It was in May 2016 that George Papadopoulos — who has since pleaded guilty to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation — got drunk and bragged to an Australian diplomat that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, which soon raised the stakes in the probe of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians.
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Now, ThinkProgress is reporting that Papadopoulos got drunk again, this time in a Chicago bar, and discussed the Russia investigation with a stranger who recognized him. Papadopoulos made the explosive claims that Attorney General Jeff Sessions knew about the Hillary Clinton email claim and encouraged Papadopoulos to pursue it with the Russians.
This new account counters Sessions’s repeated claims that he barely knew Papadopoulos and told him he was not authorized to represent the Trump campaign with the Russians or any other foreign government.
The source of this new information is Jason Wilson, a Chicago computer engineer, who says he recognized Papadopoulos last Thursday evening around 11 p.m. and was invited to join him at his table in the Hydrate nightclub, where the former Trump foreign policy advisor was drinking vodka with his wife, Simona Mangiante.
Wilson stands by his story but Mangiante now denies that her husband would have said anything new about the case because he is barred from speaking by his agreement with the special counsel and the court.
Papadopoulos would not comment to confirm or deny the story, a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment, and Sessions’s rep did not return calls seeking comment.
Mangiante, who also was involved with the Trump campaign when her husband was, confirmed to ThinkProgress that her husband had met and spoken to Wilson but denied that Papadopoulos said anything about Sessions that was new.
In response to ThinkProgress story, Simona Mangiante tells me she was at the table with Papadop and Wilson all night, and that Wilson is "lying"; says she believes this is an attempt to further a narrative that began with George's drinking in London with the Australian diplomat. https://t.co/GNJrvuh5uJ
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 2, 2018
What Wilson claims a drunk Papadopulous told him, however, makes sense. After chatting for a while, Wilson said he asked whether he could expect to be disappointed when all the facts come out in the Russia investigation?
Papadopoulos told him that things were “just getting started,” reports Wilson, and emphasized Sessions’s role in having him contact Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese college professor known to have high-level connections to the Russians.
Wilson claims that Papadopoulos told him Sessions was aware that he was in touch with Milfsud. Papadopoulos said he informed Sessions that Mifsud said the Russians had “dirt” on Secretary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Session then allegedly encouraged him to find out what the Russians had on Clinton.
Sessions in testimony before the Congress denied he ever made such statements to Papadopulous but last month Reuters reported that three people who spoke to Mueller contradicted Sessions’s claims about his limited contact with Papadopulous and the AG’s claim he was opposed to meeting with the Russians.
Sessions has shown a willingness to slant information to protect Trump, claim he has no memory of key meetings until forced to admit he was there, and to deny even facts that disagree with the Trump spin on the truth.
It is unfortunate that the nation’s top law enforcement official has proven to be so untrustworthy and duplicitous but at this point, it’s no longer a surprise.
So it is quite believable that a drunk Papadopulous told Wilson things about Sessions that could be a part of what special counsel Mueller will eventually reveal and use to break open the entire case, at which time Sessions lack of memory, lack of ethics, and lies will finally catch up with him and his boss in the White House.