George Papadopoulos was a campaign adviser for President Donald Trump. According to The Chicago Tribune, Papadopoulos sent emails to seven campaign officials during the 2016 election with the subject line:”Meeting with Russian Leadership — Including Putin.”
The Chicago Tribune adds that Papadopoulos’ proposal “sent a ripple” through the President’s campaign headquarters, many of whom feared that it was a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which forbids U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.
Here’s what you need to know about Papadopoulos:
1. He Worked As a Research Associate at the Hudson Institute from 2011-15
Papadopoulos was born in Chicago, Illinois. According to Greek Reporter, however, both of his parents hail from Thessaloniki, Greece. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Arts & Government with an Emphasis on International Political Economy at DePaul University in 2009, and would go on to get his Master of Science (MSc) & Security Studies at University College London in 2010. According to his Linkedin account, his dissertation focused on the effects of low governance and state capacity levels in the Middle East.
“After completing my MSc from University College London with honors,” Papadopoulos writes on his Linkedn bio, “I was accepted to the London School of Economics for a second MSc in International Political Economy (9% acceptance rate). I ultimately decided to work in the policy arena in Washington D.C. after my studies in London. From March 2011 to September 2015, I worked as a Research Associate at the world renowned think tank, Hudson Institute.”
During his time at the Hudson Institute, Papadopoulos’ responsibilities including being in charge of an Eastern Mediterranean Energy Security project, analyzing the impact of the Caspian hydrocarbon reserves on “regional energy security”, and serving as a liaison between various countries, including Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Greece.
Richard Weitz, a Senior Fellow at Hudson, said that “George is a very productive, outgoing, and enthusiastic member of our team. He is knowledgable about a range of issues and always eager to learn more. George would be a great asset to any team.”
2. He Worked for Both Trump & Dr. Ben Carson During the 2016 Presidential Campaign
When the 2016 Presidential Election was gearing up, Papadopoulos first worked as an adviser to the campaign of Dr. Ben Carson. He served Carson from November 2015 to February 2016, during which time Carson said he was “A distinguished individual.” Papadopoulos eventually switched to the Trump team in May 2016, where her performed similar tasks in the campaign.
On his Linkedin account, he further outlines his credentials regarding geopolitics: “Along with the U.S. State Department nominating me as a top five finalist to represent the United States at the 2011 emerging leaders UNESCO forum in Paris, France, I have been invited to participate in policy and oil and gas conferences in the U.S., Europe and Middle East. In Washington D.C, I have spoken at the Washington Times forum on the geopolitics of the energy trade from the eastern Mediterranean.”
Papadopoulos was officially announced as part of Trump’s team in an article released by The Washington Post that same year.
3. He Specialized in Oil & Gas Consulting During Trump’s Campaign
Since Trump has taken office, Papadopoulos has been listed as an independent oil, gas, and policy consultant. On a conference call with The Washington Post, Trump was quoted as saying “George is an oil and gas consultant; excellent guy.”
In an interview with Interfax in 2016, Papdopoulos discussed the state of relations between the U.S. and Russia, saying that the Obama administration promised cooperation with Russia but not followed through. He went on to explain the differences between Obama’s approach and that of President Trump, saying:
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[The] Obama administration was declaring it [the intent to cooperate] without taking concrete actions. There was no practical cooperation, and their words differed from their actions. That is why Russia does not believe in American promises, and the atmosphere of mutual confidence has been lost. Trump, if elected president, will restore the trust.
4. He Told Officials That He Was Acting as an ‘Intermediary’ for the Russian Government
Papadopoulos told campaign officials at the time that he was acting as an “intermediary” between Trump and the Russian government. As is noted by The Washington Post, however, the documents currently under inspection by the offer no concrete reasoning as to why a meeting would benefit either party.
“While the emails illustrate his eagerness to strengthen the campaign’s connections to the Russian Government,” The Washington Post notes, “Papadopoulos does not spell out in them why it would be in Trump’s interest to do so.” Additionally, these uncovered documents came three months before the President’s son, Donald Trump, Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a delegation led by a Russian lawyer who provided damaging information against Trump’s former opponent, Hillary Clinton.
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It currently appears that there are no connections between Papadopoulos’ requests and this later meeting involving Trump Jr. and Kushner.
5. According to New Documents, He Made at Least 6 Attempts to Have Trump Meet with Russia
Between March and September 2016, NY Daily News reveals that Papadopoulos made at least half-a-dozen requests for Trump to meet with the Russians. These requests led to several of the other members on Trump’s staff to voice their concern, including campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, legal adviser and retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected one of Papadopoulos’ requests in May.
NY Daily News adds that these are among more than 20,000 pages of documents that the Trump campaign has recently turned over to congressional committees.
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Papadopoulos’ recorded attempts to contact Russian officials were reportedly read to The Post by a person who had access to them, and were promptly confirmed by two additional sources.
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