2. George Papadopoulos
George Papadopoulos was a foreign policy advisor to the Trump Campaign from March 2016 to early October 2016. In late April 2016, Papadopoulos was told by London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, immediately after Mifsud 's return from a trip to Moscow, that the Russian government had obtained" dirt'' on candidate Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. One week later, on May 6, 2016, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to candidate Clinton.
Papadopoulos information about Russian" dirt'' with people outside of the Campaign, and the Office investigated whether he also provided it to a Campaign official. Papadopoulos and the Campaign officials with whom he interacted told the Office that they did ยท not recall that Papadopoulos passed them the information. Throughout the relevant period of time and for several months thereafter, Papadopoulos worked with Mifsud and two Russian nationals to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government. That meeting never came to pass.
a. Origins of Campaign Work
In March 2016, Papadopoulos became a foreign policy advisor to the Trump Campaign. As early as the summer of 2015, he had sought a role as a policy advisor to the Campaign but, in a September 30, 2015 email, he was told that the Campaign was not hiring policy advisors. In late 2015, Papadopoulos obtained a paid position on the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.
Although Carson remained in the presidential race until early March 20 I 6, Papadopoulos had stopped actively working for his campaign by early February 2016. At that time, Papadopoulos reached out to a contact at the London Centre of International Law Practice( LCILP), which billed itself as a" unique institution... comprising high-level professional international law practitioners, dedicated to the advancement of global legal knowledge and the practice of international law.'' Papadopoulos said that he had finished his role with the Carson campaign and asked if LCILP was hiring. In early February, Papadopoulos agreed to join LCILP and arrived in London to begin work.
As he was taking his position at LCILP, Papadopoulos contacted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski via LinkedIn and emailed campaign official Michael Glassner about his interest in joining the Trump Campaign. On March 2, 2016, Papadopoulos sent Glassner another message reiterating his interest. Glassner passed along word of Papadopoulos 's interest to another campaign official, Joy Lutes, who notified Papadopoulos by email that she had been told by Glassner to introduce Papadopoulos to Sam Clovis, the Trump Campaign 's national cochair and chief policy advisor.
At the time of Papadopoulos 's March 2 email, the media was criticizing the Trump Campaign for lack of experienced foreign policy or national security advisors within its ranks. To address that issue, senior Campaign officials asked Clovis to put a foreign policy team together on short notice. After receiving Papadopoulos 's name from Lutes, Clovis performed a Google search on Papadopoulos, learned that he had worked at the Hudson Institute, and believed that he had credibility on energy issues. On March 3, 2016, Clovis arranged to speak with Papadopoulos by phone to discuss Papadopoulos joining the Campaign as a foreign policy advisor, and on March 6, 2016, the two spoke. Papadopoulos recalled that Russia was mentioned as a topic, and he understood from the conversation that Russia would be an important aspect of the Campaign 's foreign policy. At the end of the conversation, Clovis offered Papadopoulos a role as a foreign policy advisor to the Campaign, and Papadopoulos accepted the offer.
b. Initial Russia-Related Contacts
Approximately a week after signing on as a foreign policy advisor, Papadopoulos traveled to Rome, Italy, as part of his duties with LCILP. The purpose of the trip was to meet officials affiliated with Link Campus University; a for-profit institution headed by a former Italian government official. During the visit, Papadopoulos was introduced to Joseph Mifsud.
Mifsud is a Maltese national who worked as a professor at the London Academy of Diplomacy in London, England. Although Mifsud worked out of London and was also affiliated with LCILP, the encounter in Rome was the first time that Papadopoulos met him. Mifsud maintained various Russian contacts while living in London, as described further below. Among his contacts was[ REDACTED-INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE], a one-time employee of the IRA, the entity that carried out the Russian social media campaign( see Volume I Section II, supra). In January and February 2016, Mifsud and[ REDACTED-INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE] discussed[ REDACTED-INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE] possibly meeting in Russia. The investigation did not identify evidence of them meeting. Later, in the spring of 2016,[ REDACTED-INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE] was also in contact[ REDACTED-INVESTIGATIVE TECHNIQUE] that was linked to an employee of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and that account had overlapping contacts with a group of Russian military controlled Facebook accounts that included accounts used to promote the DCLeaks releases in the course of the GRU 's hack-and-release operations( see Volume I, Section III.B .1, supra).
