Courtesy of the AP:
President Donald Trump “nodded with approval” at the suggestion of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a court filing that seeks leniency for a former campaign aide who lied to the FBI.
Lawyers for George Papadopoulos are seeking probation, saying the foreign policy adviser misled agents during a January 2017 interview not to harm an investigation but rather to “save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master.”
Papadopoulos is a pivotal figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as the first Trump campaign aide to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors. The revelation that he’d been told by a professor during the campaign that Russia had “dirt” on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of emails helped trigger the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The 16-page defense memo filed late Friday paints Papadopoulos as an eager-to-please campaign aide who was in over his head, and aims to counter the prosecution’s narrative that Papadopoulos’s deception irreparably damaged the investigation.
The defense lawyers say Papadopoulos was hired by the campaign in March 2016 despite having no experience with Russian or U.S. diplomacy. That month, he traveled to Italy and connected with a London-based professor who introduced him to a woman described as a niece of Putin’s even though that was not true. That professor, Joseph Mifsud, would later tell him that individuals in Moscow possessed “dirt” on Clinton.
As you may have read Papadopolous stuck with the plea deal he made with Mueller after a few weeks of his new wife suggesting that he wanted out of it.
Which is important since the Russia investigation really started with Papadopolous spilling his drunken guts to that Australian diplomat.
The AP article also explicitly says that Jeff Sessions agreed with the idea that Papadopolous put forward about meeting with Putin and suggested that the campaign “look into it.”
And that, my friends, is why Sessions had to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.