Chuck Ross, DCNF
- In his first interview since being sentenced to 14 days in jail, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos opened up about his contact during the 2016 presidential campaign with Stefan Halper and Sergei Millian
- Halper is the FBI informant tasked with spying on the Trump campaign
- Millian is alleged to be a major source for the Steele dossier
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos discussed on the record for the first time his interactions during the 2016 presidential campaign with both an FBI informant and an alleged source for the Steele dossier.
Papadopoulos went into detail about the encounters with the informant, Stefan Halper, and the alleged dossier source, Sergei Millian, during an interview that aired Friday night on CNN.
Papadopoulos was sentenced earlier in the day to 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI about his encounters with a European professor who claimed to have information that Russia had “thousands” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The FBI opened an investigation on July 31, 2016 based on information about Papadopoulos’s encounter with an Australian diplomat two months earlier.
Several days before the investigation was opened, Millian approached Papadopoulos on LinkedIn. The pair met several days later and through the course of the campaign.
As part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the FBI used Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor, to make contact with Papadopoulos and Carter Page, another Trump campaign adviser targeted in the collusion probe.
Halper first met Page on July 11, 2016 at an event at Cambridge, The Daily Caller News Foundation has previously reported. The pair maintained contact through September 2017.
Halper reached out to Papadopoulos on Sept. 2, 2016 with an offer to fly the young campaign aide to London and to write an academic paper on energy issues in Cyprus, Turkey and Israel.
“I receive an unsolicited email from Stefan Halper who I thought was a Cambridge professor inviting me,” Papadopoulos said to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“So he reached out to me and he said, ‘I want you to write a paper for me on your expertise,’ which is gas discoveries in Israel and Turkey and Cyprus. I said ‘of course,’ you know I have no issue with that. It was a nice honorarium of $3,000, a free flight to London, a five-star hotel for two or three days of work,” he said, adding:
I joined him about a week later over drinks in London where all of a sudden he pulls out his phone, everyone has phones when they meet with me, and he places in the front of him and he begins to tell me, “So George, hacking is in the interest of your campaign. Of course the Russians are helping you.” These open-ended questions, and “of course you’re probably involved in it, too. That’s correct, right, George?”
“I told him, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’ because of course I had nothing to do with Russian interference or hacking, whatsoever,” he said. “So then he began to sweat, his demeanor changed, he became quite aggressive in his questioning.”
Halper, who served in four Republican administrations, was revealed in May to be a longtime FBI and CIA source. President Donald Trump and his allies have used the term “Spygate” to refer to the FBI’s use of an informant to make contact with campaign aides.
Papadopoulos also provided new details about Millian, a Belarusian-American businessman who runs an obscure trade group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
“He reached out to me out of the blue on LinkedIn where he stated in quite confident terms he was working for Trump real estate projects, he was promoting real estate endeavors of Trump,” Papadopoulos told Tapper.
“He presented some sort of shady business proposal to me, which I rejected flat out about, ‘Work for me for $30,000 a month’ as some sort of PR consultant for an energy firm in Russia, which I never understood who it was, where the money was coming from and why me, except the qualifier was that I had to work for Trump at the same time,” he said.
“I just rejected it flat out, and I started to be suspicious,” said Papadopoulos.
TheDCNF has reported that Millian sent the LinkedIn message to Papadopoulos on July 22, 2016. The pair met several days later for the first time.
During that same period, Millian was unwittingly providing information that would end up in the Steele dossier. According to numerous news reports, Millian is referred to as “Source D” and “Source E” in the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
As a dossier source, Millian claimed that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to release hacked Democratic National Committee emails. As Source D, Millian allegedly claimed that the Russian government was blackmailing Trump with videotapes of him with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013.
Millian’s credibility has been called into question, including from Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition research firm that hired Steele.
Simpson wondered whether Millian had repeated rumors about Trump to a source working for Steele, according to the recent book, “Russian Roulette.”
“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” reads “Russian Roulette,” written by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.
Papadopoulos went on to tell Tapper that he believed that Millian was working “at the behest of someone else.”
“I don’t know who,” he said.
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