Wife of Papadopoulos interviews with House Intel Dems

Wife of Papadopoulos interviews with House Intel Dems

The wife of former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosUS attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Flynn, Papadopoulos to speak at event preparing 'social media warriors' for 'digital civil war' MORE participated Wednesday in a voluntary interview with Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos appearance on Capitol Hill comes after she has increasingly become her husband’s public defender since he pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators last year. He is said to be cooperating with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE as part of the investigation into Russian interference.

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Mangiante Papadopoulos is the second witness to cooperate with Democrats on the panel, who have vowed to continue to conduct witness interviews even after their GOP colleagues decided to conclude its Russia probe in March.

In an usual showing, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiProgressives call for impeachment inquiry after reported Kavanaugh allegations The promise and peril of offshoring prescription drug pricing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.), an ex-officio member of the Intel panel, said she had a quick word with the witness behind the closed-door space where Mangiante was being interviewed. 

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“Welcome, and we seek the truth, and we wish the Republicans would have enabled this to happen in a bipartisan way,” Pelosi said, recalling what she said to Mangiante.

The top House Democrat added that her Republican colleagues have “refused’ to hear from “scores of witnesses” like Mangiante, as well as Maria Butina, the Russian woman who was indicted this week for working as a foreign agent in the U.S. on behalf of the Kremlin.  

Mangiante Papadopoulos defended her husband, saying he tried to set up a meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE and Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of his job as a foreign policy adviser, but “nothing else.”

“He has done everything in the interest of the country and he is being completely truthful and cooperating and now we wait for the verdict of the jury,” she told reporters after leaving the four-hour interview, adding that he would likely be willing to also interview with members of Congress.

Mangiante Papadopoulos said she also answered questions about her time working for Joseph Mifsud, the London-based professor that prosecutors allege was the link that connected Papadopoulos and Kremlin officials.

When asked by The Hill if members of the Trump campaign ever encouraged her husband to make contact with Russia, she said that is “beyond her knowledge.”

In television appearances as well as on her Twitter account, she has called on Trump to pardon her husband, who she says has been unfairly targeted because of his role on the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos’s wife has also created a GoFundMe page that is looking to raise $75,000 to help pay off the couple's legal fees. “His role in the ‘Russia Investigation’ has been profoundly misunderstood and abused,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page, which has raised $470 to date.

Republicans, who want nothing to do with additional Russia-related interviews since they voted along party lines to end the probe in March, refused to grant Democrats access to the committees for their interviews, according to a committee source.

This forced Democrats on the panel to interview the witness in an unsecured room within a House congressional building, rather than the committee’s secure committee space that is typically used for the panel’s witness interviews.

“They will not allow us to use any committee spaces or transcription services, which are provided for free to House committees. We have to not only schedule rooms, but [also] get transcription services from the leader’s office as an ex-officio member,” the source said, referring to Pelosi.

The White House has sought to distance itself from George Papadopoulos, describing him as a low-level “coffee boy” who did not have access or power within the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos, however, has emerged as a central figure in the Russia investigation after he told an Australian diplomat in London that the Russians had damaging information on Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDershowitz: 'Too many politicians are being subject to criminal prosecution' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE -- remarks that were then shared with the FBI.

The FBI began investigating ties between the Trump campaign contacts and Moscow during the 2016 election, and it is believed that George Papadopoulos’ remarks about Clinton dirt played a role in launching the counterintelligence probe that Mueller is now leading.