After spending more than a year in hock to the FBI, former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has finally received his sentence - 14 days in federal prison - for allegedly deceiving investigators pursuing operation Crossfire Hurricane, the bureau's official pre-Mueller probe into potentially illicit connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And with his involvement with the investigation behind him, Papadopoulos is free for the first time to share his side of the story with the press. And share he has.
In a pair of interviews with CNN and ABC, Pap offered convincing rebuttals to allegations that he provided the initial spark that ignited the Russia probe, and - more importantly -that he informed Trump campaign operatives about Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud's claims that Russia had unspecified "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
While Papadopoulos readily admits to telling then-candidate Trump and other senior campaign officials about his efforts to organize a summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the now-infamous March 2016 meeting of the Trump campaign's national security advisors, he eagerly pushed back against allegations that he told campaign officials about the alleged "dirt", arguing that, at the time, he harbored doubts about Mifsud's credibility and the legitimacy of his claims. Pap also pointed out that if he had indeed informed John Mashburn about Mifsud's claims via email - as Mashburn testified - then that email would've been produced as evidence (and, we imagine, probably been leaked to the press). But alas, no such email has ever been entered into evidence.