EXECUTIVE SESSION COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
JOINT WITH THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
INTERVIEW OF: GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS
Thursday, October 25, 2018
The interview in the above matter was held in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, commencing at 10:00 a.m.
Members Present: Representatives Meadows, Ratcliffe, and
Mr. Somers. Good morning. This is a transcribed interview of George Papadopoulos.
Chairman Goodlatte and Gowdy requested this interview as part of a joint investigation by the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into decisions made and not made by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the 2016 Presidential election.
Will the witness please state his name for the record.
Mr. Papadopoulos. George Papadopoulos.
Mr. Somers. On behalf of the chairman, I want to thank you for appearing today, and we appreciate your willingness to appear voluntarily.
My name is Zachary Somers. I’m the majority general counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. I would now like to ask everyone else in the room to introduce themselves for the record, starting with Art Baker.
Mr. Baker. Arthur Baker, investigative counsel, majority staff, House Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Breitenbach. Ryan Breitenbach, House Judiciary Committee, majority.
Mr. Castor. Steve Castor with the Committee on Government Reform, majority staff.
Mr. Ventura. Christopher Ventura, House majority legal staff.
Mr. Brebbia. Sean Brebbia, Oversight Government Reform, majority.
Mr. Buddharaju. Anudeep Buddharaju, House Committee on Oversight. Mr. Gowdy’s staff.
Mr. Cooper. Kadeem Cooper, House Oversight, majority.
Ms. Hariharan. Arya Hariharan, House Judiciary, minority counsel.
Ms. Shen. Valerie Shen, House Oversight majority.
Mr. Hiller. Aaron Hiller, House Judiciary, Democrats.
Mr. Morgan. Matthew Morgan, House Judiciary, Democrats.
Ms. Kim. Janet Kim, House Oversight, Democrats.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Susanne Sachsman Grooms House Oversight, Democrats.
Ms. Polisi. I’m Caroline Polisi, here with George Papadopoulos of Pierce Bainbridge as his counsel, along with my partners.
Mr. La Vigne. Chris La Vigne, also appearing as counsel.
Mr. Pierce. John Pierce also on behalf of the witness.
Mr. Somers. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply in this setting, but there are some guidelines that we follow that I would like to go over.
Our questioning will proceed in rounds. The majority will ask questions first for an hour, and the minority will have the opportunity to ask questions for an equal period of time. We’ll go back and forth in this manner until there are no more questions and the interview is over.
Typically, we take a short break at the end of each hour of questioning, but if you would like to take a break apart from that, please let us know. We may also take a break for lunch at the appropriate point.
As I noted earlier, you are appearing voluntarily. Accordingly, we anticipate that our questions will receive complete responses.
To the extent that you decline to answer our questions, or if counsel instructs you not to answer a question, we will consider whether a subpoena is necessary.
As you can see, there’s an official reporter taking down everything that is said to make a written record. So we ask that you give verbal responses to all questions. Do you understand that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I understand.
Mr. Somers. So that the reporter can take down a clear record, it’s important that we don’t talk over one over or interrupt each other, if we can help it.
Both committees encourage witnesses who appear for transcribed interviews to freely consult with counsel, if they so choose. And you are appearing with counsel today.
Will counsel please state her name for the record.
Ms. Polisi. Carolyn Polisi. Pierce Bainbridge Breck Price & Hecht.
Mr. Somers. Thank you.
We also want you to answer our questions in the most complete and truthful manner possible, so we will take our time.
If you have any questions or if you do not understand one of our questions, please let us know.
If you honestly don’t know the answer to a question, or do not remember it, it is best not to guess.
Please just give us your best recollection and it is okay to tell us if you learn the information from someone else.
If there are things you don’t know or can’t remember, just say so and please inform us who, to the best of your knowledge, might be able to provide a more complete answer to the question.
You should also understand that although this interview is not under oath, you are required by law to answer questions from Congress truthfully.
Do you understand that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I understand.
Mr. Somers. This also applies to questions posed by congressional staff in an interview, do you understand that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I understand.
Mr. Somers. Witnesses who knowingly provide false testimony could be subject to criminal prosecution for perjury, or for making false statements.
Do you understand this?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I do understand.
Mr. Somers. Is there any reason you are unable to provide truthful answers to today’s questions?
Mr. Papadopoulos. There’s no reason.
Mr. Somers. Finally, we ask that you not speak about what we discuss in this interview with anyone else outside of who is here in the room with us today in order to preserve the integrity of our investigation. This confidentiality rule applies to every one present in the room.
That is the end of my preamble. Do you have any questions before we begin the first round?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, I don’t.
Mr. Somers. Okay. The time is now 10:05, and we will begin our first round of questioning.
I think just to begin, obviously —
Mr. Castor. Zack, we ought to — Mr. Somers. I’m sorry.
Mr. Castor. We have a member here.
Mr. Meadows. I’m Congressman Meadows from North Carolina. Thank you for coming.
Mr. Papadopoulos. It’s our pleasure, sir.
Mr. Somers. I think, just at the outset, just like to ask, obviously you’ve pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI. And I just want to give you an opportunity to give us any assurances you could that the testimony today that you’re going to give and the answers to our questions will be truthful.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I assure you, they will be truthful.
Mr. Raskin. Good morning. Congressman Jamie Raskin from the 8th District of Maryland.
EXAMINATION BY MR. SOMERS:
Q If we could just begin, could you tell us how you came to be affiliated with the Trump campaign?
A Sure, as far as I remember, I had reached out to Corey Lewandowski sometime in the summer of 2015 via LinkedIn to basically just say I’m interested in working on the campaign. This is, I think, when the campaign had around three staff members or so. And I just — I don’t know, there was something in me that just thought that Donald Trump was going to be elected the President of the United States.
I think I was working at the Hudson Institute in Washington at the time, and I was looking to really leave the so-called establishment type of arena and just, you know, just join a kind of a renegade type of candidate and then see what happens.
I then reached out. He responds, you know, noncommittal but let’s keep in touch kind of thing, as far as I understand.
We then keep in touch. I’m sending him updates regarding what I’m doing in London or in joining the Ben Carson campaign. And then afterwards, I believe he put me in touch with Michael
Glassner, who then put me in touch with Sam Clovis, who I believe essentially hired me after an interview with him. That’s how I remembered it going down.
Q What were you hired to do?
A To work as a foreign policy adviser.
Q And what’s your foreign policy background?
A I worked at the Hudson Institute here in Washington, D.C. for 4 to 5 years as a research associate, interned on research associated, focusing mostly on energy issues in the Mediterranean.
Q So what, was there — I mean, foreign policy is obviously a broad category.
Q Is there anything specific that you, you know, were supposed to bring to the table for the Trump campaign, or any specific responsibility or was it —
A I’m not sure exactly what the thought process was of the hiring team, why they exactly wanted me on, but I’m sure they knew my background at Hudson Institute and then in the energy industry. And I think, based on a couple conferences I was speaking at, some publications I had written, I assume that’s why they were interested in bringing me on. I’m not sure exactly what they were thinking, though.
Q And obviously a key focus of the investigation or — the investigation between Trump’s ties with other countries have been Russia.
What was your background pre-Trump campaign with Russia?
A The best way I could characterize my — that question, is that I was a complete wannabe when it came to the U.S.-Russia relationship.
I essentially had no connection to Russia whatsoever before I became embroiled in, I guess, this issue. My background really focused on energy developments in Israel and Cyprus, the U.S.-Egypt relationship. And generally, that’s what I was doing at the Hudson Institute, where I was working directly with Seth Cropsey, the former Under Secretary of the Navy, Douglas Feith. I mean, we were really focusing on these type of issues. We weren’t focused — I wasn’t specifically wasn’t focusing on Russia, whatsoever.
And my process, my thought process going into the Trump campaign was, there’s one country that the candidate wanted to work closely with, and that’s Russia.
So I said to myself, Okay, if he wants to work with Russia, how am I going to stand out as much as possible? Let’s try and do something. And then obviously, things happened the way they did, and I’m here to clarify, many, many things.
Q Okay. And did you have contacts in the Russian
Government prior to working on the Trump campaign?
A I have, to this day — not even before — to this day, I have never traveled to Russia. I’ve never knowingly met a Russian official. So even before or after this entire saga, I’ve never knowingly met a Russian official in my life.
Q So you’ve never been the agent of the Government of
A Definitely not wittingly. That’s what people are trying to picture me as. But I’ve certainly never acted as an agent of Russia. That’s certainly the case.
Q Okay. And then — I’m sure we’ll talk a lot about Russia, but I believe that you may have had some contacts, or set up some meetings with other countries other than Russia for the Trump campaign. Could you discuss that?
A So I helped, really, essentially broker the meeting between the candidate and the President of Egypt, because that’s actually where my real contacts were.
I mean, as I said, I was coming from the think tank industry, and then went on trying to go on to the private sector after that, and oil and gas consulting, speaking at commercial conferences. And then you just network with various business leaders and government officials.
And, you know, I met many Egyptian officials throughout my time and, you know, Greek officials, Cypriot officials, Israeli officials, business people. I’m just part of the usual policy network.
And so I worked with Steve Bannon directly, remotely on brokering this meeting, and it was successful.
Q And that was the meeting at the Plaza Hotel, was it?
A I believe it was during the U.N. General Assembly between the candidate and the Egyptian president.
Q And did you also work on trying to set up meetings between the campaign and the Greek Government, or officials within the Greek Government?
A I believe so. I believe I was trying to set up, actually, many meetings with even the Japanese prime minister, I think. I was in touch with the Japanese embassy quite often while I was on the campaign. The British embassy. Well, I was essentially just trying to really make the candidate look like a statesman and meet these foreign leaders, which most of them were allies. And to this day, I think it was a mistake trying to set up this, I guess, summit or photo op I tried to do with Putin. But mostly what I was really trying to do was set up meetings between the candidate and other leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.
And I believe, as far as I remember, the Japanese embassy was interested in hosting a meeting between candidate Trump and Prime Minister Abe.
For some reason, that never materialized, and the British embassy and I were in discussions to set up a meeting with Theresa May and candidate Trump during the same event, and that never materialized, but he ended up meeting with the Israel Prime Minister and the Egyptian president.
I didn’t have anything to do, as far as I remember, with the
Israel Prime Minister meeting, though.
Q But your sole focus was not coordinating meetings between Russia and the Trump campaign?
A Sorry, you said?
Q I said the sole focus — I think it’s fair to say that the sole focus was not just setting up meetings with Russia and the Trump campaign, there were many other the countries?
A That’s absolutely right.
Q Okay. So what was, then, your original focus with vis-a-vis the Trump campaign and Russia? What was your original goal that you set out to accomplish?
A So to the best of my recollection, during my first interview with Sam Clovis, it was my understanding that working to some extent at the geopolitical level with Russia was in the interest of the candidate.
So what I thought was, since I really don’t have any background in the U.S.-Russia relationship whatsoever, how am I really going to help the candidate, you know, materialize some sort of summit or help articulate at least what he’s talking about? Because he was, I think, the only candidate who was talking about working with Russia at the time. And as a foreign policy adviser, I thought it was my job to actually help articulate or, you know, his strategy and pacify the dissidence that there were many of, in the United States, in Congress probably, and in the Department of Defense.
So that was really my original hope. And then I met this individual, Joseph Mifsud on a trip to Italy —
Mr. Breitenbach. Before you get to that, do you recall the exact date of your first interview with Sam Clovis, I believe you said?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, I can’t remember the exact dates, but I believe it was some time around March 9th and 11. I can’t remember exactly the date, though, 2016.
Mr. Breitenbach. Okay.
BY MR. SOMERS
Q Okay. So you have no Russia contacts going in. How do you, you know, set out to make the contacts or accomplish your goal of connecting the campaign with Russia?
A Well, call me a, you know, I guess blissfully, ignorant, of, you know, like I said, the U.S.-Russia relationship and kind of maybe a little too ambitious at the time.
So I’m working for an organization named the London Centre for International Law Practice at the time of my interview with Sam Clovis. And I believe I notify them shortly after that I’m going to be leaving and I’m going to go back to the United States and focus exclusively on working on the campaign, but for some reason that I cannot remember to this day, they decided to invite me to go to Rome with them to this university or college named Link Campus.
At the time, as far as I remember, I just thought I was going
to Rome for 3 days, have a quick vacation, and then tail it out from London and then go back to the U.S. And I’m attending a conference there at this Italian university, which I now have researched, and it seems to be some sort of western intelligence spying training center, where they had opposition members of the Libyan Government at the time at some conference with Italian officials and Joseph Mifsud was there. And I was introduced to Joseph Mifsud at Link Campus, and he took a liking to me, immediately once he knew that I would be working on the Trump campaign.
And we started to discuss many topics. And one of them was how he could become some sort of intermediary between the campaign, myself, and Russia — and other governments too, by the way — and think tanks in Europe, and, you know, other, I guess, other organizations that he purportedly was connected to.
Q And at that point when Mifsud approached you, was it publicly known that you were on, like, a foreign policy team with the Trump campaign?
A I believe it was publicly known around March 21st, it’s my understanding. And I met Mifsud, according to the court documents, I believe, on March 14th or 15th or 16th, so it wasn’t public, that’s my understanding.
But, of course, I had finished my interview with Sam. I knew I would be joining the campaign, I’d meet with this person, but I don’t think it was public, per se.
Mr. Breitenbach. When did you know you would be joining the campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe Sam made it clear to me that I would be joining, but nothing was public at that point. So it was you’re on, but, you know, I wasn’t officially appointed, I guess, publicly, until around March 21st.
Mr. Breitenbach. Is there any paperwork that you might have indicating when you actually began on the Trump campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe we might have, we might have those emails.
Ms. Polisi. We have emails. We don’t have any official documentation.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I mean, if the emails would suffice, I think we have emails suggesting that I would be joining the campaign on this day, or Sam Clovis was telling me you’re on board, good job, or something like that.
Mr. Baker. Did you join as a paid employee or as a volunteer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I was never paid on the Trump campaign.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q Okay. So, and Mifsud, he presented himself as what?
Who did he tell you he was?
A So looking back in my memory of this person, this is a mid-50’s person, describes himself as a former diplomat who is connected to the world, essentially. I remember he was even telling me that, you know, the Vietnamese prime minister is a good friend of mine. I mean, you have to understand this is the type of personality he was portraying himself as.
And, you know, I guess I took the bait because, you know, usually somebody who — at least in Washington, when somebody portrays themselves in a specific way and has credentials to back it, you believe them. But that’s how he portrayed himself.
And then I can’t remember exactly the next thing that happened until he decided to introduce me to Putin’s fake niece in London, which we later found out is some sort of student. But I could get into those details of how that all started.
Q And what’s your — just to kind of jump way ahead, what’s your current understanding of who Mifsud is?
A My current understanding?
A You know, I don’t want to espouse conspiracy theories because, you know, it’s horrifying to really think that they might be true, but just yesterday, there was a report in the Daily Caller from his own lawyer that he was working with the FBI when he approached me. And when he was working me, I guess — I don’t know if that’s a fact, and I’m not saying it’s a fact — I’m just relaying what the Daily Caller reported yesterday, with Chuck Ross, and it stated in a categorical fashion that Stephan Roh, who is Joseph Mifsud’s, I believe his President’s counsel, or PR person, said that Mifsud was never a Russian agent.
In fact, he’s a tremendous friend of western intelligence, which makes sense considering I met him at a western spying school in Rome. And all his interactions — this is just me trying to repeat the report, these are not my words — and when he met with me, he was working as some sort of asset of the FBI. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m just reporting what my current understanding is of this individual based on reports from journalists.
Q And how many contacts — you had the initial meeting with Mifsud at the conference. Where did it go from there? What’s the next contact?
A So leave Rome, and to the best of my understanding, he then emails me and says, it’s very important for us to now meet in London. I have to introduce you to somebody very important. And then I go to the London Centre For International Law Practice where the director, named Nagi Idris, basically tells me the same thing. This is Putin’s niece or the Russian President’s niece. I can’t really remember exactly how they framed her. But my understanding was I was talking to a very senior level diplomat’s family member from Russia.
He invites me to the Holborn Hotel in London. It’s a beautiful five-star hotel, where there’s this young lady with him. And, you know, I — she doesn’t really speak good English, you know, she was there just kind of talking about how nice it would be for Russia to work with Trump, or Trump to work with Russia,
you know, but keeping things quite general. That’s my understanding and my memory of this person. She really didn’t leave that big of an impression on me, except that she was very beautiful.
But besides that, then after we leave that meeting, I think he starts emailing me, and he tells me she wants to be in touch with you. This, apparently, the same person who barely spoke English at this meeting.
Then all of a sudden, I’m talking to who I think is the same person, but she’s writing in more fluent English. Her grammar is excellent. And now she goes from a seemingly obscure girl who, you know, I thought might have been, you know, Putin’s niece, to now the interlocutor with Mifsud to the Russian Government for me.
And I remember I even — where I’m going at is I don’t think I was talking to the same person. That’s what I’m trying to say.
Q When you say talking?
A I mean writing back and forth.
Q By email? By text?
A Email. Email. And I remember there was even a point I messaged this person on Skype. And I said, are you the same person that I met a couple months ago or so? You know, it was just very odd. I think I, you know, I wrote that to her on Skype.
Nevertheless, I think we could provide these emails of my interactions with this individual and Joseph Mifsud. What it seems was going on was that Mifsud was using her as some sort of Russian face or person. Mr. Breitenbach. When you say “her” who is, who are you — Mr. Papadopoulos. Putin’s fake niece, Olga.
Mr. Breitenbach. Do you know her last name?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it’s Polanskaya. I believe that’s — I think The New York Times reported about her a bit. But she’s apparently a wine manager at some store in Rome. She’s a manager of a wine business. So it doesn’t make sense. To this day, this doesn’t make sense to me. It is P-o-l-a-n-s-k-a-y-a. I believe that’s how you spell her last name.
So after that, this individual and Joseph Mifsud are writing to me that we’re going to introduce you to the Russian ambassador in London, which quite frankly, I wanted to meet. I was openly trying to meet this person to really understand what was going on.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q That would be the Russian ambassador to the U.K.?
A Yes, the U.K.
By the way, there’s this misunderstanding that I actually met that person, because I lied to the campaign about it, where I told them I just met the Russian ambassador, my good friend, Mifsud, all these — I never met the Russian ambassador, just to make that completely clear.
And they never set this meeting up with the Russian ambassador but they introduced me to this think tank analyst over email named Ivan Timofeev, from, I think, the RIAC think tank. It is the Russian International Affairs Counsel, I believe that’s what it’s called. And he, then, apparently becomes a go-between between me and the Russian Government about this potential meeting with Trump and Putin.
I could get into the details about what was going on with him or however — Q Sure.
A So I saw him as potentially the person that could, you know, introduce not only me, but the campaign to the people in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then act as the key point man for this potential Trump-Putin submit. We exchanged emails. We could provide those emails to you.
We had a couple Skype calls, just basically among scholars. It was Oh, what’s going on in Syria, you know, this, that. It was a geopolitical, I guess, conversation between two think thank people. I have never met him in person. People thought I met him in person. I never met this person in my life face-to-face.