According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud at first seemed uninterested in Papadopoulos when they met in Rome .416 After Papadopoulos informed Mifsud about his role in the Trump Campaign, however, Mifsud appeared to take greater interest in Papadopoulos. The two discussed Mifsud 's European and Russian contacts and had a general discussion about Russia; Mifsud also offered to introduce Papadopoulos to European leaders and others with contacts to the Russian government. Papadopoulos told the Office that Mifsud 's claim of substantial connections with Russian government officials interested Papadopoulos, who thought that such connections could increase his importance as a policy advisor to the Trump Campaign.
On March 17, 2016, Papadopoulos returned to London. Four days later, candidate Trump publicly named him as a member of the foreign policy and national security advisory team chaired by Senator Jeff Sessions, describing Papadopoulos as" an oil and energy consultant'' and an''[ e] xcellent guy." 421
On March 24, 2016, Papadopoulos met with Mifsud in London. Mifsud was accompanied by a Russian female named Olga Polonskaya. Mifsud introduced Polonskaya as a former student of his who had connections to Vladimir Putin. Papadopoulos understood at the time that Polonskaya may have been Putin 's niece but later learned that this was not true. During the meeting, Polonskaya offered to help Papadopoulos establish contacts in Russia and stated that the Russian ambassador in London was a friend of hers. Based on this interaction, Papadopoulos expected Mifsud and Polonskaya to introduce him to the Russian ambassador in London, but that did not occur.
Following his meeting with Mifsud, Papadopoulos sent an email to members of the Trump Campaign 's foreign policy advisory team. The subject line of the message was" Meeting with Russian leadership-- including Putin.'' The message stated in pertinent part:
I just finished a very productive lunch with a good friend of mine, Joseph Mifsud, the director of the London Academy of Diplomacy-- who introduced me to both Putin 's niece and the Russian Ambassador in London-- who also acts as the Deputy Foreign Minister.
The topic of the lunch was to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump. They are keen to host us in a" neutral'' city, or directly in Moscow. They said the leadership, including Putin, is ready to meet with us and Mr. Trump should there be interest. Waiting for everyone 's thoughts on moving forward with this very important issue.
Papadopoulos 's message came at a time when Clovis perceived a shift in the Campaign 's approach toward Russia-from one of engaging with Russia through the NA TO framework and takin a strong stance on Russian aggression in Ukraine,[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY].
Clovis 's response to Papadopoulos, however, did not reflect that shift. Replying to Papadopoulos and the other members of the foreign policy advisory team copied on the initial email, Clovis wrote:
This is most informative. Let me work it through the campaign. No commitments until we see how this plays out. My thought is that we probably should not go forward with any meetings with the Russians until we have had occasion to sit with our NATO allies, especially France, Germany and Great Britain. We need to reassure our allies that we are not going to advance anything with Russia until we have everyone on the same page.
More thoughts later today. Great work.
c. March 31 Foreign Policy Team Meeting
The Campaign held a meeting of the foreign policy advisory team with Senator Sessions and candidate Trump approximately one week later, on March 31, 2016, in Washington, D.C.. The meeting-which was intended to generate press coverage for the Campaign took place at the Trump International Hotel. Papadopoulos flew to Washington for the event. At the meeting, Senator Sessions sat at one end of an oval table, while Trump sat at the other. As reflected in the photograph below( which was posted to Trump 's Instagram account), Papadopoulos sat between the two, two seats to Sessions 's left:
During the meeting, each of the newly announced foreign policy advisors introduced themselves and briefly described their areas of experience or expertise. Papadopoulos spoke about his previous work in the energy sector and then brought up a potential meeting with Russian officials. Specifically, Papadopoulos told the group that he had learned through his contacts in London that Putin wanted to meet with candidate Trump and that these connections could help arrange that meeting.
