FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER ALLEGES “SETUP”
by Sharon Rondeau
Bruce Ohr is a Justice Department official, formerly fourth-in-command, who is known to have met with Christopher Steele, author of the Russia “dossier,” in Washington, DC and communicated with him by text-messaging. Papadopoulos’s revelation is the first the public has been told that Ohr and Steele also allegedly met overseas to this writer’s knowledge.
The “dossier” was compiled at the behest of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign as opposition research on Trump. However, it became the key “evidence” submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by the Justice Department and FBI between October 2016 and June 2017 to request surveillance warrants on another 2016 Trump-campaign adviser, Dr. Carter Page.
Page has not been charged with a crime and recently appeared on “Hannity” to say that neither the FBI nor Justice Department has ever questioned him about his activities during the time frame under which he was under U.S. government surveillance.
Papadopoulos told the FBI that to his knowledge, there was no “collusion” between anyone in the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, an allegation which caused the agency to take the unusual step of opening a counterintelligence operation into a presidential campaign.
Thus far, no specific intelligence has been identified to justify such an investigation, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
In addition to Papadopoulos, several other members of the 2016 Trump aides say that they were approached in 2016 by individuals appearing to wish to lend their expertise to the campaign who in retrospect may have had other motives.
On Friday morning, Papadopoulos, who took a “guilty” plea last year after having been accused of lying to the FBI during questioning as to whether or not anyone in the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives, told Fox & Friends’s Brian Kilmeade that he is seriously considering withdrawing the plea in consultation with his new legal team.
During the interview, Papadopoulos maintained that he was “framed” by apparent FBI operatives who either supplied him with information about Russia and Hillary Clinton’s emails or asked him what he knew, if anything. Papadopoulos also said that an attorney for Joseph Mifsud, who was thought originally to be a Russian operative, said that Mifsud was working on behalf of the FBI when he asked Papadopoulos to meet with him in Rome in 2016.
The sentence meted out to the 31-year-old energy consultant is 14 days in prison, with only one day to actually be served in-house; 200 hours of community service; and a $9,500 fine. Papadopoulos told Kilmeade that he should not have to serve a sentence given that he was “framed in many ways” by the FBI and took the plea at “a chaotic moment.”
Shortly after Mifsud’s meeting with Papadopoulos during which Mifsud alleged that the “Russians” possessed Hillary Clinton’s unreleased emails from her private server, then-Australian ambassador to the UK Alexander Downer, a Clinton Foundation donor, sought out Papadopoulos in a London bar, then reportedly contacted Australian authorities to report that Papadopoulos informed him that “Russians” were in possession of information which could damage Clinton’s campaign.
Papadopoulos has recently revealed that he believes the conversation was recorded without his knowledge. It appears that the conversation became the catalyst for the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
On Thursday, Papadopoulos testified to members of the House Oversight & Government Reform and Judiciary Committees, after which his resolve to clear his name arguably appeared to strengthen, while Oversight Committee member Mark Meadows said that new information continues to surface in the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative meriting DOJ investigation.
Papadopoulos additionally tweeted Saturday that “There is a reason I have the top law firm in NY representing me. It’s not for my defense, but to go on the offensive. I cannot allow this precedent to become the norm in America.”
Later on Saturday evening, Papadopoulos tweeted, “Even BIGGER than Bruce Ohr meeting Christopher Steele shortly after I met Mifsud, Peter Strzok’s old boss, BILL PRIESTAP, was in LONDON, the days before/after I was meeting ALEXANDER DOWNER. No wonder I wasn’t supposed to tell the world Downer was recording my conversation.”
In 2016, Strzok, second-in-command in the FBI’s counterintelligence unit, reported to Priestap, who may be a cooperating congressional witness in the Russia “collusion” and interference investigation assumed from the FBI by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.
Strzok was fired in August, and approximately two dozen other FBI officials have been fired or have resigned since early last year after Trump took office.