And then essentially, I was emailing the campaign back and forth. Do we want to do this? I have this guy. I think he can do it. Do you want to set up the meeting with Putin? And then I was brushed off.
And to the best of my understanding, that’s when, you know, I really stopped engaging about this Trump-Putin potential meeting.
Q Okay. And one thing was, you know, trying to set up the meeting, I believe I’ve also read that at some point, I think it was in April of 2016, Mifsud told you that he had returned from Moscow where he had learned from high-level Russian Government officials that Russia had, quote, “dirt on Clinton,” including thousands of emails. Is that accurate?
A Yeah. So my understanding, my current memory of this meeting was that he invited me to the Andaz Hotel in London by Liverpool Street Station, I guess on April 26, 2016. And at this meeting, he was giddy, you know, like he had something he wanted to get off his chest.
And he tells me that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. I never heard the word DNC.
Q That happens every day about this time. Nothing to worry about.
A And I’ve said this on TV, and I’m saying it here, I never heard the words DNC, Podesta, anything like that. I just heard “the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.” And at that time, and we could look at the records, people were openly speculating about that, too. I think even Judge Napolitano on Fox News, the day before I met with Mifsud on April 25th was openly speculating the same thing.
So my impression when he told me this information at the time was he is validating rumors. Because I didn’t feel that I heard something so different, like Democratic National Committee emails, WikiLeaks, I didn’t hear anything like that.
So yeah, it was an interesting piece of information, but you
know, by that point you have to understand, he had failed to introduce me to anyone of substance in the Russian Government. So he failed to do that, but now all of a sudden he has the keys to the kingdom about a massive potential conspiracy that Russia is involved in.
So that was my mindset when he told me this.
Q But you didn’t necessarily believe him? Or how would you characterize that?
A I would characterize it as this individual failed to provide anyone of substance but now he’s telling me this. What do you make of it? It was — I don’t know. I’m just going back in my mind, you know, after 2 years now, and I think that’s how I saw this person in front of me.
Mr. Breitenbach. Do you recall at the time whether you had heard the rumors, as you mentioned Judge Napolitano had mentioned it the day before you said that you met?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it was the day before. I don’t — I’m not 100 percent sure when Napolitano was openly speculating, but it’s my understanding that the media around the world was reporting that there were rumors that Hillary Clinton’s server had been hacked, and certain governments might have or might not have, you know, obtained those emails.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q Going back to your initial meeting with Professor
Mifsud. Was there a time when you had an impression that he became interested in you specifically once he knew you were associated with the Trump campaign?
A Yes. I noticed that when we were in Rome, when I — during our initial meeting in Rome. He took a liking to me quite fast. And my — to this day now — looking back — if Mifsud presented himself as an insider, an establishment insider but in — let’s say, when was it, March of 2016, Trump was viewed still as a renegade-type of candidate that most establishment types didn’t really take serious.
So it always — now looking back, it always struck me as interesting that he would take such a liking in me for working for what some people in the establishment back then viewed as, you know, kind of disruptive candidate that really had no chance of winning.
Q But before he knew you were associated with the campaign, he didn’t have the same interest in you?
A I just remember that he was interested once he knew I was working on the campaign.
A Because I mean when you meet somebody, you tell them Hi, I’m George Papadopoulos. I’m doing this and this, so you, right away, understand who somebody is when you’re meeting them, so I don’t think he would have liked — I don’t know. That’s how I remember it.
Q And then you had indicated — my notes say you referred
to this woman as the beautiful woman that you wondered if it was the same person you were actually communicating with?
Q What was it about the communications that made you think it’s not this same person?
A One was the English. The way she was able to articulate herself in the English language in writing vis-a-vis, you know, how she was sitting and talking with a heavy accent, and not really making too much sense, or actually contributing much to this lunch that I had with her and Mifsud.
So — and it was just bizarre, it was just bizarre.
I think I told her over Skype, am I talking to the same person?
Q Besides just the language difference, did her proficiency in any topics you have discussed seem to increase or decrease when you started communicating via email?
A That’s my memory of that, is that during the face-to-face meeting, she was doing a lot of smiling, a lot, you know, and then all of a sudden, she becomes this middle woman to the Russian Government and she knows everything about sanctions. It was just bizarre.
Q And just to go back to the beginning of the interview. You had initially tried to get on the campaign at a prior attempt that didn’t work out. Is that correct?
A I had been basically pestering the campaign for months
leading up to when I officially was appointed.
Like I said, I had reached out to Corey Lewandowski in the summer of 2015, saying, Hi, I think you have a winner, or something along those lines. I want to join your campaign. Again, let’s keep in touch. And then I had joined Ben Carson’s campaign. I kept feeding them information of what I was up to, what conferences I was speaking at, what publications I was writing, what I was doing on Carson’s campaign. And then it was finally, I think I sent one last final email, Listen, it’s either you’re going to take me on or I’m going to move on myself. And I think that’s when they hired me.
Q I think you said, or you used the term “you’re a wannabe.”
A In the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Q In the U.S.-Russia relationship.
A Yeah, absolutely.
Q So what is your education? We talk a little about how you came to be on the Trump campaign and your various attempts. What’s your educational backgrounds?
A I’m at the master’s level, I studied at DePaul
University for my BA, and then I obtained my Masters of Science at University College of London in the U.K.
Q And your degrees are in what?
A Oh, they’re in political science and security studies.
Q And my observation sitting across the table from you is
you look relatively young. What is your age, sir?
A I’m 31 years old.
Q Thank you.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q So we have the Putin summit was an interaction with Mifsud, the emails, the, quote, “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, or — was it on Hillary Clinton specifically? What was the —
A My recollection is that he said the Hillary Clinton’s emails. Not DNC, not Podesta, nothing like that.
Q Were there other interactions with Mifsud about, I think I read about possibly setting up a trip to Russia about campaign officials? Is there other things you worked on with him aside from the Putin summit?
A Yeah, I think what we were trying to do is bring — I was trying to bring the campaign, I think Sam Clovis and Walid Phares and I, we were talking about potentially going to Europe and meeting officials together. And I was trying to see who Mifsud potentially knew in the U.K., or in other parts of Europe that could facilitate that meeting. Of course, we never did it.
I think Sam Clovis ended up telling me I can’t make it, I’m too busy, but if you and Walid want to go to this, whatever you’re trying to put together, go ahead. That’s what I remember.
Q And did that trip ever happen?
A I never traveled with Walid Phares, no.
Q Did you arrange for anyone else?
A What was that?
Q Did you arrange for anyone else to travel to Russia?
Let’s just keep it specifically —
Q — based on your contacts with Mifsud at this point.
A Yes. I reached out directly to Paul Manafort, you know, and Corey Lewandowski and the top — the heads of the campaign, and openly told them I’m trying to arrange this. I mean, they were fully aware of what I was doing. This is all in emails. I’m not sure if you have those emails. I’m happy to provide them to you. That I’m trying to set up this meeting. Are we interested or are we not interested.
So Corey Lewandowski was informed, Paul Manafort was informed, Sam Clovis was informed about what I was doing and what my progress, I guess, if you want to call it that, was.
Q Okay. So did anything — I mean, we have three things: We have the Putin summit; we have the dirt from Clinton emails; we have the trip to Russia. Did anything — I think none of those came to fruition. Is that correct?
A The Putin summit never came to fruition; this trip — the campaign to Europe never came to fruition.
Q You never got emails? Did you ever get emails from
A I never saw, handled or disseminated any of these purported emails that this person was talking about. Never.
Q Okay. And then just to be clear, in the indictment against you, is Mifsud, is he the professor?
Q And then at what point did you learn that, you know, he’s not who he said he was?
A Like I said, I don’t have the concrete proof of who this person is. I’m just going with reports.
And all I can say is that I believe the day I was, my name was publicly released and Papadopoulos became this person that everyone now knows, Mifsud gave an interview to an Italian newspaper. And in this newspaper, he basically said, I’m not a Russian agent. I’m a Clinton supporter. I’m a Clinton Foundation donor, and that — something along those lines. I mean, don’t quote me exactly, you could look up the article yourself. It is in La Republica.
And then all of a sudden, after that, he disappears off the face of the planet, which I always found as odd.
Then, of course, considering this is such a big case and my name is circulating around the world, of course, reporters are interested in who this professor is. If we want to nail Trump and Papadopoulos of conspiring with Russians, of course we’re going to look into Mifsud.
And in my honest opinion, I think that completely backfired on this narrative, because all they’ve uncovered, for the most part, is how the connected he is to the British Government, Italian Government, the State Department, where he was talking at a conference, I think, when he was apparently interviewed by the FBI. And that he knows, of course, some Russian academics. He seems to be this very big networker.
But I guess the overwhelming evidence, from what I’ve read, just in reports, nothing classified, of course, because I’m not privy to anything like that, and considering his own lawyer is saying it, Stephan Roh, that Mifsud is a western intelligence source. And, I guess, according to reports yesterday, he was working with the FBI.
I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m just here to, you know, maybe, you know, let you — direct you in certain directions of what I’ve read and maybe, in case you haven’t read it.
Q To your knowledge, were there any recorded conversations between you and professor — not professor — Mifsud?
A To my knowledge, no.
Q So the government never presented you in your criminal dealings with them with any transcripts of conversations between you and Mifsud?
A I never saw any transcripts of Mifsud and me, no.
Q Did the government ever present you with any emails or other written correspondence that you did not give them dealing with Mifsud?
A To my recollection, no, I never saw anything like that from the government.
Mr. Meadows. So thank you for coming in, and obviously anyone who volunteers on a campaign never expects to be the headline on The New York Times, so my apologies for that.
I appreciate your candor. Candidly, it sounds like a very ambitious young man trying to get involved in a policy area and be valuable. And what happened is, is you ended up at the center of a predicate for an FBI investigation.
There was no, there was no time where you believed that the Russians were giving you any type of classified information or anything that was uniquely sensitive to either our government or their government.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s absolutely correct.
Mr. Meadows. That’s correct. And so following up on the question from my colleague here about transcripts.
Was there any other time that you felt like that you might have been recorded or surveilled in a manner, as you’re looking back on it now? Obviously, at the time, you might not have been aware of it. Is there any time that you said, well, you know, this just doesn’t feel right? Can you share that with the committee?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Certainly, sir, and thank you for your kind words. I was — let’s go to the Alexander Downer meeting, this Australian person, who I’m —
Mr. Meadows. And for the record, this is the Australian diplomat as it has been reported, at least, the Australian diplomat, Mr. Downer.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Mr. Downer, that’s right, who, it’s my understanding, is probably the top diplomat in Australia, or was before he retired. He was the head of what I think is the equivalent of the CIA in Australia for around 17 years. I think that’s what I read about him.
Anyway, he’s a very unknown person, this isn’t counselor at the Australian embassy in London, okay.
So I’m told about this dirt on April 26th, but if I can, I’d like to explain the process leading up to the Downer meeting, because I think it’s very important.
Mr. Meadows. Sure.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Because there’s this misunderstanding that
I was drunk in a bar with him randomly, which is complete —
Mr. Meadows. Are you indicating that there are some things that were reported that are not accurate?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s a kind way to say it.
Okay. Let’s go back to April. I can’t remember exact dates in April, but April, and maybe we can send emails and when could corroborate certain things. I’m in talks with an Israeli diplomat named Christian Cantor, who was introduced to me through, I guess a friend at the Israeli embassy in D.C. named Dore Shapiro, who was an economic counselor. And you have to remember I was very connected to Israel and what was going on. So that was my network.
So Dore introduces me to Christian because I tell Dore, Look, I’m in London. I want to keep in touch with your government, just, you know, to keep in touch, you know, and see what’s going on with U.S.-Israel relationship. And as a foreign policy adviser, it was my job to meet with diplomats and to really see what’s happening and to relay it to the campaign.
So I started to notice that Christian was probing me a little too much about the inner workings of the campaign, why Trump was very interested in Russia, what his ideas of the Iran Deal would be. You know, I started to question whether he might have been recording something. That was my impression of this person.
Mr. Breitenbach. Approximately when was this?
Mr. Papadopoulos. This would be, let’s say — and I have to look back at my records — but I believe it was April 2016. And all of a sudden, one day he says, I want to introduce you to my girlfriend. And I say, Okay, that’s great. We would go out for beers all the time and, you know, and he said I want to introduce you to my girlfriend. And I said, that’s fine. Who’s your girlfriend?
And he introduces me to none other than Erica Thompson, who just happens to be what I think is now an Australian intelligence officer and the senior adviser of some nature to Alexander Downer.
This is April 2016, maybe even March 2016, but let’s say April 2016, but it was before my May 10 meeting with Downer.
And I’m sitting there and, you know, she’s basically telling
me, Oh, why are you working for this pariah, Trump. Very hostile. Very, very hostile. Christian, himself, was a little strange, too.
You know, you should have been working with Ted Cruz, they were telling me. I mean, weird things like that. This guy is no good.
And I just started to feel around that point that these people were keeping a tab on me. And I didn’t understand quite why yet until things became even more strange after the Mifsud dirt.
So then we go to April 26, Mifsud tells me this claim. And then I can’t remember if I had organized my interview with the Times of London before Mifsud or after with Francis Eliot where I basically tell the Times of London that David Cameron should apologize to Trump for calling him an idiot, and whatever he was saying about the Muslim ban. I can’t remember exactly what the interview, but it made headways.
I got in trouble a little bit with the campaign, but luckily Hope Hicks, I guess, saved my job, or Sam Clovis. One of these people saved my job. Because I guess some people in the campaign liked what I said. Others didn’t. So there was a bit of a scuffle.
But anyway — I believe — this interview is very important actually and the date of this interview is very important. I believe that the interview I gave to the Times of London was on May 2nd or May 3rd. So around a week, let’s say, after Mifsud tells me this stuff. All of a sudden, I’m — two individuals from the U.S. embassy in London reach out to me. And this is Terrance Dudley, you saw their names, Terrance Dudley and Gregory Baker.
That’s how I remembered it. It was right after the interview.
And they start probing me. Hey, could we meet? You know, I saw they were U.S. guys, our people, why wouldn’t I meet with these people. Wining and dining me as if I was some, you know, some sort of star in their eyes. Some — it was very bizarre. We’re going to take you to this private club in London. We’re going to — I mean, really spending hundreds of pounds on drinks and food and just trying to get to know who I am.
My impression of these people was that they knew exactly who I was. They were, they knew my background very well. And they were making remarks to make it seem ever more so that they knew that. One guy, Gregory Baker, would open remarks in the Greek language, because he was, I guess, stationed in Greece and he knew my family were Greek or immigrant Greeks. And Terrance Dudley would say, Oh, I was at Tufts University and I wrote my thesis on energy.
So it’s like they knew all about my background before they came to me. And I believe Terrance Dudley was a Navy attache. He might still actually be right now at the London embassy. And Gregory Baker I think, has left and he’s in the private sector, somewhere in Wisconsin, probably in the defense industry.
So these two guys were taking me out, they made it seem that they knew everything about me and they were trying to ingratiate themselves within the campaign through me.
I believe I have emails or communication with these two people basically telling me we want to join the campaign, Who can we talk to?
Mr. Meadows. Emails from them?
Mr. Papadopoulos. From these two guys.
Mr. Meadows. Saying they want to join the campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Basically, yes, which is very bizarre.
Keeping in touch with me on LinkedIn, email for months after that. Sharing information. I think they shared some information from the State Department with me that they wanted me to pass along to the campaign. They were two active duty people at the U.S.
embassy in London.
Unless they were completely rogue and nuts and just reaching out to me the way they did, I don’t know. That’s probably your job to figure out what they were really — what their motives were for meeting with me. And these two guys then started to tell me, you know, we need to introduce you to our people in Athens.
And Gregory Baker, I believe, or Terrance, one of the two, puts me in touch with the U.S. Army attache in Athens to basically hear more about what I was doing regarding energy and Greece and Cyprus and what the U.S. policy should be in NATO. They had this picture of me as some sort of influential person in that part of the world. And they wanted to know my thoughts, and they wanted to know what the campaign was up to. It was a combination of both. What’s the campaign up to and what are you up to.
So then they introduced me, of course, to their people in Athens, and I could get to that but — so after that on May 10th, after I give the interview — so remember, I give this interview. I’m in London and I begin to feel that I’m under watch. That’s how, that’s my impression. I would attend certain cafes and restaurants where I was living.
And people I would just feel were watching me in London. I don’t know what, if I was being paranoid or not but, you know, let’s just say I felt like I was under some sort of surveillance.
Then a couple days I believe after I met Terrance and
Gregory, Erica Thompson reaches out again and says, Hey, my boss, Alexander Downer, he knows the world, it’s good for to you meet him and you should come for drinks with us.
And I said of course. You know, at that time, I’m like, Wow, all these, you know, very senior diplomats and people want to just meet this 28-year old young aid who just joined the campaign, I think, or month or so before. But why not, you know. They could send it back to the campaign that I just met with the Australian diplomat.
What I’m going to tell you right now is what I remember telling special counsel directly to their face, too.
One, I felt like Alexander Downer — first, I felt the
meeting was completely controlled. That he was sent to meet me by some entity or some organization, and that he was recorded my conversation with him. And what do I mean by recording my conversation?
If I had my phone I would show you of how strange this character was acting.
I sat down with him and he pulls his phone out and he starts holding it like this towards me.
Mr. Meadows. Here.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Here, I’ll show you. And I told the special counsel this over a year ago. I’m sitting down within 5 or 6, 7 minutes of meeting this person, I’m talking and he goes like this to me, stone-faced, just holding his phone like this towards me.
And I didn’t know what to think except do I tell him Will you stop recording me, or, What are you doing? Because it was just, it just left such an indelible memory of how this individual was acting that I never forgot it, and I felt that he was recording it and the meeting was controlled. So he held his phone up like this.
Mr. Meadows. This is Mr. Downer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. This is Mr. Downer. Held his phone up like this. And my memory of this meeting is that this person was not —
Mr. Meadows. I lose more cellphones that way.
Mr. Papadopoulos. And we’ll get back to phones again because, you know, everyone likes to have phones when they talk with me, so, you know, they have all left memories.
And my memory of this meeting was he was not interested at all in talking about the U.S.-Australia relationship. What he wanted to know was what I was up to in Israel, and what I was up to in the energy business in Israel, in particular, and how those issues conflict with his potential personal interests and British interests as a whole.
So that was one thing I remember. The second thing I remember was he was very belligerent. He said, I think within a couple minutes of sitting down, Stop bothering my friend, David Cameron. You remember the interview? Stop bothering my friend David Cameron and tell your boss to basically leave him alone as well.
And, you know, struck me as odd that a diplomat would be talking like this to me. So right away we have to understand this was a very hostile person. He was there, in my opinion, back then and now that this meeting was orchestrated for a purpose that to this day I don’t understand really what it was all about.
