While applying for a FISA warrant on Trump Campaign aide Carter Page, the FBI failed to include the fact that George Papadopoulos - another adviser, vehemently denied that the Trump Campaign was involved in the hacking and release of Hillary Clinton's emails, reports The Hill's John Solomon.
While being pumped for information by FBI spy and Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper, Papadopoulos said that colluding with Russia would be "treason," and that he had nothing to do with it.
“He was there to probe me on the behest of somebody else,” Papadopoulos told me in an interview this week, recalling the Halper meeting. “He said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, it’s great that Russia is helping you and your campaign, right George?’”
Papadopoulos said Halper also suggested the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails that summer. “I think I told him something along the lines of, ‘I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. What you are talking about is treason. And I have nothing to do with that, so stop bothering me about it,’” Papadopoulos recalled. -The Hill
Papadopoulos will testify this week behind closed doors in front of two House panels.
According to Solomon's sources who have seen the FISA warrant and its three renewals, the FBI failed to mention Papadopoulos's denial, which Solomon describes as "an omission of exculpatory evidence that GOP critics in Congress are likely to cite as having misled the court."
Another source, meanwhile, tells Solomon that the FBI has at least one transcript which calls the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia into question - specifically citing information pertaining to Papadopoulos.
The FBI officially launched its counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after Australian diplomat Alexander Downer said Papadopoulos revealed knowledge of Russia hacking Hillary Clinton's emails. Papadopoulos has vehemently denied any knowledge of the conversation and suggested in a series of September tweets that he was set up.
So basically, for those paying attention, we have a Clinton friend, connected to the MI6, and private intelligence organizations in London, probing me about my ties to the energy business offshore Israel. Nothing about the US-Australia relationship.— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 10, 2018
Yet I supposedly told THAT individual about emails. Something I have no recollection ever discussing.— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 10, 2018
The notion that Downer randomly reached out to me just to have a gin and tonic is laughable. Some organization or entity sent him to meet me. For the sake of our republic and the integrity of this investigation, I think it's time Downer is as exposed as Christoper Steele.— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 11, 2018
Would be a very very big problem if British intelligence was weopanized against an American citizen.— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 11, 2018
What's more, Papadopoulos was fed the information about Clinton's emails by (missing) Maltese professor and self-professed Clinton Foundation member, Joseph Mifsud.
In other words: Mifsud seed the information, Downer says Papadopoulos admitted it in a drunken state, and then undercover spy Stefan Halper pumped him for information about it - all in an attempt by the Obama administration and others to dig up (or fabricate) dirt on the Trump campaign.
Halper also tried conducted espionage on Carter Page - while former UK spy Christopher Steele assembled the Trump-Russia dossier, paid for in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC - which the FBI later used to apply for the FISA warrant on Page (omitting Papadopoulos's "treason" remarks).
The FISA warrant was drafted to target surveillance at Page but also cited Papadopoulos in a section that suggested Russia was coordinating election collusion through Page and "perhaps other individuals associated" with Trump's campaign.
“The truth is, the Papadopoulos predicate went into reversal, but rather than shut down the probe at that point, the bureau turned to other leads like Steele and Page without giving the court a full picture,” one source said.
Some in Congress are bracing for the possibility that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might argue in his interview with lawmakers that the FBI did not have an obligation to disclose all exculpatory evidence to the FISA judges. Such an argument is contrary to how the court works, according to officials who prepare FISA warrants. The FBI is required to submit only verified information and to alert the court to any omissions of material fact that cast doubt on the supporting evidence, including any denials, these officials told me. -The Hill
Papadopoulos's communications with Halper was just one of over a half-dozen such interactions that Western intelligence figures established with Papadopoulos during the campaign.