Trump and Sessions both reacted to Papadopoulos 's statement. Papadopoulos and Campaign advisor J.D. Gordon- who told investigators in an interview that he had a" crystal clear'' recollection of the meeting-have stated that Trump was interested in and receptive to the idea of a meeting with Putin. Papadopoulos understood Sessions to be similarly supportive of his efforts to arrange a meeting. Gordon and two other attendees, however, recall that Sessions generally opposed the proposal, though they differ in their accounts of the concerns he voiced or the strength of the opposition he expressed.
d. George Papadopoulos Learns That Russia Has" Dirt'' in the Form of Clinton Emails
Whatever Sessions 's precise words at the March 31 meeting, Papadopoulos did not understand Sessions or anyone else in the Trump Campaign to have directed that he refrain from making further efforts to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government. To the contrary, Papadopoulos told the Office that he understood the Campaign to be supportive of his efforts to arrange such a meeting .441 Accordingly, when he returned to London, Papadopoulos resumed those efforts.
Throughout April 2016, Papadopoulos continued to correspond with, meet with, and seek Russia contacts through Mifsud and, at times, Polonskaya. For example, within a week of her initial March 24 meeting with him, Polonskaya attempted to send Papadopoulos a text message which email exchanges show to have been drafted or edited by Mifsud-addressing Papadopoulos ' s" wish to engage with the Russian Federation.'' When Papadopoulos learned from Mifsud that Polonskaya had tried to message him, he sent her an email seeking another meeting. Polonskaya responded the next day that she was" back in St. Petersburg'' but" would be very pleased to support[ Papadopoulos 's] initiatives between our two countries'' and" to meet[ him] again.'' Papadopoulos stated in reply that he thought" a good step'' would be to introduce him to" the Russian Ambassador in London,'' and that he would like to talk to the ambassador," or anyone else you recommend, about a potential foreign policy trip to Russia.''
Mifsud, who had been copied on the email exchanges, replied on the morning of April 11, 2016. He wrote," This is already been agreed. I am flying to Moscow on the 18th for a Valdai meeting, plus other meetings at the Duma. We will talk tomorrow.'' The two bodies referenced by Mifsud are part of or associated with the Russian government: the Duma is a Russian legislative assembly, while" Valdai'' refers to the Valdai Discussion Club, a Moscow-based group that" is close to Russia 's foreign-policy establishment.'' Papadopoulos thanked Mifsud and said that he would see him" tomorrow.'' For her part, Polonskaya responded that she had" already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request,'' that" we are all very excited the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump,'' and that''[ t] he Russian Federation would love to welcome him once his candidature would be officially announced.''
Papadopoulos 's and Mifsud 's mentions of seeing each other" tomorrow'' referenced a meeting that the two had scheduled for the next morning, April 12, 2016, at the Andaz Hotel in London. Papadopoulos acknowledged the meeting during interviews with the Office, records from Papadopoulos 's UK cellphone and his internet-search history all indicate that the meeting took place.
Following the meeting, Mifsud traveled as planned to Moscow. On April 18, 2016, while in Russia, Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos over email to Ivan Timofeev, a member of the Russian International Affairs( RIAC). Mifsud had described Timofeev as having connections with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs( MFA) ,457 the executive entity in Russia responsible for Russian foreign relations. Over the next several weeks, Papadopoulos and Timofeev had multiple conversations over Skype and email about setting" the groundwork'' for a" potential'' meeting between the Campaign and Russian government officials. Papadopoulos told the Office that, on one Skype call, he believed that his conversation with Timofeev was being monitored or supervised by an unknown third party, because Timofeev spoke in an official manner and Papadopoulos heard odd noises on the line. Timofeev also told Papadopoulos in an April 25, 2016 email that he had just spoken" to Igor Ivanov[,] the President of RIAC and former Foreign Minister of Russia,'' and conveyed Ivanov 's advice about how best to arrange a" Moscow visit." 461
After a stop in Rome, Mifsud returned to England on April 25, 2016. The next day, Papadopoulos met Mifsud for breakfast at the Andaz Hotel( the same location as their last meeting). During that meeting, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow. Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained" dirt'' on candidate Hillary Clinton. As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI, Mifsud said that the" dirt'' was in the form of" emails of Clinton,'' and that they" have thousands of emails.'' On May 6, 2016, 10 days after that meeting with Mifsud, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.
e. Russia-Related Communications With The Campaign
While he was discussing with his foreign contacts a potential meeting of campaign officials with Russian government officials, Papadopoulos kept campaign officials apprised of his efforts. On April 25, 2016, the day before Mifsud told Papadopoulos about the emails, Papadopoulos wrote to senior policy advisor Stephen Miller that''[ t] he Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready,'' and that''[ t] he advantage of being in London is that these governments tend to speak a bit more openly in` neutral' cities.'' On April 27, 2016, after his meeting with Mifsud, Papadopoulos wrote a second message to Miller stating that" some interesting messages[ were] coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.'' The same day, Papadopoulos sent a similar email to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, telling Lewandowski that Papadopoulos had" been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host[ Trump] and the team when the time is right.''