Moving forward —
Mr. Meadows. Excuse me. Did the special counsel, when you were sharing this information about Ambassador Downer, did they do a lot more follow-up and probing on that particular interaction?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My recollection of my interaction with the special counsel about this particular meeting was the following:
I had my first interview with the FBI in January of 2017 where I tell them it’s public, that Mifsud told me this information about emails. And then I had a follow-up meeting with the FBI. And they were basically, as far as I remember, just asking me who did I tell on the campaign about the dirt?
I don’t really remember them even really interested in Mifsud, which always left a strange impression on my mind. I just told you that this man is a Russian agent because that’s what I thought at the time, and the Russians have emails. But you’re just really focused on who did I share it with on the campaign.
So that was one thing I felt was very odd about my follow-up. And then they asked, Do you remember meeting a diplomat in a bar in London? And I said I met many diplomats in bars. And I couldn’t remember at the time that they were talking about Downer, but then they made it more specific. And I said, Yeah, I remember Downer. Do you remember telling him any information? And I said, No, to this day, I don’t remember actually ever sharing that information with this person that I guess triggered this whole investigation. But like I said, I remember many other facets of that meeting.
And after I told the FBI that, Yes, I did meet with Downer, then I had the FBI going around to my associates and my friends and family and interviewing them and, basically, as some would say it to me on the phone, we’re being harassed.
So that was — oh, so then I’m arrested and we’re talking. And then they bring it up again in some way. And I tell them as far as I remember, I still don’t remember ever telling this person about emails. And they said, No, you did. And I said, Okay.
Mr. Meadows. They said, No, you did?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah.
Mr. Meadows. And what proof did they give you that you did?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I never saw any empirical evidence that I told this person that.
Mr. Meadows. I mean, so under what authority did they say that you told them?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I just —
Mr. Meadows. His testimony, is that — Mr. Downer’s testimony?
I guess, I’m trying to figure out, if they’re so emphatic that you said it, how would they know?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Well, all I can say is as I remember with my interactions with the special counsel, when I went back to that segment and I told them I felt he was recording me, and I pulled out my phone the way I just did here, they asked me how do you know he was recording you? As if they knew he was recording me but they wanted to know why did I think he was doing it.
And then I pulled out my phone, showed them what he was doing. And then I said I don’t remember talking about it. And then Agent Curtis Heide, the FBI agent, said, No, you did, to me, something along those lines during my proffer session with the special counsel.
Mr. Meadows. No, you did, is that what you just said?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what I remember yes, from agent Curtis Heide.
Mr. Meadows. Go ahead. I think you were trying to finish up the conversation about Downer.
So is this the last time you had a contact with Ambassador Downer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. So I met Downer at the bar, and then I had been invited to the annual Israel Independence Day festivities at their embassy in London —
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. — that everybody goes to. And I saw Downer there again. And I’ll never forget this. He shook my hand, and he did a grin to me like I got you. He didn’t say anything else. He just grinned at me. And it’s a face I’ll never forget this day.
And it left this mark on me like, I got you on something. That’s what I remember. That was my only other encounter with this person. And that’s to this day, why, I’ve told you, I’ve told the FBI special counsel, that I felt that Downer was recording my conversation, and that now I believe he was sent to meet me by some organization. I just don’t know who.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q And I think you said that Israel came up in the conversation with Downer.
Q Did Russia come up in the conversation with Downer?
A That’s the point. I don’t remember Russia ever coming up in a conversation with him. I just remember him telling me that he was an envoy to Cyprus, a U.N. envoy and that my ideas in that part of the world are very wrong. He was just very belligerent. I mean, it was a very hostile meeting.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q Were you inebriated or drunk during that meeting?
A Fortunately, the one thing he has corrected is that we weren’t drunk, and we had one drink.
Q I’m sorry, you were not?
A We were not drunk. I was certainly not drunk, and I don’t believe he was either.
Q So there’s no reason for you to believe that there were any outside influences that might affect your memory in not remembering the fact that you may have indicated your knowledge about the dirt or emails?
A That’s correct.
Mr. Meadows. So did DOJ, or the FBI, and I guess, more accurately, it would be DOJ, provide any exculpatory evidence to you that would suggest that there were tapes or transcripts or anything of that nature? Did they provide that to you or your counsel ever?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Tapes of what exactly?
Mr. Meadows. Of any recordings that might have been.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Of Downer?
Mr. Meadows. Of you and Downer, or of you and any other person.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I personally never witnessed anything like that. I don’t know if my former lawyers did, but as far as I remember, that never was shared with me, no.
Mr. Meadows. So your lawyers, if they received that information, never shared the fact that you had transcripts or — what I would call extraordinary surveillance, where they taped a conversation. They never shared that with — to your knowledge, never was shared with you. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s correct.
Mr. Meadows. Are you aware of any potential exculpatory evidence that would exist that you just have not seen or your counsel have not seen?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I read John Solomon’s report, like I think probably everyone in this room did from The Hill a couple days ago, about Stefan Halper, which is another person. But in regarding Downer, no, I haven’t seen anything like that.
Mr. Meadows. But before your plea deal and before you actually had your communication — you had — I’m not a lawyer, but I would understand that if you got to a particular point there would be discovery. And so they would have to get — give that. You never got to that process where they would have given you that information. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I gave up my rights to discovery when I signed my plea deal. But going to the plea deal, my understanding is I never, that wasn’t provided to my former counsel. Does that make sense?
Mr. Meadows. Right. So you gave up your rights, but you have no knowledge of anything like that being given to your previous counsel or to you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. We’re talking about recordings of —
Mr. Meadows. Recordings or transcripts that would be a reflection of a recording.
Mr. Papadopoulos. With Alexander Downer?
Mr. Meadows. Ambassador Downer, that’s correct.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I never saw anything like that.
Mr. Meadows. About recordings or transcripts of Mr. Mifsud?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Never saw anything like that in my life.
Mr. Meadows. About recordings or transcripts of Mr. Halper?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I never saw anything, but my lawyers, to be clear, they had made a passing remark about something that I said about treason —
Mr. Pierce. Don’t share anything your lawyers said to you directly.
Mr. Meadows. I appreciate your willingness to be
transparent. At the same time, you have certain rights that I want to make sure that your counsel —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah.
Mr. Meadows. Did your attorneys ever ask — let’s see if we can ask this in a way that you can —
Mr. Pierce. You can share your independent factual knowledge, just don’t share any communications you had with your lawyers.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I got it.
Mr. Meadows. So are you aware of any inquiry by your attorneys where they asked the FBI why they were so certain of what you said to Ambassador Downer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t. I never — I didn’t have knowledge of that, no, sir.
Mr. Meadows. Because we’ve got a foreign diplomat that is saying one thing and so you have — because in your testimony, you act like they were — who was the FBI agent that said Yes, you did?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Curtis Heide. I think I remember it was Curtis Heide.
Mr. Meadows. And so was Curtis in London? I mean, you don’t know? He’s basically an FBI agent that said he knew you did it and no one could prove otherwise.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s my understanding. I don’t have any clue of whether he was in London or what his background is, except that he was interviewing me.
Mr. Meadows. I think we’ve got just a few minutes left. So let me ask you. So since we’re on this — go ahead.
Mr. Breitenbach. You mentioned this interview with the FBI agent. You were interviewed how many times by the FBI agent?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Let me think.
Mr. Breitenbach. And was it one agent or were there multiple agents?
Mr. Papadopoulos. During my initial, my first interview, I was interviewed by two agents in Chicago. Curtis Heide and
These were the two agents that interviewed me.
Mr. Somers. About when was that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. This was in January of 2017, right? My first interview, my first interview with the FBI. It was January of 2017.
Mr. Somers. This is before you were arrested?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah, I was arrested in July — right?
July of 2017. So my first interview was in January.
Mr. Breitenbach. Was there anybody else in the room when you interviewed with the two of them?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, I just remember them two.
Mr. Breitenbach. You were not represented by counsel?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No.
Mr. Meadows. So, I mean, did you decline counsel?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Call it —
Mr. Meadows. It’s okay if you did. Let me just tell you. I’m a non-lawyer. But at this point, so you were just willing to cooperate —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah.
Mr. Meadows. — with the FBI? Is that because you didn’t have anything to hide?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s how I felt at the time.
Mr. Meadows. So you felt, at the time, you had nothing to hide so you’re going to cooperate with the FBI. So if you had nothing to hide, obviously — would you see cooperating with the Russian Government is something to hide?
Mr. Papadopoulos. If I was guilty, probably, but I —
Mr. Meadows. Do you think it would be appropriate to collude with the Russians to affect an election? Would that be appropriate?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Of course not.
Mr. Meadows. Of course not.
And so any narrative that is out there that you colluded with the Russians for an advantage in the election, is that false or?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s false.
Mr. Meadows. Is there any reason to believe that you, having not traveled to Russia, having not talked to any person to give you classified Russian documents or anything, is there any reason why the average American should believe that you colluded with the Russians to affect the outcome of the Presidential election?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I certainly hope not, and that’s why I’m just trying to clear my name right now.
Mr. Meadows. Did anyone else give you any cautions about the fact that you might have been surveilled? Was there any other individual that you talked to that said, You know, George, you need to be careful?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I have —
Mr. Meadows. Either that you were being surveilled or the campaign was being surveilled.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I had a friend — or I should say, an acquaintance of mine in Chicago, who was interviewed by the FBI shortly after I mentioned that they started this sweep after I told them, Yeah, I met with Downer. And he told me that they, the FBI presented surveillance photos of me to him, of us, I don’t know, going to a casino or just walking around. But he told me this. And his name is Jeffrey Wiseman.
Mr. Meadows. So Jeffrey Wiseman actually saw photos of you actually, that they presented — the FBI presented to them photos of you in — where was this? In London?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I never saw these photos, just to be clear.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’m just telling you what he told me. And that he said that you and I — meaning George, you and me — were in a casino and, probably in Indiana or in Chicago, likely
Indiana, or in Vegas, because I had traveled to Vegas with my friend, and they were photos of us.
And he even told me, he was like they were making fun of me — meaning him, Jeffrey — because he smokes cigarettes, and they said, You sure do like to smoke a lot, don’t you?
So that’s what he told me.
Mr. Meadows. And when would this — when would they have — these are not photos off of Facebook?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My understanding is they were surveillance photos.
Mr. Meadows. All right.
I think we’re out of time.
[11:22 a.m.] BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q We’re back on the record. It is 11:22.
I just wanted to ask a quick follow-up question before I turn it over to Val.
You had mentioned that you were unaware of any transcripts involving Downer, correct?
A That’s — yes.
Q Were you — are you aware of any other transcripts or recordings or exculpatory materials as Mr. Meadows referenced?
A This is what I currently understand. I read the John Solomon report about the Stefan Halper, I guess, tapes or recordings of some nature. And so — my old lawyer or — all I — my understanding is that they had a — that they gave me, my old lawyers, a passing reference to something about — I said about treason, and I am — no, about the exculpatory.
All I can say is I never saw any transcripts of recordings or anything like that. That was never presented to me.
Q Involving other people besides Downer?
A So certainly not — I knew I didn’t see it with my own eyes. That’s all I could say.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q Because you said you weren’t aware of any transcripts or recordings related to Downer, are you aware of any transcripts or recordings that exist at all, you know, not related to Downer? So any conversations with anyone else you may have had that exist?
A My understanding is that my conversations with Stefan
Halper were recorded. That’s my understanding.
Q Okay. But that’s from reading the John Solomon article?
A It’s from reading the John Solomon article and a passing reference my old lawyers made that made me connect things together, but I never saw it.
Q Okay. So you were never explicitly told that there were certain transcription recordings that didn’t pass into evidence or given to your attorney or somebody else?
A I could just say what I just said, and that’s — that that’s a fact.
Q Okay. Okay. Now, I’d just kind of like to jump back a little bit more to understanding how you came to work in the Trump campaign and your role and — you know, that the kind of work that you did there.
Q So I believe earlier you said that you had interviewed with Sam Clovis to get the job. Is that correct?
A That’s right.
Q Was he also the individual who essentially hired you, who approved the decision to hire you, or was there somebody else who did that?
A As I stated earlier, there was a chain that linked me to
Sam Clovis that began with Corey Lewandowski. And then I believe Michael Glassner was the second point person, and then Sam was the person I had an interview with to formally join.
Q Okay. And so Sam Clovis informed you when you were formally joining the Trump campaign?
Q Okay. And what was your official start date for the campaign?
A I don’t remember the exact start date.
A But it should be sometime in March, early March.
Q Okay. So you said that your title in the campaign was a foreign policy adviser. Is that correct?
Q Okay. And so you provided — as part of your job, did you provide foreign policy advice to senior campaign officials?
Q Okay. And did you also communicate with outside foreign policy experts on behalf of the campaign?
A In what sense, exactly?
Q Did you, in your official capacity as a — as a member of the campaign, have communications with foreign policy leaders outside the campaign?
Q Okay. And did you also communicate with foreign officials on behalf of the campaign?
Q Earlier I believe you said that you were not in a paid role. Is that correct?
Q Was it a full-time job, though?
A I don’t know what to — if you call it a full-time job or — I don’t know.
Q About how many hours a week or — would you work on the campaign?
A It was — any time I thought there was something of interest, I’d pass it along. This wasn’t a 9-to-5, if that’s what you’re asking.
Q Okay. So, I believe it was on March 21, 2016, that, you know, then-candidate Trump announced in an interview that yourself would be joining the foreign policy team that would be led by Jeff Sessions and also include Sam Clovis, Carter Page, Joseph Schmitz, and Keith Kellogg.
Were those, in fact, the people on Trump’s foreign policy campaign team?
A I believe so, yes.
Q Okay. And can you, you know, just very briefly go through each individual and your sort of understanding of what their role was in the campaign so — starting with Jeff Sessions.
A My understanding was that he was a senior Senator at the time and that he’d be essentially leading this committee of some sort.
Q So he was leading the committee that you were on on the campaign?
A That was my understanding, yes.
Q And Sam Clovis, he was also a member of the foreign policy team. What was his role?
A I’m not a real 100 percent sure what everyone was doing. I mean, of course, I know what I was doing. I really don’t want to maybe mix up their responsibilities, so I’m not really too comfortable in actually going into their responsibilities, because they’re bio, I’m sure, is online or something.
Q How often did you directly work with these individuals on the campaign?
A Quite frequently. I mean, over email especially, just —
Q Did you email all of the individuals on the foreign policy team at one point or another?
A I believe so, yeah.
A Except Jeff Sessions. That’s right. I didn’t ever email Jeff Sessions.
Q Did you ever personally speak to or meet with candidate
Trump before the announcement of your hiring on the campaign?
A I met candidate Trump once and only once, and that was on March 31 at the national security meeting.
Q Okay. So that was after you were hired, then?
Q Okay. And do you — did you interact with Carter Page, who was a member of the Trump campaign foreign policy team?
A Yeah. We — we interacted, yeah.
Q So you exchanged emails?
A Emails, yeah.
Q And had meetings and phone calls, things like that?
A I think I met him twice in my life.
Q Okay. And what about Jeff Sessions? How many times did you — you said you didn’t have any emails with him, but did you also have meetings or phone calls about the campaign?
A Regarding Jeff Sessions, I had the meeting at the national security, the picture that everyone has seen. And then I attended a lunch or a dinner, I can’t remember exactly, at the — at the what is it? — Republican Club here in Capitol —
Q The Capitol Hill Club?
A Yeah. That’s right. That’s right.
That was the last time I saw Jeff.
Q Okay. So we talked about — or you talked about this last round how, when you were hired on the campaign, you were informed that one of the goals of the campaign would be to improve relations with Russia. Is that right?
A Something along those lines, yes.
Q And that was Sam Clovis that informed you that?
Q Did Sam Clovis explain why improving relations with
Russia was going to be a focus of the campaign?
A I can’t remember the exact details of this interview, but I just remember — the two things that struck me on this was that, We like that you come from the energy industry, and this is one of our things that we’d like to work on —
A — regarding Russia.
Q Do you know who decided that the goal would be to improve Russia during the campaign? Was that coming from the candidate? Was that coming from the campaign chairman?
A I don’t know. I mean, I just, like probably everyone else in this room, just saw candidate Trump publicly pronounce that he’d like to work with Russia, so —
Q Okay. And did you support the campaign’s goal at the time to improve relations with Russia?
A I did, yes.
Q Okay. So, overall, would it be fair to say that you played a significant substantive role in the Trump campaign?
A It’s all relative. I don’t know if — how substance — how much substance I had. I mean, I certainly contributed, but I can’t tell you out of 1 to 10, what — where I would fall, because it’s all relevant.
Q Can you describe the spectrum of your duties on the
campaign? So, you know, we talked about you — you were involved in at least trying to set up certain meetings with officials. Did you also, you know, do policy research? You mentioned giving advice.
What is the — you know, the — what did your duties entail?
A So let’s go to maybe probably the key contributing elements of what I was doing on the campaign.
I — I believe I was in touch with Stephen Miller about the first foreign policy speech that Candidate Trump gave at the Mayflower. I contributed to that. I’m not — well, I sent Stephen Miller some notes. I’m not sure if that was actually part of the speech or not.
And then, of course, I helped broker the meeting between Trump and — Candidate Trump and the Egyptian President with the help of Steve Bannon.
And then meeting on behalf — meeting with foreign officials on behalf of the campaign and just keeping them usually abreast of what I was up to, over email.
Q How often would you have in-person meetings or phone calls with different campaign officials?
A I’d say probably 90 percent of my interaction was over email. Then a couple sporadic phone calls and — not too much in person.
Q So while you were on the Trump campaign, which officials would you most frequently be in contact with or report to?
It evolved. Let’s remember the campaign was kind of in
a disarray by the time I joined. I think Corey Lewandowski was fired shortly after I joined. To the best of my, you know, recollection of how — what was going on at the time. Then Paul Manafort joined. He was fired. And Kellyanne Conway. So you have — I mean, it certainly evolved.
But, initially, I was in touch predominantly with the five-member team that you referenced. Sam Clovis; Stephen Miller, I guess we can — I could add him in there. I would exchange emails with Hope Hicks, too. I can’t really remember what I was talking to her about.
And then as we progressed, then, of course, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort. As I stated earlier, they were fully aware of what I was trying to accomplish regarding this potential meeting with Russia. This wasn’t some sort of secret mission I was on. You know, I was letting them know what I was doing.
Q And who would you consider your direct supervisor when you first started on the complain?
A Probably Sam Clovis, that’s what I think. I think I saw him as my direct supervisor initially.
Q Okay. And — I mean, I understand you just said that it evolved. But — so when you first started on the campaign, would you say that Sam Clovis, the foreign policy team members, those are the people you interacted most frequently with, how that did change over time?
So lets say, you know, by the end of the campaign, which individuals would you identify?
A I guess I started to see that this was a very disparate campaign, and, you know, there were different teams of some sort — some had less influence, some had more — and I didn’t really want to associate with the people I didn’t feel really had too much influence, and that was the original team.
So then I just started going off on my own, not really involving them and going directly to people like Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks. Then, later on, Michael Glassner, Steve
Bannon. I don’t think I’ve ever been in touch with Kellyanne Conway, as far as I understand. Boris Epshteyn.
