The Daily Caller has and interesting story of the saga of George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos first burst onto the scene in a New York Times story that seemed improbable at the time and has gotten less plausible with age.
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.
The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.
According to a narrative that seemed have been seeded by the FBI in order to draw attention away from the Trump dossier fiasco, this was supposed to have been the chrysalis event that started the investigation of the Trump campaign which as we are told only took place to help Trump. Papadopoulos was the guy who was going to bring the whole evil Trump edifice down.
Lots of things in the story made no sense. The dossier, for instance, was briefed to the FBI about a month before the Papadopoulos story made its way, second hand, to the FBI. One wonders what sort of standard for plausibility one needed to start an investigation on any story that involved the word “Australian” and phrase “heavy drinking” in close proximity to one another.
On April 28, the Austalian, Alexander Downer who was the former top Australian diplomat in Britain, gave an interview to The Australian. The story is behind paywall, but the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, perhaps the only reporter in the nation who is actually covering the Mueller investigation rather than taking dictation from FBI and Justice department people who are trying to hide their own malfeasance, gives the best parts.
“By the way, nothing [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton. It was just that this guy, [Papadopoulos], clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton — but whether Trump knew or not?” Downer explained.
“He didn’t say Trump knew or that Trump was in any way involved in this. He said it was about Russians and Hillary Clinton; it wasn’t about Trump,” Downer told The Australian.
Papadopoulos’s reference to Clinton material was vague, Downer suggested.
“He didn’t say dirt; he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was.”
Downer sent a cable back to Australian government authorities within 48 hours of the Papadopoulos encounter. The information was not provided to the FBI until months later when Joe Hockey, Australia’s ambassador to the U.S., passed it to American authorities in late July 2016. He was prompted to share the information by WikiLeaks’ release of hacked DNC emails.
Downer said he felt the information “seemed quite interesting” and “was worth reporting.”
Downer also suggested the meeting was brief and Papadopoulos was not drunk, as has been widely reported. According to the profile, Downer and Papadopoulos spoke over a “single short drink.”
Downer also confirmed he confronted Papadopoulos over his comments about then-British Prime Minister David Cameron. Papadopoulos was quoted in the British press a week before the Kensington Wine Room meeting, calling on Cameron to apologize for making negative comments about Trump.
Downer, it seems, asked to meet Papadopoulos to jerk a knot in his butt for his comments about David Cameron. There was a conversation in which Papadopoulos opined that the Russians were going to drop “damaging” material on Hillary at some point. Downer dutifully reported the meeting and conversation. Unless Downer is lying, there is nothing here that warranted the FBI using it as the main reason for opening an investigation. In fact, if this is the standard for opening a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential campaign, then there are, in fact, no standards whatsoever.