An October guilty plea by former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos could mean the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.
On Monday morning, a guilty plea entered by Papadopoulos on October 5 was unsealed, in which the former advisor to the Trump campaign admitted lying to federal investigators about a series of emails between Trump campaign apparatchiks and Kremlin-connected Russian officials. Papadopoulos was tasked with arranging the meeting between Team Trump and the Russians in order to discuss American-Russian relations during a Trump presidency.
According to court documents, Papadopoulos’ supervisor told him that he did “great work” in arranging the meeting with the Russians who promised damaging information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos was initially arrested in July, and entered his plea in October. The indictment specifically mentions that Papadopulos sought to conceal evidence of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign from federal prosectors.
“Through his false statements and omissions, defendant … impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” court documents read.
Perhaps the most explosive detail from the Papadopoulos documents is that, according to the timeline of events, Papadopoulos told then-candidate Trump at a March 31, 2016 meeting in Washington, DC that he had made a connection with someone who could arrange a face-to-face meeting with Trump and Putin. The date of that admission is important, as the change Trump campaign officials ordered to the Republican Party platform about Ukraine came five months later.
The Washington Post reported that among the false statements Papadopoulos made to federal investigators, one of those lies referred to a Russian woman he met after joining the Trump campaign in 2016. The woman revealed herself to be the niece of Russian President Vladimir Putin, though Papadopoulos told federal investigators at the time that the woman was not a person of importance, despite her ties to senior Russian government officials.
While the first indictments against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates weren’t directly implicating the Trump administration, the Papadopoulos plea is. The fact that Papdopoulos is cooperating with federal investigators almost assuredly means that other top campaign officials within the Trump administration — including members of Trump’s family — could be charged in the near future.
In a Monday morning tweet, President Trump flatly denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and agents of the Russian government, despite the guilty plea specifically mentioning the suppression of evidence of said collusion.
….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.