And then, of course, there came — there was a point where I believe I was an official media surrogate of the campaign with Bryan Lanza. Bryan Lanza and Hope Hicks were, I guess, coordinating that for me.
I don’t think I ever went on TV. No, I don’t think I ever went on TV for the campaign, but I believe I was an official surrogate.
And then we go to the transition period, and I’m put in touch with Mike Flynn and K.T. McFarland by Steve Bannon regarding some sort of energy proposal that the Greek Government wanted to discuss with — with the new administration.
Q So, generally speaking, how often would you say you were in touch with Steve Bannon when he joined the campaign?
So I never met Steve Bannon face-to-face in my life. We
just had a couple phone calls. We were emailing back and forth about this meeting with Sisi, you know, stuff like — like that.
And then, as I said, I sent him some information I received from the Greek Government about a potential big oil deal that they wanted to broker with the U.S., which I thought was very beneficial to our country. I passed the information along to Steve, and then Steve put me in touch then with K.T. McFarland and Mike Flynn, and we kind of just threw a couple ideas back and forth.
But I never met Steve Bannon face-to-face; I never met Mike Flynn face-to-face; and I never K.T. McFarland face-to-face. This was all pretty much done over telephone and email.
Q Did you ever meet with Stephen Miller face-to-face?
A I met Stephen Miller at the March 31 meeting face-to-face, but other than that —
Q And Sam Clovis you interviewed with, so you would have met him?
A Yeah. So Sam — yeah. Sam Clovis I met in person with more than that. I met — I saw Sam Clovis during the March 31 meeting. I think I met with him, actually, the day after — this is in-person stuff — the day after that meeting or a couple days after. I can’t remember exactly. And then I met Sam at the RNC convention again. And I don’t remember seeing him again after that.
Q Okay. So when you were initially hired, you were based out of London?
Q But at a certain point you moved to D.C. for the campaign. Is that correct?
A I — so, I moved to Chicago.
Q Oh, Chicago.
A Yeah. And then I’d fly to wherever things were going on, really.
Q Okay. So your work continued predominantly over email because you were not physically with a lot of the campaign officials. Is that correct?
A Sorry. What was that?
Q Let me rephrase.
So, when you moved to the United States, it was Chicago.
Where were the other —
A That’s where I was living at, Chicago.
Q Okay. And at the time, the Trump campaign officials, where were they located physically?
A My understanding was that the senior people were in New York at Trump Tower. That’s my understanding. But, certainly, many advisers were working from home or from their own business. And as I stated, my understanding was this wasn’t a 9-to-5 job where we would punch in and punch out at Trump Tower.
Q Did you ever fly to Trump Tower to do campaign work
A I don’t remember ever going to Trump Tower to meet anyone regarding campaign business. But I, of course, have been to Trump Tower, and I’ve had meetings at Trump Tower, but I don’t remember if any of those meetings were — had anything to do with the campaign.
Q Okay. Were the meetings that you had at Trump Tower during 2016?
A My recollection of the — actually, the only meeting I ever had at Trump Tower had — wasn’t with anyone affiliated with the campaign. They were two journalists. So that’s what I’m trying to articulate, that I was never going up to Trump headquarters or something like that and talking with the campaign.
Q Okay. When you were working on the campaign, and most of your work was done remotely through email, you said — I believe you said that, you know, you were trying to keep people abreast, so you would —
Q — sort of email as you felt as needed, correct?
Q So how often was that, would you say? Like how often would you be sending an email? I mean, I know it’s a rough estimate, but —
A It depends on the timing. I mean, there was a point where it was very frequent, and then I took a pause, then started up again. I can’t give a number. I really can’t. But there’s a lot of emails, and those are all documented.
Q Okay. So when the transition started, you said that you became introduced to Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland.
A Over email.
Q Over email.
Q And that you had worked on a project with the — I’m sorry, was it — to set up a meeting with the Egyptian —
A Okay. So I helped broker the meeting that candidate Trump had with the Egyptian President, I believe, during — it was a UN General Assembly in September. So that’s in September. And then the transition stuff, I think, was December or January.
Q Did you do any other work on — with Michael Flynn or K.T. McFarland?
A So the only interactions I really had with Flynn and K.T. McFarland — actually, I don’t think K.T. McFarland ever even responded to my overture. It was Flynn who basically reached out and said, This is an interesting idea that you came out that — where you’re telling us we’re going to look into it, and we should meet up at some point very soon or in the future.
I think I was in Europe at the time of these emails, and we just never were able to organize a meeting face-to-face.
Q Was there any follow-up from that initial email — or, I guess, his response to your email? Was there any subsequent communication?
A Of real substance, I can’t remember. But — except that, you know, Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. Something — I can’t really remember exactly. But I’m more than happy to provide those emails if you don’t have them.
Q Okay. It’s just that you said that, you know, the — that proposal you had been working on never came to fruition.
A Which proposal?
Q I’m sorry. The proposal during the transition that you gave to Mike Flynn and K.T. McFarland. And that was over a meeting. Is that correct?
A Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Hold on.
Q I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m getting it wrong.
A So I never spoke about Russia at all with Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland during the transition. It was about an energy project that the Greek Government wanted to discuss with the incoming administration, and that’s why I was put in touch — that’s my understanding of why I was put in touch with Michael Flynn during the transition over email to discuss this deal that, I guess, the Greek Government wanted to discuss with the higher-ups in the incoming administration about, I don’t know, giving U.S. companies rights to their energy reserves, something along those lines.
Q So this proposed energy project that you said never came
to fruition —
A No, no, no, no. I don’t know — I don’t know if it came to fruition or not, because it — the administration is negotiating with governments, and I’m not privy to what’s going on, so —
A I don’t know if it did or if it didn’t.
Q I guess what I’m trying to ask is, you know, when did — when was the end of your involvement —
A I see.
— in the proposal to engage in this energy project?
A With the Greek Government —
Q The Greek Government.
A — yes.
Probably at the end of the transition.
Q Okay. During the transition, were you ever a part of or aware of any discussions to potentially engage in energy projects in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East?
A To my recollection, no.
Q Okay. So you never had a conversation or were aware of conversations with Michael Flynn relating to Saudi Arabia?
A To my recollection, the only interactions I had with Michael Flynn were regarding this Greek energy deal, and I think that’s documented in emails.
Q So I believe earlier you had stated that, you know, certainly specific to your work to arrange a potential meeting between Candidate Trump and President Putin that the campaign officials — senior campaign officials were fully aware at the time. Is that correct?
A That’s — yes. That’s my understanding, yes.
Q Did you perform any work that senior campaign officials were not aware of on behalf of the campaign?
A In what sense, exactly?
Q So — so I’m sorry to be confused.
So, you know, on that particular topic, you know, you’ve asserted that, yes, you know, senior campaign officials were aware the whole time. I don’t know, again, the sort of entire breadth of your work, but on anything else that you did, you know, any other kind of projects or campaign work, were there always senior campaign officials that were aware of your ongoing work at the time or were there some projects that you were working on and did not keep the campaign abreast of?
A The only thing that comes to mind, and I’m happy to share it with everyone, is — there was a point, I think, during the summer of ’16 when I was considering leaving the campaign, and I had been in touch with this individual, Sergei Millian, about potentially working together as long as there was a complete understanding that I would have recused myself from the campaign. I would not be working with any sanctioned individuals, and I’d be working as George Papadopoulos, private citizen, with another private American citizen.
And then we could get into that, but that’s — but I think that was the only other, I guess, side project that I was considering. But it had nothing to do with the campaign, and if I even pursued it, I made it very clear that I would have left the campaign.
So I guess that’s — does that answer your question?
Q And what was that — yeah, it does. It does.
Q And what was that project that you were discussing with
A Well, this — I never properly understood exactly what we were talking about. I believe I was asking him for a contract. And I have to go back, and I could share notes later on, but I — just giving off my current memory, that he wanted to do some sort of PR or consultancy for a friend of his or somebody that he knew in Russia. And I believe the terms of the agreement would have been $30,000 a month and some sort of office space and in New York. But then I felt that he wasn’t who he seemed to be and that he was working on behalf of somebody else when he was proposing this to me. And — I mean, we could get into that.
Q I guess there’s just one follow-up, because you said some kind of consultancy work for some — someone that Sergei
Millian knew in Russia. What would have been the nature of that work? Like, what topic would the work have been on?
A My current understanding — and this is what I think it is, because this is a very shady kind of person — was that it was a former minister of some sort who had money and wanted to do PR work. But then, of course, we met in Chicago, and I felt that, you know, he was — I don’t know. I just felt that when he proposed this deal to me face-to-face that he might have been wearing some sort of wire. And he was acting very bizarre. And I don’t know what that was. Maybe I’m a paranoid person. But there were certain other events regarding Sergei Millian that made — that make me believe that he might have actually been working with the FBI.
Ms. Hariharan. Is that your — so you earlier just said, like, that’s your understanding now.
Your understanding at the time was that it was — it was potentially a PR contract?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Okay. So it was some sort of PR consultancy. That was what I think my understanding was at the time. And the agreement was — I don’t — actually, I don’t even remember if he ever sent me something in writing. We were just talking, and then I tried to make it clear to him that whatever we are going to do together, if we even do anything together, I have certain standards that have to be met. And, of course, I don’t think he could have possibly met what I was expecting.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q So earlier, I believe, you talked about — again, with the arranging the Trump-Putin meeting — that it was Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, and Sam Clovis, is that right, who you would have made aware, who was aware of your efforts at the time?
A That’s what I remember, yeah.
Q Okay. Were those three individuals, you know, the senior officials that you would generally keep abreast of your work?
A I believe so, yes.
A I believe I was just — at one point, like I said, my contact with the campaign evolved, and it was almost predominantly with the senior officials.
Q But when those three senior officials were on the campaign, would you regularly keep — give them updates as to your work as a general matter?
Q Okay. So I’m going to jump back to the — I believe it was an April meeting with — your April meeting with Professor Mifsud during which he told you about, you know, these — Russia having Hillary Clinton emails.
A I do want to make it clear, though, that, yes, of course, I was keeping the campaign aware of my activities, but they weren’t in constant communication with me or I wasn’t with them on my day-to-day activities either. So, I mean, I would just, of course, as a foreign policy adviser, I would keep them abreast of significant events, but I wasn’t telling them, for example, what I was eating or who I — I mean, so just so — there wasn’t this constant — it was just this, for the big events, I emailed them.
What other big events do you recall, you know, that you would have emailed them about?
A It was, you know, like I said, the Egyptian idea, the
I think, as I mentioned earlier, with the Japanese, we were trying to set up a meeting with the Prime Minister and with the British Government. And just — you know, with the big event stuff. And I think I might have told them about Stefan Halper. I think I mentioned to the campaign about my meetings with Sergei Millian. I think I was even trying to introduce Sergei to Boris Epshteyn at some point.
So, I mean, that’s what I would have been keeping people abreast of, just the — kind of the big stuff.
Q So, again, I know that this is, you know, a long time ago now and — A Yeah.
Q — you can’t give me an exact number, but, you know, how often might you say that you emailed, you know, Paul Manafort about your work, just — you know, about a significant event or, you know, an update, something?
A I can’t give you exact numbers, but —
Q Would you give these updates contemporaneously? So would — you know, something happened, and you would immediately forward an email, or would it be more, you know, every now and again when you feel like you need to give an update?
No. Because my counsel has seen the emails, and it’s clear that I really did not communicate that frequently with Paul Manafort. In fact, I think I probably had two or three real emails with this person. One, as far as I remember, was, Hi, I’m George. This is who I am. Good to meet you. And then I don’t ever think Paul Manafort really responded to me again in his life.
Q Sorry. When you say “real emails,” what do you mean by that?
A Emails. Just emails directly to him.
Q Okay. So you mean you believe you only sent two or three emails to Paul Manafort?
A Yes. That’s what I — that’s what I believe, yes.
Q Okay. Did you ever have any other communications with him? So just phone calls or meetings?
A I never had a phone call with him. I’ve never met Paul Manafort in my life face-to-face. Just emails that we had regarding this, Hi, I’m George. You’re the new campaign chairman.
I want to get in your good grace. Nice to meet you. And then, I’m working on this potential meeting with Trump and Putin. Do you want to go forward with it? And then I don’t even think he ever responded to me regarding it.
So at — at that point, I think the campaign had wholeheartedly dismissed me as this potential intermediary with the campaign and Russia. And, of course, the campaign never went to Russia, as far as I understand. Putin never met Trump during the campaign, as far as I understand. And I essentially was, you know, dismissed regarding my idea, and then I simply moved on to other issues.
Ms. Hariharan. Was this — do you feel like they dismissed this after Mr. Manafort took over?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My understanding and my — probably how I remember it is that, initially, the campaign was vacillating between maybe it’s a good idea, maybe it’s not. It was always — it seemed very noncommittal, to be quite frank, okay? And then once Paul Manafort took over, we just seemed that it was all shut down — or leading up to his appointment, it was all shut down.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q What do you mean by “it was all shut down”?
A Meaning my attempt to set up a meeting with Trump and Putin. I think once I never received a response from Manafort, I just said, Okay, they don’t want to do this, and that was it.
Q Okay. So other than your communications to Manafort relating to the Trump-Putin meeting, did you have any other communications with senior Trump campaign officials related to Russia?
A As I’ve stated here already, I kept them completely aware of — that I’m, you know, in touch with this person Joseph Mifsud, and I think he’s the — a big person that might set up a meeting. And probably others. But I’m pretty sure I was keeping them fully abreast of — of everything I was really up to with —
Q So you — A — certain issues.
Q So you were also informing them about your meetings with
Were there any other topics related to Russia that you might have communicated to senior Trump campaign officials?
A Well, apparently, if I’m cross-referencing the dates correcting, the day that Joseph Mifsud told me about emails, I then emailed Stephen Miller, the same day as — this is my understanding. And I told him, I’m hearing about interesting messages from Russia. And I was supposed, I think, to have a scheduled call with him that night, but it never went through. And then I also was supposed to have a scheduled call with Corey Lewandowski around that time, I think. That call never went through.
So maybe it’s — if you’re trying to ask if I told anyone on
the campaign about emails — I think that’s where you’re going — I — to this day, I have no recollection of ever doing that. And that day that Joseph Mifsud told me that, I — my message to Miller was interesting messages.
Q What did you mean by “interesting messages” at the time?
A I can’t remember exactly what my thought process was besides, hey — I don’t know. I can’t really tell you what I was thinking exactly at the time, because it’s over 2 years ago.
Q Would you have been referring to the emails, or do you — you remember?
A It’s possible. It’s possible. I can’t say yes or no.
There was probably other stuff that was discussed at that meeting with Joseph Mifsud that might have caught my attention. But, you know, there are certain things in life that you don’t forgot. And I guess hearing that comment from this person left an indelible mark on my mind, and maybe some other things he was talking about didn’t. I don’t know.
Q I mean, yeah. I understand my memory, you know, can go blank at odd times, too.
But, you know, you say that you do not recall ever communicating your knowledge from Joseph Mifsud about the Clinton emails to the Trump campaign officials. Is that correct?
A That’s correct.
A Now, what I can say is, and I’ve stated it publicly and I want to make sure I’m on the record saying it here, the individual I do remember talking — or, I guess, sending a — or referencing what I heard was to the Greek foreign minister in a private meeting I had with him. So that’s —
Can you tell me more about that private meeting? Do you recall when it happened, and, you know, where you were, circumstances of that meeting?
A I can’t remember the exact date, but I think it was around the time that — that Putin was in Greece that year.
Q Was it about May 2016? Does that sound about right?
A Yeah. Sometime — I don’t know the exact date, but I think it was May 2016.
And, you know, went to meet him just to talk, figure out geopolitical issues with NATO and things like that. And then I remember he told me, Where you’re sitting tomorrow, Putin is going to be sitting. And then I had some sort of, I guess, nervous reaction, Hey, I heard this. And then I don’t remember going any further than that.
Q Why — when you say you heard this, you meant that you heard that about —
A Repeating, I guess, what Joseph Mifsud had dropped on me.
Q Why would — why would you say that after being nervous?
I guess I’m trying to understand what prompted you to bring it up.
A I don’t know. People gossip in these circles. And it’s not uncommon, especially in this city, that if you hear something strange, you’re just going to gossip about it and — I don’t know. I don’t — I really don’t know why I said it.
Q What was the Greek foreign minister’s reaction to you saying that?
A My understanding was he was a bit shocked.
Q A bit shocked.
But did he say anything in response?
A My understanding, as far as I remember, was he was like,
This isn’t something that should be talked about. So that was it.
Q Do you have any idea whether he told anybody else about your conversation?
A All I can say is I think that special counsel knows what I told him. That’s all I could say about that. I don’t know — I’m not the secretary of the Greek foreign minister, and I don’t know what he does with any meeting he’s attended, but I’m sure it’s probably been reported.
Q Okay. But you never had a specific conversation with the Greek foreign minister saying, Well, you know, I’m definitely not going to tell anyone or, you know, I might mention this to someone, nothing like that?
You never had a conversation with the Greek foreign minister discussing whether he was going to further communicate your conversation or not. Is that —
A As far as any communication indirectly with the Greek foreign minister, I think there was — I think he had met with the campaign in September, and there was an individual on the campaign named Bert Mizusawa.
Q I’m sorry. Can you sort of spell it for me.
You said Bert.
A Mizusawa. M-I — I don’t know. I mean, don’t quote — but, yeah. And it’s my understanding that he was adamant that I join this meeting with Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, and the Greek foreign minister. I think that’s who was in this meeting.
Q I’m sorry. Who was adamant that you join this meeting?
A Bert Mizusawa.
A Or at least he was trying to get me into that meeting. That’s what I remember he was trying to do. And that always — that’s actually another very strange person that I’m glad that I just brought up, because it made no sense to me of why this person would want me to join a meeting with the Greek foreign minister, Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions unless he potentially was informed of what I told the Greek foreign minister myself. I don’t know. Unless he just really liked me, I don’t know.
Q And who is Bert Mizusawa?
A Bert Mizusawa is a gentleman who was seated two people
away from me in this national security meeting. And at the time, I think he was Active-Duty military, U.S. military. I don’t know his — I don’t know his accolades, okay? I’m just — my understanding was that he was some sort of national security adviser to the — to the campaign. But I just really found it odd that he would want me to join that meeting considering that what I had told the Greek foreign minister a couple months before.
Q So Bert Mizusawa was a member of the Trump campaign as well?
A That’s what I believe he was part of, yes. Q Okay. And so that’s how you know him is from your —
A Yes. Yes.
A And, like I said, it could be just — maybe he hears I have a Greek last name and he wanted me to join for that reason, or maybe it’s something completely different.
My interactions with Bert Mizusawa were quite strange. You know, he would call me on private numbers and kind of ask me where I’m sitting or where I’m living at the moment. And I don’t know what he was doing, exactly, but it just struck me as odd that he would want me in that meeting with the Greek foreign minister. I just never understood why he wanted me there.
Q And what was his role in the Trump campaign? Because he wasn’t part of those original five names that we had gone over before.
A I think he was, though.