Papadopoulos ' s Russia-related communications with Campaign officials continued throughout the spring and summer of 2016. On May 4, 2016, he forwarded to Lewandowski an email from Timofeev raising the possibility of a meeting in Moscow, asking Lewandowski whether that was" something we want to move forward with.'' The next day, Papadopoulos forwarded the same Timofeev email to Sam Clovis, adding to the top of the email" Russia update.'' He included the same email in a May 21, 2016 message to senior Campaign official Paul Manafort, under the subject line" Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump,'' stating that" Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss.'' Manafort forwarded the message to another Campaign official, without including Papadopoulos, and stated:" Let['] s discuss. We need someone to communicate that[ Trump] is ยท not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the Campaign so as not to send any signal.''
On June 1, 2016, Papadopoulos replied to an earlier email chain with Lewandowski about a Russia visit, asking if Lewandowski" want[ ed] to have a call about this topic'' and whether" we were following up with it.'' After Lewandowski told Papadopoulos to" connect with'' Clovis because he was" running point,'' Papadopoulos emailed Clovis that" the Russian MF A'' was asking him" if Mr. Trump is interested in visiting Russia at some point.'' Papadopoulos wrote in an email that he''[ w] anted to pass this info along to you for you to decide what 's best to do with it and what message I should send( or to ignore).''
After several email and Skype exchanges with Timofeev, Papadopoulos sent one more email to Lewandowski on June 19, 2016, Lewandowski 's last day as campaign manager. The email stated that''[ t] he Russian ministry of foreign affairs'' had contacted him and asked whether, if Mr. Trump could not travel to Russia, a campaign representative such as Papadopoulos could attend meetings. Papadopoulos told Lewandowski that he was" willing to make the trip off the record if it 's in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.''
Following Lewandowski 's departure from the Campaign, Papadopoulos communicated with Clovis and Walid Phares, another member of the foreign policy advisory team, about an off the-record meeting between the Campaign and Russian government officials or with Papadopoulos 's other Russia connections, Mifsud and Timofeev. Papadopoulos also interacted directly with Clovis and Phares in connection with the summit of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counterterrorism( TAG), a group for which Phares was co-secretary general. On July 16, 2016, Papadopoulos attended the TAG summit in Washington, D.C., where he sat next to Clovis( as reflected in the photograph below).
Although Clovis claimed to have no recollection of attending the TAG summit, Papadopoulos remembered discussing Russia and a foreign policy trip with Clovis and Phares during the event. Papadopoulos 's recollection is consistent with emails sent before and after the TAG summit. The pre-summit messages included a July 11, 2016 email in which Phares suggested meeting Papadopoulos the day after the summit to chat, and a July 12 message in the same chain in which Phares advised Papadopoulos that other summit attendees" are very nervous about Russia. So be aware.'' Ten days after the summit, Papadopoulos sent an email to Mifsud listing Phares and Clovis as other" participants'' in a potential meeting at the London Academy of Diplomacy.
Finally, Papadopoulos 's recollection is also consistent with handwritten notes from a journal that he kept at the time. Those notes, which are reprinted in part below, appear to refer to potential September 2016 meetings in London with representatives of the" office of Putin,'' and suggest that Phares, Clovis, and Papadopoulos(" Walid/Sam me'') would attend without the official backing of the Campaign(" no official letter/no message from Trump'').
Later communications indicate that Clovis determined that he( Clovis) could not travel. On August 15, 2016, Papadopoulos emailed Clovis that he had received requests from multiple foreign governments," even Russia,'' for" closed door workshops/consultations abroad,'' and asked whether there was still interest for Clovis, Phares, and Papadopoulos" to go on that trip.'' Clovis copied Phares on his response, which said that he could not" travel before the election'' but that he" would encourage[ Papadopoulos] and Walid to make the trips, if it is feasible.''
