AP NEWS

George Papadopoulos says FBI wanted him to wear a wire

March 26, 2019

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide, told lawmakers last fall that the FBI asked him to secretly record his conversations with a professor who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The shocking disclosure came Tuesday as the transcript of Mr. Papadopoulos was entered into the Congressional Record by Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia Republican.

Mr. Papadopoulos told a House committee that an FBI agent asked him in 2017 to wear a wire to record professor Joseph Mifsud, who told him that he had dirt on Mrs. Clinton, the former Democratic presidential candidate. The former campaign aide said he rejected the request.

“So [the agent] asked me to wear a wire,” Mr. Papadopoulos said, according to the transcript. “And he basically told me that Washington wants answers and you’re at the center of this, something like that to make it seem like I was in deep trouble if I wasn’t going to wear a wire against this person.”

The FBI agent made the request in the early days of the probe into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. It occurred more than a year after Mr. Mifsud told Mr. Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Papadopoulos said he rejected the idea, but the FBI persisted. At one point, an agent offered to send him to London and he can get a “behind the scenes” look at an FBI sting.

“It was very bizarre, very strange,” Mr. Papadopoulos said.

The ex-campaign aide told lawmakers he didn’t feel comfortable explaining why he didn’t wear a wire.

Although Mr. Mifsud told him that the Russians had hacked Mrs. Clinton’s emails, Mr. Papadopoulos said he didn’t share it with other members of the campaign. He told Congress the reason he remained mum was because of his relatively low position and the fact that an effort he pitched to set up a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-candidate Donald Trump had recently fallen apart.

“I think [campaign chairman] Paul Manafort and others were kind of dismissing the idea of this Russia trip,” Mr. Papadopoulos said. “So it certainly makes sense that I wouldn’t then share this information after I was just dismissed about this Russia meeting or Trump with Putin.”

Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded last year to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Mr. Mifsud and was sentenced to 14 days in prison. He is currently doing a spat of media appearances to promote his new book.

The transcript is the latest release from Mr. Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. He recently made public transcripts from Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and anti-Trump FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.