Q He was?
A Oh, maybe not like in The Washington Post, but he was in that room, and he was —
Q So he was considered a member of the Trump foreign policy team as well?
A I don’t know exactly what he was doing, but he was certainly somebody on the campaign that was advising on issues of national security.
Q Okay. And did he work particularly closely with either
Mike Flynn or Jeff Sessions?
A I don’t know. I don’t know.
A I just know that he — things became strange with him after I had spoke to the Greek foreign minister.
Q Do you think that the Greek foreign minister might have told someone else on the campaign about your discussion of the emails?
A I don’t know. I don’t know.
Q And just to circle back, that meeting that you were encouraged to attend with the Greek foreign minister, that was about September 2016. Is that what you said?
A Wait. Wait. Wait.
Q Sorry. Let me about go back.
So you had just mentioned a meeting that Bert Mizusawa was encouraging you to attend with Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions —
A I think Mike Flynn and Jeff Sessions were there meeting with this person. I remember that Mizusawa wanted me to be part of some meeting, okay? I could go back and look and refresh my memory later on, and we could — I could share those emails with you, because it’s in email form.
But the Greek foreign minister, as far as I understand, met with the campaign higher-ups during the UN general assembly. That’s my understanding.
Q Which would have been about September, fall, 2016?
A That’s my understanding, yes.
A But I’m not 100 percent sure.
Q Okay. So just to circle back on something I was thinking about — I mean, I — again, understanding that you cannot recall specifically telling anyone — or emailing anyone on the Trump campaign about, you know, what you had heard about these emails. I mean, nonetheless, is it possible that you don’t remember but it could have happened?
A I don’t have a memory of it. And, I mean, anything is possible. I mean, I — but I don’t have any recollection of doing it. And as I stated, the overwhelming communication I had with the campaign was over email. And what we’re left with is interesting messages coming in from Russia on April 26.
Q Did you — other than the Greek foreign minister, was
there any other individual you might have mentioned or gossiped to about these emails that you had heard from Joseph Mifsud?
A As far as I remember, he’s the only one of real substance that I gossiped with about. I can’t remember if I did with my brother or something. I don’t know.
Q Okay. So when you say “real substance,” there might have been other individuals–
A Well, like a diplomat or — no, I’m not saying that there could have been others individuals.
A I’m just saying that the only person I remember talking to about this was a Greek foreign minister. And I just — I can’t just look in my memory and say, Oh, I could have said it, because I don’t have a memory of sharing it with anyone else except the Greek foreign minister.
Q So, basically, yeah. So you don’t recall sharing the information with any other individual —
A Exactly. Yes.
Q — other than the Greek foreign minister?
So going back to the meeting you had with Alexander Downer in
London, I believe —
Q — is that right?
So, again, you say that you don’t recall mentioning, you know, the emails to him during that meeting. But you did recall a number of other things that you discussed during that meeting, correct?
So I guess I just have trouble understanding — you know, you say you don’t recall. Can you — are you confident enough with your memory to say that, you know, you did not tell him?
A I did just say I don’t recall. I don’t have a memory of talking to that person about that, because, actually, the meeting was very belligerent, and my impression of this person was he was a very hostile person, so I don’t understand why —
Q I guess — I guess what I’m trying to figure out is because — you know, you seem pretty confident. You have a lot of detail about that meeting, right? You talked about, like, how many drinks you had and of various topics that you — you know, you talked about the phone recording. You seem to remember a lot of details. So it just strikes me as odd that, if you hadn’t talked about the emails, you couldn’t be more confident and say, you know, I very distinctly remember not talking about the emails.
A I can’t give you a 100 percent transcript of what I was doing yesterday — okay, that’s the point — let alone a conversation I had probably 2 years ago. So I can only tell you what’s in my mind. And I can’t sit and say there’s a transcript in my mind of everything I wrote, said to this person or he said back to me. That’s all I can say.
Q So you leave open the possibility that it might have happened?
A I just don’t have a memory of it. That’s all I could say. And it’s — yeah.
Q Okay. So I’m going to introduce an exhibit now. So it’s the statement of offense from October 5, 2017.
[Papadopoulos Exhibit No. 1
Was marked for identification.]
BY MS. SHEN:
Q And are you familiar with this document?
Q Okay. And would you like a little time to review, or are you good?
Q You’re good. All right.
So if you could turn to page 6, under paragraph 14. So I’m just going to read the paragraph.
So, “On or about April 26, 2016, Defendant Papadopoulos met the professor for breakfast at a London hotel. During this meeting, the professor told Defendant Papadopoulos that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian Government officials. The professor told Defendant Papadopoulos that on that trip he, the professor, learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-Candidate Clinton. The professor told Defendant Papadopoulos, as Defendant Papadopoulos later described to the FBI, that ‘They, the Russians, have dirt on her’; ‘the Russians had emails of Clinton’; ‘they have thousands of emails.'”
So is that paragraph accurate, to your knowledge?
Q And this was the first time that you had heard that the
Russians had Hillary Clinton’s emails. Is that correct?
A That’s — from Joseph Mifsud?
A That’s my memory, yes.
Q Okay. And was this an in-person meeting with Professor
Q Do you recall where it took place?
A I believe it took place at the Andaz Hotel in London by
Liverpool Street Station.
Q And did anyone else attend that meeting?
A I believe it was just Mifsud and I.
Q Okay. And what exactly did Mr. Mifsud, in your own words, tell you that day about the information that the Russians had, right, that they described what kind of information it was?
A What I remember, and I stated it earlier, is that Joseph Mifsud said that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. And that’s exactly what I told the FBI and what I’m telling you here today.
Q Did he mention any specific Russian individuals?
A I can’t remember that. I just remember him saying —
Q Did you have any sense as to whether this dirt on
Hillary Clinton was well-known to Russian Government officials?
A I can’t remember.
A As I said, I mean, from certain meetings, there’s only a couple things that stick in your mind, and this was the big thing I remember from that meeting. I don’t remember the nuance, if he — if it even existed, by the way.
Q So Professor Mifsud had represented to you that he had substantial connections with the Russian Government. Is that correct?
A That’s how he presented it. But he also presented that he had many connections around the world. He wasn’t just some Russian guy. So just to be clear about that.
Q What substantial connections did he describe to you that he had?
A To the best of my recollection, I think he mentioned that he was a good friend of the Vietnamese Prime Minister, the President. And I think I even shared that with the campaign, Hey, this guy I met, he’s telling me he’s friends with all these leaders. You know, maybe he could be a gold mine for us. And that, you know, he was a former diplomat, and, you know, he had connections in the U.K. and think tanks with Russia. I mean, he just seemed, I don’t know, like he was at the center of the world.
Q Did he describe what his substantial connections were to Russia?
A What he introduced me to, which is the point, okay, because anyone could say anything they want. Who did he introduce me to, and the facts are the facts. He introduced me to the fake niece of Vladimir Putin, and he introduced me, over email, to a think tank analyst at the RIAC think tank in Moscow. Those are his robust Moscow contacts.
Q No, I understand. I guess what I’m saying is, you know, at one point he communicated to you, he said something, you know, along the lines of, Oh, I have — I have connections to Russia. I have connections to Russia, right?
Did he provide any more — did he represent that with any more detail? Did he say, you know, I know XYZ from Russia? You know, I know people in the foreign ministry? Did he ever, you know, elaborate as to what his connections might be?
A I can’t remember exactly who he said he knew. But certainly, the way he presented it, it seemed that he was well connected there.
But as I said, we — he apparently was supposed to introduce me to the Russian Ambassador. He never did, even though I lied to the campaign that I met with him, because I was fully expecting this guy to — who apparently knew everyone in Moscow, to introduce me to the Ambassador. Because in — you know, in actual countries that I know well, I could meet with an ambassador very easily. And the way he presented himself as this know-it-all in Moscow, I was certain that he would have introduced me to him, but he never did.
So it was just very confusing. I don’t know, confusing.
Q Who initially introduced you to Joseph Mifsud?
A How I remember it is I was working for the London Centre for International Law Practice at the time. I was based in London. And they wanted to take me on some sort of business trip to Link Campus in Rome. And I believe on that trip was Nagi Idris, who was some sort of director at the London Centre. And I think it was him who said, Hi, this is Mifsud, and, George, you should meet. I think that’s how it happened.
Q And who’s Nagi Idris? Did he work for the London
A Yeah. He’s — I think he’s a director there.
Q Okay. And how did you know Nagi Idris? Did you work with him at the London Centre?
A Yeah, we were working together.
Q And when he introduced you to the professor, what purpose was that for? Just to know somebody or, you know, was — did you — what did he say when he said he wanted you to meet this professor?
A I don’t actually remember what the context was of meeting — of why I was supposed to meet him or if it was preplanned, if we had been discussing that I will be meeting Mifsud there or if it was just a spontaneous meeting. I can’t remember that. But maybe Nagi Idris knows.
Q Okay. Because I believe with the comment earlier you said that by the time that you had gone to this conference, you already knew that you were going to be working for the Trump campaign. Is that correct?
A That’s — yeah.
Q So at that point, you know, why did you want to go to this conference?
A As far as I remember, I just really wanted to go to Rome. I hadn’t traveled to Rome. I hadn’t traveled to Rome before. I thought, you know, I’ll go see what these people are all about.
I think there was some sort of dispute about payments with the campaign at the time where I thought initially they might be paying me, then they said they’re not. Then I said, Wait a minute. I’m going to leave to not get paid anymore?
So I think I was trying to keep the option open of actually staying in London and where I was working. So I think that’s what fed into it. I’m not — I can’t really remember exactly.
Q What other conversations did you have with Mifsud at that meeting, or I guess at subsequent meetings? Did you discuss a potential trip to Russia at that first meeting? Did you discuss, you know, improving Russian relations as a general matter? What were your discussions like?
A I can’t remember exactly the substance of our
discussion. But what is documented now is that he wanted to meet very quickly after our initial meeting in Rome, and that’s where he introduced me to the fake niece of Vladimir Putin probably a week later. So I assume, for him to act in such a hasty manner, that we were probably discussing a potential meeting between Trump and Putin.
Q So —
A I don’t know, though. I’m just — looking at the documents and trying to figure out, maybe that’s what was going on.
Q So to the best of your understanding now, you know, how do you believe Mr. Mifsud would have known about these — you know, the Russians having these Clinton emails?
A My understanding now?
A Well, one —
Q Or at the time or now, but —
A Well — well, one, as I stated, but I don’t want to be exactly quoted, I believe the day before Joseph Mifsud told me about this issue, I believe April 25, 2016, Judge Andrew Napolitano was on Fox News openly speculating that the Russians have Hillary’s emails. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Somebody told me that that’s what happened. I’m not sure. That he might have heard it from there. He might have been telling the truth that he heard it from people in Russia. He might have been working for Western intelligence like the evidence now suggests he was. I don’t know. That’s not my job to figure it out.
Q But Mr. Mifsud, he never mentioned Judge Napolitano to you, did he?
A I can’t remember if he did or not.
Q Okay. But when the professor told you about the emails, did he seem, you know, more certain or speculating? Did he state it as a fact, or did he say, Well, you know, I’ve heard these rumors, right?
A My current memory makes me believe that he was stating it as a fact, and I took it as well.
Q And did you believe him at the time?
A At the time, yeah.
Q And so —
A But at the time, also, I thought he was validating rumors. So that was really my impression of him. I mean, you have to understand this is a person who sold himself as the key to Moscow but then really couldn’t deliver on any one of real substance except Putin’s fake niece and the think tank analyst, and then now he’s drooping this information on me. It was very confusing. You can understand how confusing this process was over the month.
Q Do you not believe him now, given what you’ve learned, or do you — you know, do you continue to believe that he was given information that the Russians had Hillary Clinton’s emails?
A I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Everything I’ve ever tweeted or — probably, if that’s what you’re referring to, it’s just backed by things I’ve read in the media. And it’s not my job to dig into this person, because I really don’t care about this person. And legally, I’m not even allowed to talk to him directly or indirectly.
So all I can do is read reports, read what his lawyer is saying, and take it with a grain of salt and just share that information with you that his lawyer, yesterday, said that he was working with the FBI.
Was he? Is his lawyer a crazy person who’s slandering his client, or was he really working with the FBI and this was some sort of operation? I don’t have the answer to that, and I’m not sitting here telling you I do have the answer to that.
Q So if — at the time, you know, you — at the time you believed that — Professor Mifsud’s statement that the Russians had these, you know, dirt emails on Hillary Clinton, you know, what was your reaction to that? Were you concerned? Did you consider telling someone about it?
A Well, I told the Greek foreign minister.
A And like I said, my — how I remember it now in my mind was that I felt that he was confirming what was speculated. But I did believe that he had that info because of the way he presented himself. Let’s not forgot, as I mentioned earlier, this was a
mid-fifties, former diplomat, apparently well connected. Why was he lying, or why would he be masquerading as something he’s not?
We can look back now and see things through a different lens. But at the time, you know, you’re not expecting that you could be potentially in the middle of something that is not a reality.
Ms. Hariharan. You didn’t think that would be worthy of informing law enforcement?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Well, I did inform law enforcement when I spoke to them in my first interview.
Ms. Hariharan. I mean when you found out. When he first said to you, Hey, I think the Russians may have these emails, at the time, did you think that was worthy of informing law enforcement.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember back then. But, of course, today, I do regret not sharing that information immediately with U.S. law enforcement, whether it was the FBI or the CIA. But I was happy that I shared it with the FBI during my initial interview, so that’s all I could say. It was a mistake.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q Did you ever think to yourself that sharing the information about Russia having Clinton’s emails would help you on the Trump campaign?
A I don’t understand how that would have helped me on the campaign.
You didn’t think that Trump campaign officials would
want to know something like that?
A I don’t know what they wanted to know or not. I wasn’t — let’s go back to who I was on the campaign.
I wasn’t a senior official, okay? I was trying to move up, down, whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t in board room meetings. I was in the war room with these people. So, and especially, I think, around that time — correct me if I’m wrong if you know the dates better than I do — by that time, when I heard that information, I think Paul Manafort and others were kind of dismissing the idea of this Russia trip.
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. But I don’t know if the months — if I’m mentioning the months correctly, so don’t — I don’t want to tell you I’m certain. But that — I think that’s what was going on around that time.
Q Well, it’s just that earlier you said that, you know, you would provide updates of significant —
Q — events, right?
And, I mean, would you consider, you know, confirmation of information like this pretty significant?
A Well, I did email Stephen Miller, interesting messages.
We have that in writing. But that’s where I guess it stayed.
So you think at the time you might have been trying to
reach out to Stephen Miller to provide an update on a significant piece of information?
A Well, I did send an email. I don’t know exactly what interesting messages means, okay? Maybe I learned something else during the morning. I don’t know.
All I know is, on April 26, as far as I understand, we are left with interesting messages from Moscow. That’s all we have.
Q So those interesting messages might have been a reference to —
A As far as I know.
Q — those emails?
A It could have been. I’m not sure. I can’t — I don’t know what was going on in my mind on April 26, 2016. I probably had a very busy, full day that day.
Q And I think you said earlier that, though, you never, you know, actually spoke to Stephen Miller on — you had a scheduled call of some kind, correct?
A That’s my understanding. I had a scheduled call, but it didn’t go through.
Q Okay. And do you recall why that call didn’t go through?
A I don’t remember, no.
Q Do you recall what the call would have been about?
A I don’t remember, no.
Was this a regularly scheduled call, or — you know, did
you have regularly scheduled calls with Stephen Miller, or was it specific —
A I think they were just, like, spontaneous. I think I had a scheduled call with Corey Lewandowski around that time, too. It never went through. So it was a very unorganized campaign, very unorganized. So I can’t sit here and tell you that we were having anything really scheduled that — you know, like that.
Ms. Shen. I think we’re about out of time, so we’ll just end the hour for now.
Mr. Meadows. We’re going to go back on the record. Let the record reflect it’s 12:32.
And so I want to follow up a little bit on some of the conversations that happened just earlier. It seemed like the minority staff, they were wanting to see if you shared information with regards to the Clinton emails or the dirt with anyone else.
And I want to make sure that for the record, to your knowledge, the only person that you shared that information with was the Greek foreign minister. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That is correct, sir.
Mr. Meadows. And so, to the best of your recollection, and I’d ask you to take a little time, because, this is — you know, it was a predicate that they opened the whole investigation on the fact that you were out there colluding. And, as you’ve stated earlier, that was not your intention, nor was it actually anything that you did. And so take just a few minutes. Can you think of anybody, other than the Greek foreign minister, that you shared that information with?
Mr. Papadopoulos. At this moment, no. Just the Greek foreign minister.
Mr. Meadows. Another name came up that was new to me. And I didn’t think there was anything new, but another name came up, and I guess it was Bert Mizusawa.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Mizusawa.
Mr. Meadows. So tell me a little bit about his interactions with you and why you found them — I don’t want to characterize it, but I am — peculiar. So help me understand who he was and why it raised concerns.
Mr. Papadopoulos. My understanding of this person is that he was an Active Duty Intel or military — U.S. military guy who joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. He was seated, I think, two people away from me during the famous March 31st national security meeting that we had.
Mr. Meadows. Which is the one time I guess that you actually met with then-candidate Trump. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, and the only time.
Mr. Meadows. The only time, okay.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes. And we — I can’t really remember what our communication was up until the fall of 2016, but it wasn’t memorable, to say the least. So I don’t really think he was somebody I was really interacting with that much, up until probably September.
Then all of a sudden in May — I told the Greek foreign minister this — while in Athens, as far as I remember, I also met with the U.S. defense attache, Robert Palm.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. And I was — I think I was very well-known in American intelligence circles about what I was up to and the Mediterranean as a whole, because they would ask my advice and things like that.
So then I tell the Greek foreign minister, Oh, hey, this information. And then Bert Mizusawa, all of a sudden sometime later on in the fall, apparently there’s a meeting between the foreign minister of Greece and Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn. And Bert not only wants talking points from me about this meeting, but he also wants me to attend.
And he also tells me that it’s very important for you to attend, and that I’m doing my best to get you in this meeting. That’s how I remember it. And I think I have emails with Bert about this particular meeting I can share — we can share with you if they’d be helpful.
Mr. Meadows. And so what you’re saying is that was out of character, because up until that point, there had not been a whole lot of contact?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s how I remember it. I just remember that things really were heated with Bert at that point. And then I remember there were also peculiar encounters where he would call me on blocked numbers or he would call me and ask me where am I? Which city am I —
Mr. Meadows. When was this happening? When was he calling you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it was around the time of the Greek foreign minister meeting. And I can’t remember the exact dates, but I think I have emails that I would be happy to look at and share them with you to corroborate dates. But he would call me, and then sometimes he would hang up and then say, let me call you back, and then there was a blocked number. Where are you? What are you up to? I mean, just out of character.
Mr. Meadows. Did you report to him? I mean, why would there be this contact?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s the point. I don’t remember him being a point of contact of mine that I would actually report to. In fact, I think there were — I think months had passed from the time I spoke to him to then all of a sudden him trying to really come back into my life. That’s how I remember it. But I could always look back on my emails to refresh my memory.
