George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide, will stick with his decision to plead guilty to one charge of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos told Breitbart News on Wednesday.
“George will take responsibility for some inaccuracies during the interview with the FBI. I hope though that the judge will take into account the irrelevance of those ‘inaccuracies’ at the purposes of the investigation and the lack of ‘criminal intention,'” she said in a statement.
She had hinted about the possibility of the withdrawal of his guilty plea of making false statements to the FBI, after new information surfaced that suggested he was potentially set up by the FBI. He is set to be sentenced on September 7.
Papadopoulos agreed in October 2017 to plead guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI about when he had met a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, who had told him that the Russians had thousands of “emails of Clinton.”
He had told FBI agents in January 2017 that he met Mifsud before he joined the campaign, but he had actually met Mifsud a week afterward.
The FBI allegedly launched its investigation into the Trump campaign because of Papadopoulos’ conversation with Mifsud, but new information suggests he might have been set up.
Mifsud had reportedly sought out Papadopoulos, then 28, in Italy in March 2016. They both worked at the London Centre of International Law Practice. They met up again in London in April, where Mifsud told Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of “emails of Clinton.”
An Australian diplomat in London, Alexander Downer, then reached out to Papadopoulos, after he made some remarks about Trump in the local media. Papadopoulos told Downer he was told the Russians had dirt on Clinton, though he never mentioned “emails.”
So far, there is no evidence Papadopoulos ever told the Trump campaign about that information. But Downer reportedly went to the U.S., through Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey, after Democratic National Committee emails had been stolen and released on July 22, 2016, and told them what Papadopoulos had told him. The FBI launched its investigation on July 31, 2016.
But since Papadopoulos’ plea deal, it has come to light that an alleged FBI informant, Stefan Halper, had reached out to Trump campaign aide Carter Page as early as June 2016, and invited him to an intelligence seminar in July 11-12, 2016 in London, which he attended. He would maintain communication with Page through September 2017.
Later that summer, Halper would also reach out to Papadopoulos, through a man named Sergei Millian — who is credited by journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn with being one of the sources for the unverified and salacious “golden showers” story in the Christopher Steele dossier.
Halper reportedly offered Papadopoulos $3,000 to write a paper on Cypriot energy issues. He flew Papadopoulos to London and repeatedly questioned him about Russians having “emails” of Clinton’s. He reportedly grew agitated when Papadopoulos said he did not know anything.
The Australian diplomat, Downer, would later tell an audience in London that Papadopoulos never mentioned “emails” to him, so it is unclear how Halper would know to ask Papadopoulos specifically about emails.
Mifsud has also now come under scrutiny by investigative reporters. Although the FBI has suggested he is a Russian spy, some reports say he is well connected to British and Italian intelligence and political operatives.
“Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services,” investigative reporter Lee Smith wrote in May.
One of Mifsud’s closest friends was Gianni Pittella, an Italian senator who had traveled to Philadelphia during the election to convince American voters to oppose President Trump’s election. It was Pittella who first introduced Simona to Mifsud, in 2012, and she would go on to work for Mifsud at the London Centre of International Law, where she would later meet George.
Mifsud also claimed to be a member of the Clinton Foundation.
“I am a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations … and you know which is the only foundation I am member of? The Clinton Foundation,” he told the Italian news outlet Repubblica in November.
The Daily Caller found no evidence he is a “member” of the Clinton Foundation but found evidence he has donated to the foundation twice.
Mifsud also traveled to the U.S. in February 2017 to speak at a State Department “Global Ties” national conference. The conference is sponsored by the State Department’s Office of International Visitors, according to The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland.
FBI officials reportedly interviewed Mifsud during his visit but said they claim they did not detain him due to Papadopoulos’ false statements.
Halper and Mifsud have since both disappeared from public.
Cleveland wrote earlier this month, “It’s time for the FBI to come clean: Who was Mifsud, and what was his role in the launch of Crossfire Hurricane? And did the State Department assist the FBI in handling Mifsud? Congress and the president supposedly hold power over these agencies. They, and we, need the answers.”
Simona, who is an Italian lawyer, told Breitbart News: “Today we know Mifsud hasn’t he proved to be a Russian spy, but definitely are proved his ties to the EU socialist group, the link campus in Rome and the Clinton Foundation. Whatever the role of this shady professor, his background doesn’t fit with the profile of the Russian agent trying to help Trump winning the election.
“The FBI apparently knew about Mifsud already on July 2016 (further Downer reported “the conversation with George ” at the Kensington Wines room; this information was enough to open the Crossfire Hurricane operation but later on February 2017, wasn’t enough to detain Mifsud when he was in the United States, allegedly because of George’s lie during his first interview on January 2017.
“I hope the judge will take into account also these ‘inaccuracies’ instead in order to assess George’s role in this investigation from an objective point of view and yes definitely decide for [zero] jail time.”
To date, several former Trump aides have pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI during interviews, but there have been no charges related to collusion or conspiracy with Russia.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to making a false statement to FBI agents after he was reportedly saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees, threatened with jail time and prosecution of his son.
Other Trump aides have faced thousands of dollars in legal fees. Simona has launched a GoFundMe account for legal expenses earlier this year but said it has not raised enough to fight the charges, especially since the DNC has sued Papadopoulos and others for “conspiracy.”
“Our go fund is barely enough to support the legal representation in the DNC lawsuit. Not enough to challenge the plea agreement,” she said. “On the other hand, George will face his responsibility for his ‘inaccuracies.’ I trust President Trump will ask to declassify all information related to why Mifsud and Downer reached out to George.”
She said the legal and financial challenges have caused a rift between her and her husband’s mother, who she said has been attacking her in tweets as she tries to defend and support her husband.
“Her little campaign against me while I campaign for her son’s freedom!” she said.