While the media was focused on the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates early this morning, it was the guilty plea by campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, which was the real story in the whole Trump/Russia investigation. While Manafort is a top figure in the campaign, and his arrest will likely lead to his cooperation with the Special Counsel’s office, the substance in the unsealed guilty plea/indictment between Papadopoulos and the US Justice Department is where all the meat and potatoes lie.
As we discussed earlier in the day, the unsealing of this document has shed light on just how close to Russia a key Trump campaign adviser, Papadopoulos, really was. It also showed that he was actively working with Russian officials in order to try and obtain ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton, while also working to set up meetings between candidate Trump and Russian officials as high up as Vladimir Putin. While a meeting between Putin and Trump did not take place during the campaign, Papadopoulos’ lies and deception, along with the facts that the government has used to define their case against him, shed more light on what really was going on behind closed doors.
One particular date, which was key in this whole case against Papadopoulos, was January 27. This was the date in which Papadopoulos met with FBI investigators and gave numerous false statements to them. What the rest of the media has seemingly missed, however, is the fact that January 27th was also another big day in the investigation. On the evening of the 27th, President Trump invited FBI Director James Comey to the White House for dinner. This is when the infamous meeting took place between Comey and Trump, where Trump asked the FBI Director for his loyalty. We all know what happened next; Comey refused to pledge his loyalty and in the months to follow President Trump fired him.
The President has already admitted to Lester Holt on MSNBC that he fired Comey because he didn’t like the way the Russian investigation was going. Now that we know the date in which Papadopoulos lied to the FBI, the case for obstruction of justice just got much stronger. It’s almost without a doubt that Papadopoulos told the President or those working within his administration that he was questioned by the FBI and that things didn’t go very well. Or at the very least the President caught wind that Papadopoulos was voluntarily being interviewed by the FBI. At this point it appears as if the President invited Comey to the White House where the infamous loyalty pledge was asked of him.
While it’s possible that it was only a coincidence that Papadopoulos lied to the FBI on the morning of the 27th and Trump asked Comey to meet that same night, it certainly seems suspicious at the very least. Papadopoulos has been talking to investigators after his plea agreement, meaning that Robert Mueller almost certainly knows if the President talked to Papadopoulos on the 27th, prior to setting up his meeting with James Comey.
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