Mr. Meadows. Did those contacts continue after the election?
Mr. Papadopoulos. As far as I remember, he sent me an email to update me about how he was part of some bunker team — I think that’s what it’s called — during the transition. And then I responded to him, Hi, Bert, you know, I’m in touch with Steve Bannon and a couple other people. He’s like, Oh, it looks like you’re in touch with more of the senior officials than I am.
And I think I saw him during the inauguration or around that time at — at a restaurant or a bar here in D.C. But, like I said, it was — our encounters were very random. I mean, this wasn’t somebody that I felt particularly close to. So it struck me as odd as to why this person really wanted me in this meeting.
Mr. Meadows. So do you believe he had contacts with the
Greek foreign minister?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t know. I don’t know. I really don’t know.
Mr. Meadows. And so, the level of him reaching out to you was more of calling you on blocked numbers, asking you if — was he asking you foreign policy questions? What was he asking you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah. I mean, I had — when I was in touch with the Japanese embassy there, I think I had shared a PowerPoint with Bert and others on the team about what the Japanese were interested in doing with candidate Trump and meeting him or whatever.
So we had — of course, we had exchanged some emails. But then things became — he became very interested in me about the Greek foreign minister. That’s how I took it.
Mr. Meadows. So what you’re saying is, is out of all the things that you were discussing, the biggest interest he seemed to have was in your contact with the Greek foreign minister?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s my impression, yes.
Mr. Meadows. So if that was his biggest interest, was it because of the conversation? Did he share that he had knowledge of your conversation with the Greek foreign minister, or did you share it with him?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember him ever sharing it with me and I don’t remember sharing it with him, because my memory is that I shared that info with no one on the campaign.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. And so that’s consistent with what you’re saying. So with the Greek foreign minister, you sharing it with him, can you help me understand his response, I guess, at that particular point to you sharing it. Was it just a passing comment, or did you dwell on it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My memory of it was that it was something along the lines of this shouldn’t be talked about. It was something along those lines. That’s how I currently remember it.
Mr. Meadows. So let me come back, because we’ve got this meeting with Mifsud, we’ve got a conversation with the Greek foreign minister, and now with Bert Mizusawa.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Mizusawa.
Mr. Meadows. Mizusawa. And then there’s a conversation I guess that I’ve read about with you and Mr. Halper.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That — so correct me if I’m wrong on my dates, but my understanding is that he reached out to me in September of 2016 with an unsolicited email about working with him on the project that he was leading at Cambridge about energy security developments in Israel and Cyprus and Turkey, which was my expertise at the time. And he said, I’ll pay you $3,000 and I’ll fly you to London, and let’s talk about it for a couple days and let’s see what you can do, and just write a paper for me. I said, that’s great, you know, five-star hotel in London, a free flight and, $3,000 for a couple days to write a 1,500-word paper. That’s fine with me.
So I get there. I get to London. And he introduces — or he does not introduce me to, but I can’t remember exactly how I came into contact with his assistant, this young lady named Azra Turk, which I think is a fake name, by the way. My —
Mr. Meadows. Why do you believe it’s a fake name?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Reading — reading Twitter and people saying that Azra in Turkish means pure and then Turk. So unless she has the name of pure Turk. I don’t know. Maybe that’s — those are common names in Turkey. I don’t know. But it just seems that it was probably a fake alias.
Another beautiful young lady — you know, I had many young beautiful ladies coming into my life with Joseph Mifsud and now another professor. The professors liked to introduce me to young beautiful women.
And we’re sitting there, and she didn’t strike me as a Cambridge associate at all. So right away, I was suspicious that there was something not right here. She — her English was very bad. She spoke with — I think she was a Turkish national, but she also might have been a dual American citizen. I’m not sure. And she took me to — out for drinks in London and was probing me a lot.
Mr. Meadows. Probing on what?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Just who I am, my background in the energy business, because everyone was curious about my background in the energy business in Israel. And that’s another thing we’ll get to about what I think why I had a FISA on me, but I don’t know.
She then apparently — I don’t remember it, I’m just reading The New York Times. She starts asking me about hacking. I don’t remember her actually asking me that, I just read it in The New York Times. Nevertheless, she introduces me the next time to Stefan Halper.
Mr. Meadows. She asked you about hacking?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember it. I just — I think I read that particular —
Mr. Meadows. You’ve read that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, that’s what I — I think I read it in The New York Times.
The next day I meet with Stefan Halper and her at the Travellers Club, I think it’s called — it’s some diplomat hangout in London — where he almost mimicked the same attitude of Alexander Downer to me. You’re inviting me to sit down with you to talk about specific issues, but you’re hostile.
So I remember he was just quite hostile towards my views on Turkey and the energy business and what I was actually being paid to talk about. So, in my mind, I’m thinking, we have Azra Turk, this young beautiful girl, serving us coffee, even though she’s a Cambridge assistant, him belligerent, not really understanding what the topic of conversation really is about. And then the same day, as far as I remember, the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a scheduled meeting with me in London, where I met, I think, it was the head of their North America division, or whatever it’s called.
So unless it’s a complete coincidence that I was meeting Halper and the British were meeting me while there was an operation against me in London, I don’t know. But I think I was meeting the British Government the same day or the day after I met Halper in London, in September.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q Can you flesh out any of the belligerence feeling that you had with speaking with Mr. Halper?
A Yeah. I mean, both Halper and Downer were, what I remember, very hostile towards my views on Turkey. And I never understood why an Australian diplomat would have that view with me when I’m not there to talk about Turkey, I’m there to talk about the U.S.-Australia relationship. And Halper paying me to write about these topics, and then being quite hostile and saying that you’re wrong and, you know, you shouldn’t be advising what you’re doing.
Because at that point, I was — you know, I was very well-connected in that part of the world, and I think I was a threat to some interest of these two people. I don’t know who was behind it, but I certainly felt that they viewed me as a threat that they wanted out of the game of whatever they were trying to do.
So I remember him very hostile towards my views on Turkey.
Downer, I remember him being very hostile on my views on Turkey.
And it was very confusing.
Mr. Meadows. Go ahead. Did you want to follow up?
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q I’m just wondering what your views on Turkey are.
A I mean, they’re not really out of character for somebody who comes from, I guess, a neoconservative background like I did at Hudson. I just don’t think they’re a true U.S. ally and I think they’re very problematic for our interests, in a nutshell.
Mr. Meadows. So in your conversations with Mr. Halper, did he bring up anything as it relates to emails?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. He did?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes. So what I remember —
Mr. Meadows. I want to make sure. He brought it up or you brought it up?
Mr. Papadopoulos. What I remember is as I’m about to leave London, he says, let’s go for drinks at the Sofitel in London. It’s a separate meeting. I think this is — Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. — a day after the Travellers Club.
Mr. Meadows. So you have this contentious meeting at the Travellers Club, and then the day after that, he’s meeting with you. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it was a day after it, yes. I
could always look back to make sure it was.
Mr. Meadows. A day or two after. But — Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes. And we’re at the Sofitel in London. That’s how I remember it. And I saw him sweating a lot. He just started sweating. And he was sweating a lot during the Travellers Club meeting. And I thought he might have been sick, you know, because that’s how profusely he was sweating, as if either he was incredibly nervous or he was sick. That was just the impression he left on me.
And he said, let’s meet at the Sofitel, have drinks. And all of a sudden he pulls out his phone — remember, this phone element again — and he puts it in front of him and he begins to start talking about Russia and hacking and if I’m involved, if the campaign is involved, if it’s benefiting the campaign. Something along those lines. I’m sure the transcript exists and you’ve probably read it, so I don’t want to be wrong on exactly what he said. But —
Mr. Meadows. You say a transcript exists. A transcript exists of that conversation?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s I guess what John Solomon reported a couple days ago.
Mr. Meadows. So are you aware of a transcript existing? I mean —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I wasn’t aware of a transcript existing personally.
Mr. Meadows. So you have no personal knowledge of it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I had no personal knowledge, no.
Mr. Meadows. But you think that he could have been recording you is what you’re suggesting?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. All right. Go ahead.
Mr. Papadopoulos. And after he was throwing these allegations at me, I —
Mr. Meadows. And by allegations, allegations that the Trump campaign was benefiting from Hillary Clinton emails?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Something along those lines, sir. And I think I pushed back and I told him, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. What you’re talking about is something along the lines of treason. I’m not involved. I don’t know anyone in the campaign who’s involved. And, you know, I really have nothing to do with Russia. That’s — something along those lines is how I think I responded to this person.
Mr. Meadows. So essentially at this point, he was suggesting that there was collusion and you pushed back very firmly is what it sounds like.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what I remember, yes.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. And then what did he do from there?
Mr. Papadopoulos. And then I remember he was — he was quite disappointed. I think he was expecting something else. There was a —
Mr. Meadows. So he thought you would confirm that you were actually benefiting from Hillary Clinton’s email dump?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Perhaps that’s why he was disappointed in what I had to tell him, which was the truth.
Mr. Meadows. So you have no knowledge — you’ve already testified that you have no personal interaction, but you have no knowledge of anybody on the campaign that was working with the Russians in any capacity to get these emails and use them to the advantage. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s absolutely correct.
Mr. Meadows. And so, Mr. Halper, if he was asking you these questions, it was — what was the pretense since it was a day after, was he just telling you good-bye? Why did he set that up?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think —
[Witness conferring with counsel.]
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’m sorry, sir, can you just repeat the question, please?
Mr. Meadows. I’m going to ask one other question. Do you remember the date that you met with him when this conversation came up?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think — let me just backtrack in my memory. I think his initial overture was September 2nd or 3rd, and then probably I was in London 10 days after that. So let’s say September 15th. September 13, 14, 15th. I’m not 100 percent sure, but mid to late September. That’s what I think.
Mr. Meadows. And so I’ll rephrase the other question. Obviously, you have this contentious meeting about his disagreement with you over your position on Turkey and energy and the way that, you know, he was — you characterize it that he said you were wrong and he felt like you were incorrect in that.
Then you had a subsequent meeting where this conversation came up where you said he was sweating profusely. And what was the predicate? What was the reason for that follow-up meeting? Was it to follow up on the previous discussion you had, or was it just let’s get together before you get out of town for drinks or whatever?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember 100 percent, but it might have been a combination of both. But I can’t really remember exactly why he wanted to meet with me that next day. I think I was flying out the day after, so it was potentially a good-bye slash —
Mr. Meadows. Right before you left.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe so, yes.
Mr. Meadows. And this meeting happened in London?
Mr. Papadopoulos. In London, yes.
Mr. Meadows. Did you have any subsequent conversations with Mr. Halper after that, after you left London?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think over email, I was asking him when he’s going to pay me my money, but —
Mr. Meadows. Did he pay you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He did.
Mr. Meadows. Did it come from him?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember actually where it came from, but I was paid $3,000.
Mr. Meadows. And so —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I mean, it came from somebody connected to him, of course. I don’t know. I can’t remember who did it exactly, who sent the money.
Mr. Meadows. Do you remember what the check said?
Mr. Papadopoulos. It was just a direct deposit in my bank account. I can’t remember. I think it was just a direct deposit in my bank account.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. So you did get paid. And there’s a potential that this individual —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I was paid, yes. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. You did get paid. So when you were talking to the special prosecutor, and you were going over all of this information about your conversations with Mr. Halper, what kind of questions did the special prosecutor ask you about it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Actually, to the best of my recollection, they never brought up Stefan Halper one time.
Mr. Meadows. Hold on. So you’re telling me that you have substantial conversations in London with Stefan Halper and you get paid, and the special prosecutor never brought it up?
Mr. Papadopoulos. To the best of my recollection, I don’t
think they ever brought up the name Stefan Halper and neither did I in my — any interaction I had with the FBI or the special prosecutor.
Mr. Meadows. Well, then, let me ask you another question then. If they didn’t bring that up and you had other substantial contacts with other foreign individuals, what other individuals did you have contact with that you found them curiously not interested in, or were there?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Foreign contacts, or Americans, or both?
Mr. Meadows. Both. I mean, obviously if the special prosecutor is trying to get to the truth and you’re having substantial conversations with Stefan Halper and they don’t ask any questions about it, I find that curious. Do you find that curious?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Now I do.
Mr. Meadows. So was there anyone else that you had conversations with?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’d like to bring up Charles Tawil. Charles Tawil, one of the nine names on — and this is — out of any encounter I had, this is probably the most bizarre. And I’m currently, currently under the impression that this individual might have been part of some sort of sting operation targeted at me.
Mr. Meadows. And so help me — Mr. Papadopoulos. Exactly.
Mr. Meadows. You’ve now hit two names that I’m not aware of, so tell me a little bit about this.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Exactly. So let’s go back to I’m interviewed by the FBI for the first time in January.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I have a follow-up in February. And during — I can’t remember when AIPAC has their annual conference. It might be March.
Mr. Meadows. March, generally.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Generally in March. So let’s say a month or so after I’m done, what I thought done talking with the FBI. An individual named Charles Tawil falls from heaven into my lap and begins to essentially try and get me involved in what I think is part of a setup. And —
Mr. Meadows. And why do you think that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. So I need to actually go back to the first interview I had with the FBI. It will probably make more sense then.
Mr. Meadows. Sure.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Because there’s also this misunderstanding of — so it will make more sense going back to the initial interview. During my initial interview with the FBI, it was about Sergei Millian, hacking, Russian interference, and my connections to Israel.
It’s my belief that the FBI, at the time that they came to my
home, believed that I was working as some sort of agent of Israel, or that I might have been compromised by the Israeli Government or their intelligence services, just based on the questions they were asking me. For example, to the best of my recollection, they were asking me, are you being cultivated by Israeli officials, something along those lines. And I kind of laughed it off, because I said, what do you mean, cultivated? If you know people, does it mean you’re being cultivated? Something along those lines.
So that left an indelible impression on me of — that my so-called connection to Israel angered the Department of Justice. And before that, of course, Stefan Halper paid me for information on my ties to Israel. Alexander Downer was interested in my ties to Israel. And you could see there was a pattern.
Then there’s a second encounter I have with the FBI, and they basically tell me — this is where it’s very — if Mifsud really was working with the FBI, this is incredibly problematic, because during my second meeting with the FBI agent, Curtis Heide, he tells me basically, we want you to wear a wire to go after Joseph Mifsud or to get some sort of information about him. I rejected it.
And my recollection of his response was, we know what you’re up to. I know everything about you. I know what you are doing with the Israelis, and you’re lucky they’re allies or we’d bust you, or something weird like that. This is my second ever encounter with this Agent Curtis Heide.
Mr. Meadows. Now, this is the same agent that said that he knew that you had said something. Is that the same person?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Same guy.
Mr. Meadows. And so, he was the one that said you had definitely — I want to make sure that we’re accurate with this. If you’ll — because the name keeps coming back. When you said you didn’t know what you had said to Mr. Downer, it’s the same agent that said, Oh, yes, you said it. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s how I remember it, yes.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. So go ahead.
Mr. Papadopoulos. So I told him, I’m not interested in wearing a wire.
Mr. Meadows. So on your second meeting with the FBI, they asked you to wear a wire?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Against Mifsud.
Mr. Meadows. Against Mifsud, who they believed at that time was doing what?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Well, I guess —
Mr. Meadows. Why did they want you to wear a wire for Mifsud?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I mean, during my initial interview, I told them — and it’s known now that this is the individual who told me that the Russians have Hillary Clinton’s emails. So I stated it to them. As we understand, I pled guilty to the timing and the extent of my —
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. — connection with this individual, not about that particular issue.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. So he asked me to wear a wire. 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 some deep trouble if I wasn’t going to wear a wire against this person.
I rejected it. And in the follow-up meeting I had with counsel present then and the FBI, Curtis Heide, there were lawyers from the FBI who came into Chicago for that meeting.
Mr. Somers. Is that a third meeting?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think that was the third meeting of my encounters with the FBI.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q Did you have counsel present at the second meeting where they requested you to wear a wire?
A I did not have them present with me, no.
Q Was anyone else in the room other than FBI Agent Heide?
A It was just Heide and I. We were in a cafe, Cafe George in Chicago.
And so then Kyle Clinesmith I think is the name of this DOJ attorney. He was present at this —
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q Could it be Kevin Clinesmith?
A Yeah, that’s right, Kevin Clinesmith. He was — he was there. There was a whole plethora of agents, and I don’t know who else was there. I just — somebody told me it was him, and I googled his image and I was able to recognize who was in there.
And during the third meeting, they basically — it didn’t seem like they were that interested in Mifsud, actually, even during the third meeting. It was just like, oh, can you give us his email and his telephone number? And I believe I told my lawyers, kindly pass this man’s email and telephone number.
And they were interested in two things, as far as I remember currently: Who did I tell on the campaign about emails; and if I remember talking to Alexander — not Alexander Downer, if I remember talking to a diplomat of a friendly country in a bar in London. But I don’t remember them ever saying Alexander Downer’s name until a future phone call, and then that’s when the FBI started to interrogate certain family and friends of mine.
So back now to Charles. So at that point, I’ve had three encounters, as far as I remember, with the FBI. They seemed to be angry at me. It seemed we weren’t friends at that point, because I probably didn’t give them what they were looking for, or expecting. And Charles Tawil is introduced to me by this man in Israel named David Ivry, who also had connected me to Yossi Dagan, who is a — I believe he’s a political figure, a settler leader in Israel. And David Ivry messaged me and said, I would like for you to meet him while you’re at the inauguration. I did. The meeting was very pleasant with Yossi Dagan and his team.
And then I believe in March it was, or right after — around the time I’m in discussions with the FBI, David comes back into my life and says, Oh, hi, there’s this man Charles Tawil would like to meet with you and talk business. And at that time, I thought I wasn’t going to join the administration anyway, considering the FBI was all over me. So I was trying to get back into some private sector activities.
He’s a 60-year-old man, dual Israeli-American national. He begins to speak very strange at this business meeting with me. For example, I’ve been trying to reach you for a very long time, but Israeli intelligence wouldn’t let me get near you. So there was some — there was some dog whistle. It was a dog whistle, in my mind, that it might be linked to what the FBI was trying to accuse me of.
You do realize, George, that everyone here at the restaurant could hear our conversation right now. I said, I don’t know how they can hear our conversation unless you’re — in my mind, you’re on — you have a wire on you of some nature.
Fast-forward to the end of the lunch. He says, Why don’t you stand there with David. And I said, Okay. And he takes a picture of me. And he took a picture of me, which left this mark of — it was a strange episode.
Fast-forward again to the summer of 2016 — 2017, last summer, before I’m arrested. By that time, I had been subpoenaed by the Senate, I believe, for documents. On my way to Europe from O’Hare Airport, I was stopped by armed guards asking me if I’m planning on returning to the U.S., not if I’m trying to leave, but I’m planning on returning. So there was some sort of coordination, I believe, to prevent me from leaving the country.
Mr. Meadows. You were stopped by whom?
Mr. Papadopoulos. By armed guards on my way —
Mr. Meadows. Armed guards, I mean — Mr. Papadopoulos. At the airport. At the airport.
