After a series of cryptic tweets this week, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos appeared on Fox News with Martha MacCallum Tuesday night to “tell all.” He spoke about his suspicious meetings with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, British professor and FBI asset Stefan Halper, shadowy Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, and several other Western intelligence officials whom he named for the first time.
Papadopoulos said that he is convinced that his meeting with Downer in a London bar was “set up” through the other meetings in an effort to create a pretext for the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign.
After the 31-year-old was sentenced to only 14 days in prison for lying to federal investigators earlier this month, he opened up on Twitter, posting a fusillade of tweets.
Beginning on Sept 10, Papadopoulos explained why he found it very strange that Downer had reached out to him (after ribbing the diplomat for wearing fishnet stockings once as a prank). His recollections about Downer differed from how the relationship has been characterized in the media. Rather than an alcohol-fueled chance encounter in a bar, Papadopoulos described a hostile confrontation that seemed premeditated and made him feel so suspicious, he thought he was being recorded:
Yet I supposedly told THAT individual about emails. Something I have no recollection ever discussing.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 10, 2018
He fully admitted that he lied about one of the meetings, and said he was ashamed of that:
I love the USA and the brave men and women of the FBI that risk their lives to protect us. I made the mistake to lie to them for wish I am ashamed. On the other hand, I did notify them that I thought Downer was recording me with his phone. I hope that was investigated.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 11, 2018
Two days later, he tweeted to Senators Richard Burr (R-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He offered to testify before the committee about his suspicious encounters with Alexander Downer, U.S. officials who were reaching out to him that time, Stefan Halper, “Putin’s niece,” and Joseph Mifsud. In a second message to the senators, he named two U.S. intelligence officials — “Gregory Baker and Terrence Dudley” — who came from the U.S. Embassy in London and tried to “ingratiate themselves” into the Trump campaign:
Besides the fact that I notified the FBI a year ago about my suspicions that Downer was illegally recording my conversation with him. The lead up to the meeting with Downer in London was even more bizarre.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 15, 2018
On September 15, G-Pap dropped a couple more names — an Israeli diplomat named Christian Cantor, and an Australian intel officer and assistant to Downer named Erika Thompson:
Finally, he posted a cryptic tweet reading “there is a lot to come”:
There is a lot to come
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 16, 2018
Papadopoulos told MacCallum that in hindsight, the meetings with officials prior to his meeting in a London bar with Downer seemed “incredibly suspicious” and that his meeting with Downer seemed “completely controlled.” He told MacCallum that he’d been tweeting about who was involved with setting him up, but had yet to speak about the attempts to frame him in an interview.
Papadopoulos said that in April of 2016 he met an Israeli official named Christian Cantor who “absolutely detested Trump.” Cantor then introduced Papadopoulos to “his so-called girlfriend Ericka Thompson,” who also happened to be an intelligence officer from Australia, as well as a senior adviser to Downer, Papadopoulos explained.
Later that month, he said he learned about the dirt the Russians allegedly had on Hillary Clinton through his meeting abroad with the mysterious Professor Mifsud.
In May of 2016, Papadopoulos gave an interview to a London paper that apparently ruffled some feathers. In the interview, he had asked that then-Prime Minister David Cameron apologize for berating Trump over his proposed “Muslim ban.” Soon after that, he was approached by people he believed to be U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officials who wanted to “probe” him about what was happening:
“And then a day or two after that, Alexander Downer wants to meet me in a bar along with his assistant who was an Australian intelligence officer,” G-Pap explained, adding that he did not remember talking with him about emails at all. “He himself has contradicted himself at least three times in subsequent interviews he has given about the encounter,” Papadopoulos said. He could remember clearly that Downer was “incredibly belligerent, despised Trump, was very hostile toward the campaign.”
MaCallum asked the former aide if he could prove what he said in the following tweet about “Obama, Brennan and Clapper” knowing about the spying:
Papadopoulos said that it was unfathomable that Halper would have “lured him to London to spy on him” without the British government’s knowledge. He added that it was “incredibly weird” that on same day he met with Stefan Halper in London, the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited him to their offices to meet with their diplomats.
Papadopoulos pointed out that while he “never knowingly met” with an actual Russian in his life, he met with an awful lot of Western officials who seemed peculiarly interested in him.