Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos suggested in an interview airing Thursday on Hill.TV’s “Rising” that he was entrapped by Western intelligence agencies and ensnared in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as a result.
Papadopoulos, who as a campaign adviser tried unsuccessfully to broker a meeting between President Trump’s campaign and Moscow, pointed to Joseph Mifsud, the London-based professor who told him in 2016 that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — before WikiLeaks began releasing troves of hacked Democratic emails.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Mifsud and other Russia-linked individuals and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation last October.
Mifsud was reportedly known to have high-level contacts in the Kremlin, including Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
It was later revealed that Papadopoulos’ interactions with Mifsud, which he recounted to an Australian diplomat in a London bar, helped trigger the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference.
In September, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to FBI agents about his Russia contacts and has since become more vocal about his case.
Papadopoulos claims on Hill.TV echoed those he has made on Twitter and elsewhere since his sentencing, charging that he was set up by Australian and other Western intelligence agencies in his meeting with Mifsud.
On Thursday, he called it possibly “one of the largest cases of entrapment in history” in an interview with Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton.
Papadopoulos noted that Mifsud has denied any ties to Russia. If that’s true, he argued that he would be the victim of entrapment.
“If he was really not a Russian operative, and it was known to the Russian intelligence community, as some have reported recently, and his own lawyer has stated publicly that he was actually working on behalf of western intelligence, then perhaps this is one of the largest cases of entrapment in history,” Papadopoulos told Hill.TV.
Papadopoulos was sentenced for lying to the FBI for his contact with Mifsud during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Papadopoulos said he would be telling members of two congressional panels he’s set to meet with on Thursday that he was targeted by western intelligence agencies. The former aide did not spell out which intelligence agencies he believed had set him up, or whether they were American.
“What I’m going to really detail are the names of the individuals who I believe targeted me at the behest of western intelligence that perhaps were masquerading as Russian operatives,” Papadopoulos told Sexton.
“I have never really gone public and named the people, and what the specific with these individuals were about,” he said. “Some parts of my story are definitely public, other parts are still very private.”
Papadopoulos is testifying before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees on Thursday. Republicans on both committees have accused the FBI of bias in its investigation of President Trump’s campaign and Russia, and are likely to seize on the closed-door testimony in their probe.