Blumenthal: Trump's denial of Russia collusion 'rotten at core'

Blumenthal: Trump's denial of Russia collusion 'rotten at core'

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE on Saturday for his repeated denials of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.

“Trump denial of Russian collusion rotten at core and doomed to unravel,” Blumenthal tweeted Saturday. “Expect more serious convictions and indictments early in 2018 as Special Counsel climbs ladder of criminal culpability - and more panicky, preemptive attacks from Republicans.”

Blumenthal’s remarks come on the heels of a new report detailing how the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election began.

The New York Times reported Saturday that former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE prompted the investigation by drunkenly revealing knowledge of Russian opposition research on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE.

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In May 2016, Papadopoulos allegedly revealed to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russian officials were shopping possible damaging information on Clinton, likely implying that Russian officials were offering the information to the Trump campaign, the Times reported.

Papadopoulos apparently shared information provided to him by Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor with ties to Moscow officials, who told him that the Russians had "thousands of emails" obtained by hackers from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that had yet to be released.

Australian officials informed their U.S. counterparts after leaked DNC emails began to surface online, according to the Times.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI for misrepresenting his communications with Mifsud and Olga Polonskaya, a woman who, along with Mifsud, attempted to broker a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump and other former campaign officials have denied Papadopoulos had a large role in the campaign. One former campaign aide, Michael Caputo, said Papadopoulos was a "coffee boy" who had "nothing to do with the campaign."