Donald Trump described George Papadopolous as an “excellent guy.” That was when Trump chose him to serve on his foreign policy advisory council during the campaign. That was a council led by Jeff Sessions. Now that Papadopolous has plead guilty to federal charges involving collusion with Russia, Trump describes Papadopolous as a mere “young, low level volunteer,” whom he claimed “few people knew.”
The crime Papadopoulos plead guilty to was lying to the FBI about being offered “dirt” from the Russian government regarding Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.
The frightening thing for Trump is that this “excellent guy” has been cooperating with Mueller since the July arrest of Papadopolous. Now, in an effort to minimize the involvement of this member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory council, Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo described Papadopoulos as “a coffee boy” for the campaign.
When asked about a photograph showing Papadopoulos at a meeting with Trump and Sessions, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday dismissed it, saying that “the president has thousands of photographs with millions of people.” Sanders has had her plate overloaded, trying to distance Trump from Papadopoulos.
According to The Washington Post, Trump was “fuming” and expressing “exasperation and disgust” while watching television reports about the indictments. Trump then explained that Manafort’s indictment vindicated the Donald because the conspiracy and money laundering charges against Manafort “took place long before he came to the campaign.”
The problem with that excuse is that the indictment, which details how Manafort concealed profits from lobbying for pro-Russia groups, covers activities up to and including this year. That means after the election of Trump as President.