George Papadopoulos was, according to a report in the Washington Post, encouraged by campaign officials to communicate with foreign contacts and these contacts included Moscow.
As part of this, he was advised to take an interview with a Russian news agency by Bryan Lanza, who told him, “you should do it,” adding the connection could help to build a “partnership with Russia.”
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The special investigation being run by Robert Mueller has seen emails that will prove “more extensive contact” than has been previously alluded to. The link shows that there was more contact between Russia and Donald Trump’s team than has been so far admitted to and shows that there is likely more that is hidden.
Papadopoulos had previously answered to both Steve Bannon and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn “who corresponded with [Papadopoulos] about his efforts to broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials.” The report will be a blow to Trump and his team who have consistently denied that there is any sort of relationship between them and Russia. This appears to be yet another “smoking gun” for Mueller’s investigation, to go along with the multiple indictments and guilty pleas he’s already secured.
The president will, of course, continue to deny a link, but this find is important and it shows that there was a direct line of communication between Trump’s team and Moscow, authorized and encouraged by active members of the campaign, and contrary to everything they’ve claimed so far.
Mueller now needs to bring the public down in the rabbit hole with him, because it leads directly to Donald Trump.
Trump is many things — stupid, careless, arrogant — and it is likely that though he may have tried to put a lot of distance between himself and Moscow to ensure that the trail never came back to him, he obviously missed some pretty clear signs. It is now Mueller’s job to show that Trump was very much involved — and when he does, Trump’s future looks a lot like a long prison sentence.