President Donald Trump’s former foreign policy aide, George Papadopoulos, claims that he was a victim of spying by certain people within the Australian, UK, and U.S. intelligence communities ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
George Papadopoulos says he feels vindicated after the release of a summary of Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling.
Mueller, according to the summary, concluded there was no evidence that Trump and members of the president’s election campaign, including Papadopoulos, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government ahead of the election.
“The witch hunt is over,” Papadopoulos, Trump’s former campaign foreign policy aide, told AAP on Sunday.
“I plan on going on the offensive and hope the president does too.
“Declassification of surveillance material is paramount.”
Papadopoulos has been refuting Australian diplomat and former politician Alexander Downer’s claim that he was the one to inform Downer as then Australian high commissioner to the UK about Russia’s alleged possession of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Downer, in an interview with The Australian newspaper last year, claimed Papadopoulos told him that Russia might use “damaging” material they had on Trump presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election during a meeting in a London bar in May 2016 before Donald Trump’s 2016 election win. Downer’s assistant, Erika Thompson, was also at the meeting. Papadopoulos has since claimed that Thompson maybe an Australian intelligence officer.
Downer said he was the one to pass that information back to Canberra “the following day or a day or two.”
The Wall Street Journal, quoting a diplomatic source, also reported that Downer was the one to pass on Papadopoulos’s Russia information directly to the U.S. embassy in London.
The meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer is credited as one of the triggers for the FBI investigation that led to Mueller’s probe.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 6, 2018
The 31-year-old former Trump aide has been saying that he believes Downer’s claim about the email information—which was actually revealed to him by a Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud who has since been accused of working for the FBI and Western intelligence agencies—was part of an elaborate plan by anti-Trump intelligence operatives to frame him and provide the FBI with the reason to proceed with the investigation into allegations of Russia collusion by the Trump campaign.
Get ready to see what I have been telling the world about Alexander Downer being used as a weaponized asset against me. https://t.co/F405Zdb1qy
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 24, 2019
Another example of UK incompetence or complicity? Here is Joseph Mifsud a year after I notified the FBI that he was a “suspected Russian agent” with none other than the British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson. Strange that a “Russian agent” gets such access to the top in the UK. pic.twitter.com/39J4PKv7RF
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) October 14, 2018
The person who introduced me to western intelligence asset, Joseph Mifsud, also introduced Alison Saunders (the UKs top prosecutor) to Bruce Ohr 4 days before the Trump tower meeting. I expose this person in my book. U.K. is the epicenter of the coup attempt of last 2 years.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 24, 2019
Mueller’s team arrested Papadopoulos on July 27, 2017, at an airport on the same day that Mueller was informed of the discovery of shocking phone texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The texts discussed an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely event” that Trump would win the election. Strzok was the FBI agent responsible for the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to send classified information.
After his arrest, Papadopoulos was sentenced to jail for 14 days when he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in early 2017 about his contact with Russian nationals and Mifsud. Papadopoulos was one of Mueller’s first prosecutions.
Papadopolous’s book “Deep State Target” will be released on Tuesday, March 26, and details his account of dealings with Downer, Thompson, Trump, and others.
Sergei Millian, Joseph Mifsud, Charles Tawil, Alexander Downer, Stefan Halper, Azra Turk, “Putin’s niece”, a spy school and many more characters get analyzed in my forthcoming book: Deep State Target. Available for pre order now, in stores next month! https://t.co/yLe2q2bcfV
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) February 7, 2019
In September last year, Trump wrote on Twitter “key allies” had asked him not to release classified FBI documents related to the probe into Russian influence.
Papadopoulos believes the allies were elements within Australia and the UK and he wants their involvement to be made public.
“While the (Mueller) report is likely mired in classified material, and most will likely never be revealed to the public, I do hope what is public is what Alexander Downer’s and Erika Thompson’s roles were and why Downer has become so protected,” Papadopoulos said.
Papadopoulos also says that U.S. congressional sources revealed to him that a transcript exists of his London bar conversation with Downer, according to AAP. A transcript would prove Downer taped their conversation without his knowledge, he said.
Information from Alexander Downer was what sparked the FBI to open their counterintelligence investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign
Downer is said to have close connections with Bill and Hillary Clinton and arranged for the Australian government to pay A$25 million to the Bill Clinton foundation to fight AIDS in Papua New Guinea and South East Asia in 2006 when Downer was foreign minister. The humanitarian projects that came out of the funding helped thousands of HIV-infected patients gain access to antiretroviral AIDS medications, winning much praise, but was also criticised by auditors for “management weakness” and inadequate oversight of the budget, records have shown.
As foreign minister, Downer also oversaw the Australian Secret Intelligence Service at the time of the East Timor spying scandal. After leaving politics, he became a board member for Huawei Australia with John Lord and John Brumby. Downer resigned from the board in 2014.
Downer had previously avoided engaging in Papadopoulos’s spying accusation, telling BBC radio last year: “I’m not going to get into these sort of allegations.”
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has not denied Papadopoulos’s account of his interaction with Downer in previously media interviews and told The New York Times in January 2018 that he was not concerned over the revelation as Australia’s relationship with the United States was in “excellent shape.”
“The government won’t be making additional comments on a matter that relates to an ongoing investigation in the U.S.,” he said at the time. “So we’ve got nothing further to add to that.”
Trump told reporters at the White House on March 20 that he would have no problem if the full report was made public.
“Let it come out, let people see it,” Trump said.
Top Democrats are also asking for the full report to be made public.
With reporting by AAP US Correspondent Peter Mitchell
Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that George Papadopoulos made the claim that Erika Thompson maybe an Australian intelligence officer.
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