Papadopoulos was dismissed from the Trump Campaign in early October 2016, after an interview he gave to the Russian news agency Inter/ax generated adverse publicity.
f. Trump Campaign Knowledge of" Dirt''
Papadopoulos admitted telling at least one individual outside of the Campaignspecifically, the then-Greek foreign minister-about Russia 's obtaining Clinton-related emails. In addition, a different foreign government informed the FBI that, 10 days after meeting with Mifsud in late April 2016, Papadopoulos suggested that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.( This conversation occurred after the GRU spearphished Campaign chairman John Podesta and stole his emails, and the GRU hacked into the DCCC and DNC, see Volume l, Sections III.A & III.B, supra.) Such disclosures raised questions about whether Papadopoulos informed any Trump Campaign official about the emails.
When interviewed, Papadopoulos and the Campaign officials who interacted with him told the Office that they could not recall Papadopoulos 's the information that Russia had obtained" dirt'' on candidate in the form of emails or that Russia could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information about Clinton. Papadopoulos stated that he could not clearly recall having told anyone on the Campaign and wavered about whether he accurately remembered an incident in which Clovis had been upset after hearing Papadopoulos tell Clovis that Papadopoulos thought" they have her emails.'' The Campaign officials who interacted or corresponded with Papadopoulos have similarly stated, with varying degrees of certainty, that he did not tell them. Senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, for example, did not remember hearing anything from Papadopoulos or Clovis about Russia having emails of or dirt on candidate . Clovis stated that he did not recall anyone, including Papadopoulos, having given him non-public information that a foreign government might be in possession of material damaging to Hillary Clinton.[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY].[ REDACTED-GRAND JURY]. No documentary evidence, and nothing in the email accounts or other communications facilities reviewed by the Office, shows that Papadopoulos this information with the Campaign.
g. Additional George Papadopoulos Contact
The Office investigated another Russia-related contact with Papadopoulos. The Office was not fully able to explore the contact because the individual at issue-Sergei Millian-remained out of the country since the inception of our investigation and declined to meet with members of the Office despite our repeated efforts to obtain an interview.
Papadopoulos first connected with Millian via LinkedIn on July 15, 2016, shortly after Papadopoulos had attended the TAG Summit with Clovis. Millian, an American citizen who is a native of Belarus, introduced himself" as president of[ the] New York-based Russian American Chamber of Commerce,'' and claimed that through that position he had" insider knowledge and direct access to the top hierarchy in Russian politics." 501 Papadopoulos asked Timofeev whether he had heard of Millian. Although Timofeev said no, Papadopoulos met Millian in New York City. The meetings took place on July 30 and August 1, 2016. Afterwards, Millian invited Papadopoulos to attend-and potentially speak at-two international energy conferences, including one that was to be held in Moscow in September 2016. Papadopoulos ultimately did not attend either conference.
On July 31, 2016, following his first in-person meeting with Millian, Papadopoulos emailed Trump Campaign official Bo Denysyk to say that he had been contacted" by some leaders of Russian-American voters here in the US about their interest in voting for Mr. Trump,'' and to ask whether he should" put you in touch with their group( US-Russia chamber of commerce).'' Denysyk thanked Papadopoulos" for taking the initiative,'' but asked him to" hold off with outreach to Russian-Americans'' because" too many articles'' had already portrayed the Campaign, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and candidate Trump as" being pro-Russian.''
On August 23, 2016, Millian sent a Facebook message to Papadopoulos promising that he would" with you a disruptive technology that might be instrumental in your political work for the campaign.'' Papadopoulos claimed to have no recollection of this matter.
On November 9, 2016, shortly after the election, Papadopoulos arranged to meet Millian in Chicago to discuss business opportunities, including potential work with Russian" billionaires who are not under sanctions.'' The meeting took place on November 14, 2016, at the Trump Hotel and Tower in Chicago. According to Papadopoulos, the two men discussed partnering on business deals, but Papadopoulos perceived that Millian 's attitude toward him changed when Papadopoulos stated that he was only pursuing private-sector opportunities and was not interested in a job in the Administration. The two remained in contact, however, and had extended online discussions about possible business opportunities in Russia. The two also arranged to meet at a Washington, D.C. bar when both attended Trump 's inauguration in late January 2017.