Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos recently stated that he was going to be taking a trip to Greece, and the media appear to be highly interested in his travel plans. The reason Papadopoulos is heading to the land of gyros and moussaka has piqued the interest of the press, and while the trip will likely be a nothingburger on pita bread with extra lettuce, one cannot ignore the potential revelations that could surface.
In an appearance on Fox News, the former adviser told Maria Bartiromo that he would travel to Greece to retrieve the $10,000 that was given to him in 2016. Papadopoulos has contended that he was targeted by federal authorities to make it appear that President Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to swing the results of the 2016 election. He indicated that he believes this payment was part of this effort.
George Papadopoulos’s Travel Arrangements
During the interview, Papadopoulos explained his suspicions about the money he was given overseas. “So, I have my theory of what that was all about,” he said. “The money, I gave it to my attorney in Greece because I felt it was given to me under very suspicious circumstances. And upon coming back to the United States, I had about seven or eight FBI agents rummaging through my luggage looking for money.”
Papadopoulos indicated that the “whole setup” was being perpetrated by the FBI or the special counsel’s office to plant a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) violation against him. Both Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, were also charged with violating this law.
Papadopoulos previously claimed that in 2017, while he was vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend, an individual contacted him with a business proposal. He traveled with this person to Israel, where he was given $10,000. Afterward, he traveled back to Greece and gave the money to his attorney for safekeeping because he “immediately thought something was wrong.”
The former adviser pled guilty in 2017 to lying to federal agents. He served 12 days in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of $9,500.
Why Is the Media Interested?
Several news outlets have reacted to Papadopoulos’s statements, which might give the impression that his retrieval of the money might have significance. Perhaps it is due to another comment the former adviser made: “I actually want Congress, [Attorney General Bill] Barr, [DOJ Inspector General Michael] Horowitz, and [U.S. Attorney John] Huber to review the bills because I still have the bills, and I think they are marked,” Papadopoulos said. “These bills that are still in Athens right now must be examined by the investigators because I think they are marked and they’re going to go all the way back to DOJ, under the previous FBI under [James] Comey, and even the Mueller team.”
The Department of Justice’s investigation into the beginnings of the Russian interference probe is combing over transcripts of recordings from a government official who met with Papadopoulos overseas. According to Fox News, these transcripts contain “exculpatory” evidence that “was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants.”
Perhaps the media are interested in Papadopoulos’s trip to Greece because the money he was paid might lead to evidence supporting the former adviser’s claims. If the DOJ finds that the money did come from an asset working with federal authorities, it could bust the entire Spygate theory wide open. Indeed, it would constitute evidence of a conspiracy that would be difficult to refute and confirm the suspicions of many who believe the investigation into Russian collusion was a politically motivated witch hunt.
In the end, the trip might turn out to be much ado about nothing. But if Papadopoulos is right, the country better strap in and prepare for another political roller coaster ride.