Mr. Meadows. You mean TSA agents?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t know if TSA agents wear full Kevlar and handle assault rifles, but it was a very intimidating experience.
Mr. Meadows. So armed officers?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. Did they identify themselves?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember how they identified themselves. All I know is they stopped me and were asking me about where I was going to be in Europe and if I’m coming back. They were really wanting to make sure I was coming back.
Mr. Meadows. So they didn’t identify themselves as FBI or anybody —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember how they identified
themselves. All I know is they were —
Mr. Meadows. But they wanted to know if you were coming back?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s my — Mr. Meadows. How many of them were there?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think there were three. This is as I was about to embark on the airplane. So —
Mr. Meadows. In the airport?
Mr. Papadopoulos. In the airport, at the gate. At the gate. So it left an impression on me that I was being watched very carefully, very closely.
I get to Europe — Mr. Meadows. Did you tell them that you planned to return? Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes. This is my home. I don’t have — Mr. Breitenbach. When, again, was this?
Mr. Papadopoulos. This probably was May, May 2017, as I was going on my trip to Europe.
Mr. Breitenbach. Thank you.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think it was May or June. Probably May.
So then Charles Tawil — this is the point I’m making. I am in Greece on a vacation with my then-girlfriend. And I have friends of mine there telling me, do you realize you’re being watched? I said, what do you mean I’m being watched? And they said, look behind you. And I noticed there were agent-type American-looking, just people I think were following me abroad.
And then Charles Tawil comes to Greece and begins to talk to me about doing some sort of business about political consulting, and it was very ambiguous.
Mr. Meadows. So how did Charles know you were in Greece?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He had reached out. I told him, I’m in Greece. And he’s like, okay, I’ll come meet you there. Because I though, you know, we could possibly have —
Mr. Meadows. So he flew to Greece — Mr. Papadopoulos. Flew to Greece.
Mr. Meadows. — to meet with you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. About a job?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s — yes, that was what we were trying to figure out, what we — if there was synergy or not between the both of us.
He gets there. He begins to actually question my then-girlfriend’s/now-wife’s motives for being there too, which was strange. And then he invites me to Israel to say, it’s imperative that you come to Israel, and I’m going to fly you to Israel, and we’re going to close a deal of some nature.
I finish my trip in Greece. He flies me to Israel from Mykonos, the island of Mykonos. He picks me up from the airport. And mind you, my impression, as I remember it, was that I was going to get involved in some sort of government consulting with this person who portrayed himself as, you know, a well-known man in Africa and in the Middle East. And if you google him, you’ll simply see that he’s some sort of CIA asset now, which I didn’t know at the time. And WikiLeaks, I guess, had that info, which I didn’t know about before.
He picks me up from the airport, and he takes me to a hotel or some sort of meeting room. And at this meeting, he sits me down in front of two strange people, who I believe were ex-Israeli intelligence, but were currently running some sort of government — how did I explain it exactly? It’s some sort of — it’s some sort of program online that they have that the FBI is a client of that helps with Facebook and social media manipulation, and basically what they were accusing the Russians of doing regarding social media. That was my understanding. And I was thinking to myself, why am I here in this room with these people? And I started to believe that I was being framed for something.
I leave. We go to a hotel room where Charles is saying, I’m going to take care of the hotel for the night. He’s like, Come in my room, and he hands me $10,000 in cash. And at the time, I was incredibly confused. I was intimidated. I didn’t know what really was going on, except that I started to feel that I was being set up. And just months before that, I saw that the FBI was really going after me for being some sort of agent of Israel. So it all started to make sense to me, that this potentially was a frame or entrapment of some nature.
After I leave him and I travel back to Greece, I’ve flown into Athens Airport probably 20 times in my life. This was the first time that there were about 20 dogs sniffing for money. And fortunately, they didn’t smell the money and I got out. I emailed him and I said, I want you to take your money back, because I really don’t know what this is all about and I’m not comfortable, something along those lines. And my money is in Greece, it’s in a safe or with my lawyers, and you’re free to come pick it up. Oh, I don’t want the money back.
Mr. Meadows. What was the money for originally?
Mr. Papadopoulos. It was supposed to be for some sort of government consulting that I really didn’t understand. That’s why I said, come take your money back, because I don’t know what you’re paying me for, and you paid me cash, $10,000 cash.
I get to Greece. I tell him, take your money back. A couple days later I fly to Dulles and I’m arrested. And my understanding is the agents were looking for that money when they arrested me, and that’s —
Mr. Meadows. And the money was in Greece?
Mr. Papadopoulos. It’s — and it’s still in Greece. And I believe, I believe, I don’t have evidence about this, but I truly believe that those are marked bills. And there’s a reason I’ve kept that money safe, because I would certainly like to know if that money would potentially be part of some — an operation. I’m happy to share it with you and you can — or, you know —
Mr. Meadows. Have you had any — have you had any contact with Mr. Tawil since then?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Strangely enough, 2 days after I was sentenced, he was demanding his money back, after going a year without asking for it.
Mr. Meadows. All right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. And also —
Mr. Meadows. So I assume that part of this, in terms of your — and I don’t want to get into the plea deal, but I assume that part of what you just have told us was part of the whole negotiation as it relates to your plea deal. If your counselor, if she can give you advice on whether to answer that or not.
Mr. Papadopoulos. What I could say about this is in part of my plea deal, the $10,000 was the exact amount I had to pay, and that I was being threatened by the special counsel to be charged as an agent of Israel. But I never received really more details about what that allegation was really about, besides what they told me.
But I’m just giving you the facts. I don’t have — I don’t know what was behind this except that the FBI and the special prosecutors were actually very keen on receiving that $10,000 back. And I don’t know if that’s standard protocol, if that’s something else, but I can just give you the facts.
Mr. Meadows. I’m going to yield to Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Papadopoulos. So that was the money that was agreed upon
for my fine with the special counsel during my sentencing memorandum, or whatever it’s called. And it seems that they weren’t interested, really, in knowing much more about that money after I was sentenced. But before, they were very keen on receiving that money back.
Mr. Meadows. And they still do not have that money. Is that correct? It’s still in a safe.
Mr. Papadopoulos. My understanding is that money is safely located right now in a safe in Greece, and I am more than happy to provide it to any — to the committee if —
[Witness conferring with counsel.]
Mr. Papadopoulos. And my counsel just has informed me that they let the special prosecutors know about the money and where it is, and the special counsel is fully aware of the situation with that money.
Mr. Meadows. So we do need to get the emails and some of the communication that you’ve mentioned, and so if you can get that to the committee that would be great.
Mr. Baker. There was no interest from the special counsel in forfeiting that money?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Okay. My understanding is, with my former lawyers, the special counsel was interested in that money being part of some sort of forfeiture. But then they said that forfeiture is not applicable in this case. So I don’t — I really don’t know how it evolved, but I could try and get back to you on exactly how their stance on the money evolved.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Mr. Papadopoulos, my name is John Ratcliffe.
You and I have never met either other, have we?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, sir.
Mr. Ratcliffe. We’ve never talked until this moment, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. I want to confirm the chronology that you’ve given us today about your conversations or knowledge about Russians having dirt or thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton. Did I understand that the first conversation that you had was on or about April 26 of 2016 with Joseph Mifsud?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I had met Joseph Mifsud initially in March of 2016 in Italy. He told me this conversation on April 26, 2016, but I had been in touch with him before that.
Mr. Ratcliffe. But April 26 of 2016 is the first time you had a conversation where he related this, as you called it, having thousands of emails, of the Russians having thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s how I remember it, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. So the next conversation that you had with anyone about what you learned from Mr. Mifsud, you related a meeting with two individuals from the United States Government that identified themselves as being from the U.S. Embassy in London, Terrance Dudley and Gregory Baker, I thought I heard you say on about May 10th of 2016.
Mr. Papadopoulos. May 10th is when I met Alexander Downer. And I believe Terrance Dudley and Gregory Baker had reached out before then. So somewhere between May 1st to May 8. I can’t remember exact dates, but I could try and get back to you.
Mr. Ratcliffe. And do you recall if the conversation with Mr. Dudley or Mr. Baker involved a discussion of what Mr. Mifsud had told you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember that, no.
Mr. Ratcliffe. You can’t remember or — are you able to rule it out?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe I can rule it out, yes, that I did not discuss that with them.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. So then May 10th of 2016 is the conversation with Ambassador Downer, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe so. That was May 10th, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. What was the next conversation you remember having with anyone about the Russian Government having thousands of Hillary Clinton emails after your conversation with Ambassador Downer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. To this day, I have no memory of ever talking about it with Alexander Downer. I just want to be on the record about that. And the only person that I remember explicitly talking, or passing a comment along to, was the Greek foreign minister, and that meeting I think took place at the end of May of 2016.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. And for the record, do you recall ever having conversation with anyone on the Trump campaign about the conversation with Mr. Mifsud?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I have no recollection of ever talking any — about that issue with anyone on the Trump campaign.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. It’s been publicly acknowledged that on July 31st of 2016, an FBI agent named Peter Strzok opened an investigation into whether or not Russia, or the Russian Government, had colluded, or was colluding with the Trump campaign. Have you ever met FBI Agent Peter Strzok?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, I have not. Knowingly, no. Maybe he was somewhere, but I never met him, no.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. Based on what you’ve told us, I’m trying to figure out why one of what has become the highest profile investigations in U.S. history alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government centered around you, a 28-year-old campaign adviser on the job for about a month who, to this day, has never been to Russia, and, to this day, has never knowingly met a member of the Russian Government. Am I summarizing that accurately?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s absolutely right.
Mr. Ratcliffe. This week you were quoted in an article in The Hill written by a reporter named John Solomon, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe so, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. And in connection with that, you related another conversation that you had, and you’ve told us a little bit about it today with Stefan Halper. Again, for the record, the dates of the conversations you had with Stefan Halper were in early September of 2016, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He reached out via email, I believe, in the beginning of September of 2016, and we met face to face, I think, mid September, or late September 2016.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. And did, again — I know you’ve answered these questions, but I want to make sure the record is really clear. Did Stefan Halper ask you about your knowledge of the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton and colluding with the Trump campaign to obtain that information?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what happened, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. And, again, to briefly summarize, your recollection, as you related to John Solomon, was that you were aware of no collusion between anyone on the Trump campaign and the Russian Government, correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s absolutely correct.
Mr. Ratcliffe. The article mentioned the possibility and Congressman Meadows just asked you about this, about whether that conversation with Stefan Halper, where you expressed having no knowledge of any collusion between the Trump campaign and the
Russian Government, whether or not that was recorded. Again, do you know whether or not that conversation was recorded?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think John Solomon reported that it was recorded. That’s what I know.
Mr. Ratcliffe. But you have no personal knowledge?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No.
Mr. Ratcliffe. You’ve never seen a transcript of that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Do you know if your lawyers have ever been provided with a transcript, if one exists?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I am not sure if they have been, no.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Did you have any discussion with the special counsel about your meeting with Stefan Halper?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I never heard the word “Stefan Halper” out of the special counsel’s mouth. That’s how I remember it.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Do you know Carter Page?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’ve encountered him a couple times. Not really.
Mr. Ratcliffe. When was the first time you recall encountering Carter Page?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Face to face?
Mr. Ratcliffe. Yes.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe I’ve only met him one time face to face. It was at a dinner with Jeff Sessions at the Capitol, the Republican Club, I think it’s called. I think that was the only time I ever met him face to face, and the rest of our communications were either over phone, Skype, or email.
Mr. Ratcliffe. When was the first time — well, first of all, when was that face-to-face meeting, if you can give me a timeframe?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it was summer of 2016. I can’t remember the exact month.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. When do you recall or do you recall communicating in a means other than face to face with Carter Page?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Sorry. Can you repeat that, sir?
Mr. Ratcliffe. Yes. When do you first recall communicating with Carter Page other than face to face?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think it was very quickly. As soon as I was appointed on the campaign, I started letting him know, and generally others on the campaign what I was up to with Mifsud and that I met this person. I met Putin’s niece. I met the Russian ambassador. And I think he was copied on these initial emails. And then moving forward, I think I just stopped really coordinating anything with him.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. Did you ever have any communications, whether in person or by email or telephone or in any other manner, with Carter Page about the Trump campaign working with the Russians to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t have any memory of that, no.
Mr. Ratcliffe. What do you recall about the special counsel asking you about your communications with Carter Page?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think they asked me at one point if he was in Buffalo, New York, at a time that I had a Skype call with him. I think that’s — that was something that just — I never understood what that was about. And basically, if I had information that he was up to no good with the Russians. I think that happened during my first interview with them. I think that’s what was going on.
But other than that, I’m pretty sure they know that I really didn’t have any real interactions with this person except some emails, a couple Skype calls, and I believe one face-to-face meeting.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. Other than the special counsel, do you recall having conversation with anyone associated with the United States Government, the FBI, or the Department of Justice, relating to your conversations with Stefan Halper?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I think I messaged Sam Clovis. I told him, Hey, I met with this person. I think I told Sam Clovis I met with him.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. But I’m asking about anyone with the United States Government?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Oh, U.S. Government.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Department of Justice, FBI, special counsel.
Mr. Papadopoulos. About Stefan Halper?
Mr. Ratcliffe. About Stefan Halper.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t have any memory of talking about
Stefan Halper with them.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Again, to be real clear, the special counsel investigating collusion, potential collusion, or links between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government never asked you, the person around which this investigation was opened and centered, about any communications you had with an individual where you expressed that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what I remember, yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. The reason I’m asking these questions, Mr. Papadopoulos, is your credibility is at issue, and will be at issue, because you have pled guilty to an 18 U.S.C. 1001 charge of lying to the FBI. And so there will be those that will call into question the truthfulness of your testimony. If you’ve lied to the FBI before, how do we know that you’re telling us the truth?
But if there is a transcript of a conversation that you had where you expressed that you had no knowledge about collusion, that might corroborate your testimony. It might also raise obligations, obligations to you as a defendant, to your lawyers as defense counsel, and to various judges as arbiters of material facts.
I don’t know how to ask this question without getting into conversations that you’ve had with your counsel. What explanation have you been given for why you have never been charged with anything Russia-related, collusion, obstruction, or otherwise?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I guess I don’t need an explanation for something that I have really nothing to do. I can’t — I really can’t answer that question of why they didn’t tell me, except that the judge who oversaw my sentencing basically, I think, stated categorically that I see no evidence here of collusion or George attempting to work with the Russian Government to hurt our country. I’m just paraphrasing, but I think that’s what the Federal judge stated, something along those lines, before he sentenced me.
Mr. Ratcliffe. How did you leave the campaign? First of all, when did you leave the campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t know if I ever really left the campaign. I think I was involved throughout the whole way in different ways. I mean, one — in one manner I’m helping edit the first foreign policy speech and I’m setting up, helping set up this meeting with the Egyptian President, and then I’m kind of just feeding information into the campaign from March until — all through the transition, quite frankly. So I don’t think I really ever left the campaign, if that makes sense.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I was considering leaving, but I don’t think I ever submitted some sort of resignation to the campaign that would — that would suggest I would formally abdicate my duties on the campaign.
Mr. Ratcliffe. You testified earlier that I think you had
come to the campaign sometime around the early part of 2016.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I officially joined the campaign March 2016.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Before that, you were part of another campaign.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s right.
Mr. Ratcliffe. What campaign was that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. The Ben Carson campaign.
Mr. Ratcliffe. And when did you leave the Ben Carson campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember exactly. I think maybe January 2016, I think. I’m not 100 percent sure, though.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Prior to leaving the Carson campaign, what connections had you had with Donald Trump or anyone associated with the Trump campaign?
Mr. Papadopoulos. As I mentioned earlier, I had reached out to Corey Lewandowski via LinkedIn, I think, in the summer of 2015, when their operation was around three people. And I said, I think you have a winner here or something along those lines, or that I’m very interested in joining your campaign.
And so, I guess, my formal — my first contact was Corey Lewandowski, kept in touch with him, and maybe Michael Glassner over the subsequent months until I officially finally broke through and got the job.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q Real quick, just following up on Congressman Ratcliffe’s questions in terms of timing with your conversation with Mr. Halper. You had mentioned it was sometime between September 13th through the 15th. But then you said that you had left London by flight, I suppose. So you might have a record on the day that you left?
Q And you think you met with him the day before you left.
Q Is that something you could provide to us?
A I believe so, yes. It shouldn’t be too hard.
Q Okay. And during that time — that was in September
13th through the 15th of 2016, correct?
A I believe that those were the days, but I have to double-check —
Q So at that point — A — the exact dates.
Q At that point, had you met with anybody at the FBI?
Q Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Meadows. One follow-up, because I think in part of that, earlier on you indicated that they opened up a FISA on you. Did I hear you correctly?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s —
Mr. Meadows. It was like a little teeny blurt there, and —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I– the reason I’m suggesting that there was a FISA was because there was tremendous scrutiny on — with my ties to Israel, to the point where I had apparently a formal charge of acting as an agent of Israel, which I don’t know how that’s even possible really, but there was a charge.
And by the time I had my first interview with the FBI, they led me to believe that they knew about certain meetings I was having, who I knew in the Israeli Government domestically and abroad. That’s how I remember it. And that they were very angry almost about my ties to Israel, to the extent, as I mentioned, during my second encounter I remember the agent, Curtis Heide, telling me, oh, you don’t want to wear a wire, just know that you’re lucky Israel is an ally or else we would be going after you, something incredibly bizarre.
Mr. Meadows. So what you’re saying is, they had knowledge of private conversations and communications that you had with other individuals that would have taken extraordinary measures to find out. They couldn’t have found it on Facebook or read it in The Hill or someplace.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s — that’s what I believe, yes.
Mr. Meadows. And then the final follow-up to that, with Mr. Halper, these conversations that you had with him with regards to Russia and your pushback with him, those happened in person, not over the phone. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. It was in person, yes.
Mr. Meadows. I’ll yield back.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q I think we’re almost out of time. If I can just circle back to one thing, the second interview you had with the FBI, they asked you to wear a wire on Mifsud. Is that correct?
Q Were you in contact with Mifsud at the time?
A I believe Mifsud was reaching out to me around that time, and I kept ignoring him. And he was sending me messages on Facebook, trying to reach out to me. And the FBI agent said, we need you to wear a wire and we’ll pay you and you can go to London and you can kind of look behind the scenes of an FBI operation. It was very bizarre, very strange.
Mr. Somers. That’s all I have.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q Real quickly. Did your current wife/then girlfriend also have her own encounter with Mr. Mifsud, her own dealings?
A She actually knows him a lot more than I do. And she was one of the first people who actually alerted me to the fact that Mifsud is very well-known in socialist circles in Europe, to Western intelligence and government circles in Europe. And she kind of led me to believe that what on earth are you talking about, about him as a Russian agent? This guy, my uncle — her uncle is a very well-known politician in Brussels, and now in
Italy, is good friends with him, Gianna Pittella, and he
says — they’re very good friends. And, you know, my uncle is an Italian politician, and Mifsud is very well-known all over Europe, so what’s this Russia stuff?
