to the FBI that Papadopoulos had knowledge of Russian infiltration of the Clinton presidential campaign. This “revelation,” along with the infamous and discredited Steele dossier, became the very basis for FBI surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign, which eventually metastasized into the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.
Tim Donner: Shortly after Trump shocks the world, wins the election, and takes office, the FBI interrogates you. Then months later, in July of 2017, the FBI snags you at Dulles Airport, throws you in jail, and ultimately accuses you of lying to them, and says you are facing up to 25 years in prison. Tell us how that whole thing went down.
George Papadopoulos: Yes. There was a very strange man named Charles Tawil, who I think was part of an entrapment operation run by the special counsel against me, in March, April, May, June, July of 2017, about a month after the FBI came to my house, trying to catch me in a perjury trap, which they ended up doing. This man came to me under the fake auspice of wanting to do business with me, some sort of consulting, and he gives me $10,000 in cash in a room in Israel without me understanding why he’s giving it to me, except that I thought that this was probably some sort of operation.
I take this money, I give it to my lawyers in Greece, where I was vacationing at the time, and I tell this individual do not contact me again. A couple of days later I fly to Dulles, where I had an interview waiting, with Fox News actually, at the time, and I’m arrested at an airport without the agents telling me what I had done wrong. They’re looking through my bags, looking for this $10,000, which now there’s been reports that the special counsel himself and his team actually directed at me, which is a whole new can of worms that you’re going to probably see some headlines about over the next months. I’m basically told that this is what happens when you work for Donald Trump by some very aggressive agents of the FBI after I am in a daze and jet-lagged after coming off a 12-hour flight.
So I don’t know what’s happening. I’m basically thrown in a cell as if I’m a narco dealer or a terrorist. They probably were treated better than I was as an American citizen. And then I’m looking at a judge the next day without being told what I had done wrong, and the judges and the prosecutors are saying, “You’re looking at 25 years in prison,” without me understanding what I had done.
So the whole situation was incredibly chaotic. This entire investigation, as I detailed in my book, was clearly preplanned, orchestrated, involved foreign governments, foreign intelligence, a weaponized U.S. intelligence in order to assure that Donald Trump would not win the 2016 election. And if he did win, as you explained at the beginning of our conversation, his presidency would be crippled by a witch hunt. I think what these new investigations are all about are about healing this country and assuring what happened in 2016 never happens again to an American citizen, a political campaign, or the president himself.
Tim: What do you make of the infamous Christopher Steele dossier that was bankrolled by the Clinton campaign, that served as the basis for the FISA warrants, and that led to the FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign, then, of course, the Mueller investigation?
Papadopoulos: I think the Steele dossier represents the foreign government interference in a U.S. presidential campaign season. Steele was a foreign agent. He’s a British intelligence officer. Why the British were feeding fake information about Americans to the FBI to hurt Donald Trump is a question that, of course, William Barr and John Durham are now getting to the bottom of. The entire dossier has been debunked. Was the dossier intentionally written the way it was to assist a FISA warrant? Was Alexander Downer’s fake testimony against me used on purpose to help get a FISA warrant?
These are two questions that I think we’re going to understand very soon, and I think the answer to them is yes, and they basically represent this global effort to undermine Donald Trump and his team. Unfortunately for them, they lost. Christopher Steele now is hiding, and he doesn’t want to cooperate with Durham’s investigation, even though he was actively sending disinformation to the Comey FBI and the Brennan CIA. So we’re going to have to wait and see.
Tim: So what is your conclusion, in the end, from inside the campaign on Trump’s actual relationship with Russia then and now?
Papadopoulos: There was one person from the campaign who gave the only interview to the Russian media, and that was me. I represented the campaign to the Russian media outlet named Interfax in September or October of 2016. The campaign wanted me to help articulate why Donald Trump wanted to work with Russia, and Donald Trump wants to work with Russia for three reasons; it has nothing to do with election interference. Donald Trump never received any assistance from any government. He won the election on his own. The American people supported him. They came out in record numbers because they believed in his tangible prescriptions for the woes of the economy and for foreign policy. What Donald Trump wanted, as you’ll see in this interview I gave, was to work with Russia at the geopolitical level for three reasons:
- To stabilize Ukraine.
- To defeat ISIS.
- To hedge against a rising China; China is a predominant threat to American interests all around the world, and if you isolate Russia, they’re going to work closer with China, and that’s not good for U.S. interests.
That’s what Donald Trump wanted to do, and for two years he’s been hindered from really achieving those goals. We’ll see what happens now that the Mueller report has come out and Donald Trump will have a little more leeway to actually govern the way he wants. I think the majority of Americans want a better relationship with Russia. There’s no need for hostilities between two rival nuclear powers. That was the basic logic in 2016 and in 2019.
Tim: One more question before we let you go. It’s about one element of this whole thing that everybody seems to have overlooked, and that is the Putin/Hillary Clinton factor. Now, Hillary infuriated Putin when she questioned the integrity of Putin’s reelection in 2012, so let me ask you this: Do you believe Russia’s pro-Trump position was based more on Trump or on Putin’s revenge against Hillary Clinton?
Papadopoulos: Every four years the most highly watched event in the world is not the World Cup or the Olympics, it’s the presidential season. The world is watching right now. They want to see who the real people are and who the fake candidates are from the Democrat side because they know who Donald Trump is today. So I think when foreign governments are looking at the landscape they’re always going to have their preferred winner and loser. And in 2016 the U.K. wanted Clinton to win, Australia wanted Clinton to win, the European Union wanted Clinton to win, China wanted Clinton to win. But you had some governments who probably saw an opportunity to work with Donald Trump at a different level. And one of those countries was Russia, one was Egypt, some other countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia. Israel was another country that probably saw opportunity to work Donald Trump.
So that’s what I think that whole thing was about. I don’t think any foreign government has the power to unilaterally affect a presidential election, but, of course, they want certain candidates to win or lose based on their own potential interests. And unfortunately for Russia, though, no matter, they thought that Hillary or Trump would be better for them. I think Donald Trump has been the most ardent, he’s been one of the hardest presidents on Russia in modern history. He’s boosting U.S. energy exports to Europe, which is in direct competition with Russia. He’s arming Ukraine, he’s intervening in Syria, and he has a tough line on China. So all this talk about Donald Trump being easy on Russia, it doesn’t match up with reality, because Donald Trump has been one of the toughest presidents on Russia in modern history.
End of series.
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