It Was George Papadopoulos’ Drunken Bragging About Russian Dirt On Hillary That Prompted FBI Investigation

The New York Times reports:

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.

Axios reports:

Contrary to the idea that Papadopoulos was a low-level staffer, he helped arrange a meeting between Trump and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and “continued for months” to set up a meeting with Russian representatives, “keeping senior campaign advisers abreast of his efforts.”

He edited the outline of Trump’s foreign policy speech in April, in which he said improved relations with Russia was a possibility for the U.S. Papadopoulos told his Russia contacts it “should be taken as ‘the signal to meet.'”

The Russia investigation was “propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British and Dutch.”

The New York Daily News reports:

The revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about the hack was the driving factor behind the FBI’s investigation — not, as Trump and his supporters have alleged, a salacious dossier compiled by a former British spy.

The U.S. intelligence community has determined Russia interfered in the presidential election, although Trump has cast doubt on the determination and called the federal probe a “witch hunt.” Papadopoulos, meanwhile, has been described by Trump officials as a low-level volunteer and a “coffee boy.”