And I started to, you know, have her present certain things about him that she knew, and it all started to click that this person probably wasn’t working with Russia at all when he was talking with me.
And, quite frankly, I think that’s why, you know, she came under scrutiny by the FBI herself, because she decided to speak out and, you know, basically go on TV and say that I think Mifsud has been working with Western intelligence this whole time. I’m not sure if you’ve seen those interviews in the past, but she’s been quite vocal about it.
Q Did the FBI interview her?
A My understanding is Mueller subpoenaed her in October, and she talked to them, explained the connections that she had to Mifsud. And then she testified, actually, to the House Intel
Committee maybe 2 months ago or so, with Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. And she basically told them, look, I think Mifsud is a Western guy, not a — not a Russian guy.
Q She worked for him for a while?
A I don’t know exactly what they did together, but she was — she would be a better person to probably ask these questions. I’m sure she would probably be happy to talk to you about Mifsud.
Mr. Baker. Thank you. Mr. Somers. We’re out of time for this hour.
[2:17 p.m.] Ms. Kim. Back on the record, are the time is 2:19 p.m.
BY MS. KIM:
Q Mr. Papadopoulos, thank you for coming back.
A Thank you.
Q Earlier you characterized Mr. Mifsud as, quote, “this guy who knows everyone in Moscow.” That he was putting on that self-presentation. Is that accurate that you said that earlier?
A I would say he presented that he knew everyone around the world, including Moscow.
Q And what representation, specifically, led you specifically to believe that he had deep connections in Russia?
A I guess at the time, I just took him at his word that he knew high-level government officials around the world, without actually asking for proof beforehand, before believing him.
Q Certainly. So he characterized himself with having deep connections with Russian officials in Moscow?
A I believe so, yeah. That’s —
Q Did he mention any specific officials in making that representation to you?
A I can’t remember if he mentioned any particular people.
I just know who he introduced me to.
Q Did he mention any particular entities in Russia with regard to his connections? Did he mention the Kremlin?
A I can’t remember exactly who he said he was connected
to. Maybe I just know from researching him now, I know he had connections with the Valdai discussion group. Which I’m not sure if he told me that when I met him or if I researched that later. So I just can’t really remember who exactly he told me he was connected to in Russia. I remember him mentioning that he was some sort of colleague or friend of the Vietnamese leader, though.
Q Certainly. You attested in your statement of the offense that you had read every word, that your attorneys had read every word, and agreed that it was true and correct. Is that generally right?
Q In that statement of the offense it is said that
Mr. Mifsud communicates to you that he had communicated with Russian officials prior to telling you that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. Is that right?
A That is what I remember, yeah.
Q And what Russian officials did Mr. Mifsud said he had communicated with?
A That’s the thing I don’t remember, who he was communicating with exactly.
Q But he communicated that he had communicated with particular Russian officials?
A Russia. He was coming from — exactly how it’s stated in the —
Q You don’t recall with precision which Russian officials
he mentioned, but he did — he did make reference to the fact that he had specific contacts in Russia who were informing him that there were emails in Russia’s possession about Hillary Clinton?
A That’s my understanding, yes.
Q You mentioned also that you had ongoing conversation with Olga and another individual who was affiliated with Russian International Affairs Council. Is that right?
Q With regard to Olga, you mentioned that she discussed sanctions with you in your correspondence. Does that ring a bell?
A I believe she did over email.
Q And what was the position on sanctions that she expressed over email?
A I can’t remember exactly, but we are happy to share them with — we have those emails in case you don’t. And are more than happy to share them with you.
What about the individual who discussed geopolitics who was affiliate it the Russian International Affairs Council?
A It’s Ivan Timofeev.
Q And did Ivan Timofeev — what did he discuss about geopolitical issues? I think you summarized it earlier as Russia — as Syria, et cetera?
A Yeah, so what I remember is we had a Skype call and at that time — I mean, I don’t know, Syria was a big issue, still is today, but even — it was an even bigger issue back then. And I just think he was just basically talking about Syria, what Russian might or might not be doing there and the Russia-Israel relationship and something along those lines. I can’t remember exactly what else the conversation entailed, though.
Q So he was summarizing to you Russia’s position on Syria?
A Something along those lines. Yeah, that’s what I remember.
Q What other geopolitical issues did he bring up, other than Syria?
A The only things I remember were Syria and the
Q What did he say about the Russia-Israel relationship?
A I can’t remember exact details of what he was talking about. I just remember that that generally was what he was talking about.
Q Did he correspond with you about any geopolitical issues in email?
A We certainly exchanged some emails. I can’t remember exactly what’s in those emails, but I’m more than happy to provide them to the committee.
I’d also like to ask you about your involvement on the transition team. I think you said to the Republicans earlier that you remained involved with the Trump transition team. Is that accurate?
A Involved meaning passing along information. And like I stated even to you earlier that I’d heard something from the Greek Government, I’d pass it along. And then I was put in touch with transition officials to potentially talk about it.
Q Did you apply for a job in the Trump administration?
A I can’t remember if I actually formally submitted something for consideration, but I was in touch with an individual named Rob Whitmore. I can’t remember when I was in touch with him about formally applying or him helping me get a job. Something along those lines, yeah.
Q Did you participate in any briefings or meetings for the transition team?
A Face to face, no. It was all over email. So whatever, so — and I’m more than happy to provide all the emails you require between Flynn, myself and transition officials.
Q I’d also like to ask you about some of the communications that you referenced earlier with Trump campaign officials. You said earlier that you provided notes on President Trump’s — then candidate Trump’s big foreign policy speech to Stephen Miller?
Q What was the substance of those comments?
A I can’t remember but I’m more than happy to share them, because it is all in an email form.
Q And you said that you communicated with Steve Bannon by email as well. Is that right?
Q Would you be —
A Email and a couple of phone calls. What was that?
Q Would you be willing to share those emails with Steve
Bannon with us as well?
A I’m more than happy to share whatever emails I have with the campaign with the committee.
Q What context did you have with Jared Kushner?
A Never spoke to Jared or met him in my life.
Q Can you describe to me your relationship with Walid
A Yes, Walid was part of the five-member foreign policy advisory committee, I believe. He was certainly copied on many emails that I was sending to the campaign, which had to do with Russia, other countries, talking points, you name it, he was certainly on it. Like I said, I’m more than happy to share every email I have sent to the campaign to the committee.
He was part of — there was a summit called the TAG Summit which part of a European Union parliamentary delegation that I was invited to attend with Sam Clovis and Walid Phares was there. I can’t remember exactly what month that delegation came in. But they met with our campaign and they met with Clinton’s campaign as well. And Walid was there and — just colleagues. I’m not sure exactly what I can say about him.
Q You mentioned a number of emails where both of you would have been copied. Did you and Mr. Phares have any direct communication just the two of you?
A We met face to face at the TAG Summit. And then we obviously met at the March 31st meeting. And I can’t remember if we met another time in person or not. But we certainly were in correspondence for months over email.
Q Did you discuss your efforts to set up the Putin-Trump meeting with Mr. Phares?
A I’m not sure he was copied on those particular emails, but I could send whatever emails I have with him to the committee. It’s fine with me.
Q What communications did you have with Sebastian Gorka?
A I don’t think I ever spoke to him while I was on the Trump campaign. I think while I was on the Carson campaign, I might have sent him some — a LinkedIn message or he sent me one. I can’t really remember exactly, but I can look through my LinkedIn and see exactly. But I’m almost certain I had almost zero communications with Sebastian Gorka while I was officially on the Trump campaign.
Q What communications did you have with John Mashburn?
A Certainly some emails. I believe other emails we exchanged. I met him in person once at the RNC Convention where I was speaking on the panel. And I met him through Rick Dearborn, I think, during the RNC convention in Cleveland and Beau Denysyk. So it was Beau Denysyk, John Mashburn, Rick Dearborn, and myself. And we were kind of talking — they were asking me what countries was I going to? What was I up to? They just seemed very intrigued with some of the stuff I was doing.
Q What interactions did you have with Tom Barrack?
A I don’t think I’ve ever met Tom Barrack in my life.
Q What interactions did you with Rick Gates?
A I don’t think I ever had any interactions with Rick Gates. I think from, what I have read, I think the emails I sent to Manafort about this potential meeting was then sent to Rick Gates, and he responded, but I don’t think I was ever on any direct or indirect communications with Rick Gates himself.
Q Do you have any direct or indirect communication with
Donald Trump Jr.?
A The only thing that comes to my mind about Donald Trump
Jr. was there was this event for, I guess, it was called Greek Americans for Trump that the campaign wanted me to speak to and I think Don Jr.’s, or one of kid’s secretaries was privy to that. And I had invited one of the kids to come with me to speak, and they said the kids can’t make it, but you should go ahead. Something along those lines, but I have never met Don Jr. in my life and I never had any real direct contact with him.
Q By the “kids,” you mean the Trump children?
A The Trump — yeah, the Trump children, yes.
Q Did you have any interaction with any of the Trump children?
A Face to face or directly over email, no.
BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q I just want to ask a couple of questions related to the transition time. So you had mentioned in the campaign that you had wanted to work in some capacity in the administration, correct?
A I believe so, yes.
Q And it is my understanding that you interviewed with an
Athens paper, the Daily Kathimerini, in December 2016?
A Yes. I met with a journalist from that newspaper for around 5 or 10 minutes.
Q And so they wrote an article about their conversation with you. And in that interview, you were quoted as saying, and I quote, “The new President had given him a blank check to choose any role he wanted in the government to be for him” end quote, and that, quote, “You helped Trump win the presidency.” So this is from the article.
So I’m curious when did this phone call with President Trump occur?
A Well, I think, unlike this country — well, maybe like this country, I think the Greek journalists have a wild imagination and were trying to maybe sell a couple of newspapers. I don’t recall ever telling this person that, in fact, if this is the same person we are talking about, I was sitting in the lobby of the Grand Bretagne Hotel, and she found me there and she was in sweat pants. And I was just, like, Oh, hey. I was trying to get up because I had a meeting to go to. And I think she was just — I don’t know. I don’t remember ever telling her anything like that, and there was no call with Donald Trump. I have met Donald Trump once in my life at this March 31st meeting, so I don’t know what quote she could have possibly been talking about.
Q So you are saying you did not have a phone call with
Donald Trump regarding you working for the administration?
A No, absolutely not.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q So I would like to go back to your interviews with the
FBI in the beginning of 2017.
Q So you were interviewed by the FBI on January 27, 2017.
Does that comport with your recollection?
Q And did the FBI approach you about the interview or did you approach them?
A My recollection is they called me while I was getting out of the shower and they said they are outside my house and they wanted to talk.
Q And you talked that same day?
Q And so the interview’s conducted at your house?
A No. They came to my house, basically alluded to the fact that they wanted to talk to me about Sergei Millian, or my friend in New York, who 2 days before they came to my house, was on the front page of The Wall Street Journal as the source of the Steele dossier. So when they came to my house, my initial impression was, Okay, I’m going to talk about Sergei. And then I said, That’s fine. And we went down to the Chicago office.
Q So you went down to the Chicago FBI field office?
Q Was the interview voluntary?
Q And did the FBI tell you that you had to be truthful during the interview because you would get into trouble if you lied?
A I believe they said that, yes.
Q And what exactly did the FBI say they wanted to interview about. You mention Sergei Millian. Was there anything else that they mentioned?
A Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, I told the judge who sentenced me, there were a lot of topics that they wanted to talk about, and, I think, the FBI themselves made it clear that Sergei Millian was really just an excuse to get me to talk, that wasn’t really why they wanted to talk to me.
Q I guess, you know, what did they say to you, we want
talk to you because of Sergei Millian and then —
A So when they came to my home, they said that, as I remember it — there is a transcript somewhere, but I don’t want to get anything wrong, we want to talk to you about your friend in New York. And in my mind, my friend in New York was just on the front page of The Wall Street Journal as a source for the Steele dossier, or, I should say, an acquaintance of mine. And I said, okay. I’ll come down and I’m talk. But then the conversation pivoted from that to, are you being cultivated by the Israelis? Are you — something along the lines of hacking? Who is involved? Do you know anything? And then that’s the same interview in which I told them that Hey, this person, Joseph Mifsud.
Q So the actual words that were used was, quote, “friend in New York.”
A I can’t be quoted on that. I’m just — how I remembered it was we wanted to talk about your friend in New York, something like that. There is a transcript somewhere.
Q Well, you don’t recall them specifically saying Sergei
Millian at the time do you?
A I don’t remember.
Q Did you tell the FBI that you were willing to cooperate during the investigation, during the interview?
A I believe I did, yes.
Q And during the interview, the FBI asked you questions about any contacts you may have had with Professor Misfud. Is that correct?
A According to my recollection — and I’m glad we are clarifying things — they never asked me anything directly about Joseph Mifsud. It was I who brought up the name Joseph Mifsud in the conversation. So that’s something that I think we should clarify.
Q Okay. So when you brought up Joseph Mifsud in the conversation, what was the reasonable context that it had come up in?
A As far as I remember from reading my sentencing memorandum or there was a small footnote. They were asking if I had any information that Russian government officials would have hacked or before involved in email things. As far as what I remember, from what I read, I said, No, but there was this Maltese guy name Joseph Mifsud who told me X, Y, Z, and then the conversation just —
Q And then FBI did they ask you follow-up questions about
A I can’t remember what they asked me afterwards. I guess I remember I felt that they weren’t really too shocked when I mentioned his name, which struck me as very odd.
Q So what exactly did you relay to the FBI about Mifsud at that time?
A As far as I remember, I told them that in direct answer to their question about whether a Russian official had discussed hacking or Russian interference, I brought up his name and said a Maltese person named Joseph Mifsud told me that the Russians have thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. And then that’s really what I remember the most about my dialogue about Joseph Mifsud with the FBI at that meeting.
Q So, did the FBI respond in any way? Did they ask you how credible you believe this information to be?
A I can’t remember about that, but I remember maybe a couple days afterwards, agent Curtis Heide emailed me and said something along the lines of, do you — who — I can’t — he asked me if I could provide some contact info I think about Joseph Mifsud and Olga in an email. He sent me an email, I can’t really remember exactly what that email was all about, but.
Q So in that same interview, was there also discussion about Olga?
A I can’t remember, but there must have been some conversation about her. I just can’t really remember exactly how she was brought up, or whether I brought her up.
Q Because if the agent is asking for both of their contact information, then presumably — I’m just guessing, right — that her name would have come up in the —
A Yeah, I assume so, too. I just can’t remember exactly, because there was almost 2 years ago, so.
Q During that January interview, did the FBI ask you if you had any contacts with Russian nationals or anyone with a Russian accent?
A I remember the Russian accent parts and I assume they said a Russian national. And I just can’t remember if I then brought up Olga or if they brought her up. I just can’t remember exactly how that went down, but there is a transcript out there somewhere.
Q So do you recall what you would have responded — you said you don’t quite recall if you brought up Olga, but do you remember anyone else, any other individuals or names that you might have told the FBI in response to that question?
A I mean, the facts are that my Russia contacts, I guess, if you will call them that, was Joseph Mifsud, Olga and Ivan Timofeev. I just don’t think I have any other Russia connection.
Q So did you discuss Ivan Timofeev with the FBI during that January —
A I can’t remember if I did or not.
Q Were you generally in contact with Ivan Timofeev in the
A Sporadically, over emails, a couple of Skype calls. I am more than happy to provide that contact to the committee if you don’t have those emails ready.
Q I’m sorry. I know we discussed this, but why did you become in contact with Ivan Timofeev, why did you begin discussions with him?
A My understanding is that Joseph Mifsud introduced us
over email as somebody that might be helpful for me to get a quick understanding of where the U.S.-Russia relationship said at the time, considering he was an academic, and that he potentially had contacts in Russia could facilitate a meeting between Trump and Putin.
Q So after that January meeting or interview with the FBI, did you ever mention that you had an interview with the FBI to anyone on the Trump campaign?
A I don’t think I did. I don’t have a memory of that, no.
Q And did you ever talk to anyone who is currently a member of the Trump administration about that interview with the FBI?
A I have not been in touch with anyone really, as far as I remember, since the transition, quite frankly.
Q And you didn’t talk to anyone from the Trump organization about that interview with the FBI?
A I don’t think I did, no.
Q So you were interviewed again by the FBI —
A I can’t remember if I reached out to Marc Kasowitz about either that or my subpoena from the Senate. And I emailed him and I said, Look, would you be interested in representing me? I think that’s what happened. But I don’t — I can’t remember exactly why I emailed him, but I think I emailed Marc Kasowitz’ firm sometimes after the interview, but I don’t remember if he ever responded or anything like that.
So this —
A I don’t know if he’s part of Trump organization, or someone in an orbit, I guess, you could call it.
Q Right, right, right. So when you sent this email, would it have been after the first FBI interview, but before the second one, or —
A I think it would be after I was done with my initial contacts with the FBI.
A And it was around the time — I have — I will have to double-check, okay, and I could perhaps see that email is around and I could provide it to you.
Mr. Pierce. That may be privileged, George.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q Because you had a second interview in February, is your recollection that if you emailed Kasowitz’ firm, that this would have been after that February meeting as well?
Q So —
A That’s what I remember.
Q Okay. So you were interviewed by the FBI again on
February 16, 2017. Does that sound right?
Q And for that interview, did the FBI also approach you or did you —
Q Did the FBI approach you to conduct that interview, or did you approach them?
A I don’t know how that meeting was conducted because I think I had counsel present at the meeting you were talking about. So perhaps they organized it.
Q Okay. So by the time of the second meeting you had hired counsel to help?
A So there were three, I guess, interactions I had with the FBI. As I spoke about earlier, there was my initial interview where I had no lawyers present. There was a second one-on-one meeting between myself and agent Curtis Heide in Chicago, where I had no counsel present, where he asked me to wear a wire of some nature. And then the third meeting where the DOJ brought lawyers in with the FBI, my counsel was present at that meeting.
Q And who was your counsel at the time?
A It was Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley and perhaps I had George Burbis (ph) on my team at the time, I’m not sure when he left or —
Q And when did you hire these counsels? Because it would have been sometime between the January and February interviews. Is that right?
A I can’t remember exactly when I hired them, but it must have been — because I didn’t have counsel during my first interview.
And what — why did you decide to hire counsel after the
first FBI interview, or was it after the one-on-one meeting?
A Well, after my first interview, I think — I figured talking to the FBI and they are emailing you, it is probably smart to lawyer up a bit.
Q So on February 16, 2017, now you have counsel and now you are going to talk to the FBI again. During that interview, did you offer any new information? Were there new topics discussed?
A As far as I remember at that meeting, the FBI was asking if they could have the contact info of Joseph Mifsud and Olga. I believe my counsel provided it. And they asked me if I had met a friendly western diplomat in a bar, I think. And I said I don’t remember, because I met many diplomats in many bars. I really didn’t know which one they were talking about. And then I believe they asked me then, too, if I shared information with the campaign, but I am not 100 percent sure about that. You would have to look at any transcripts that might exist, or may not exist.
Q Did they ask you anything else that you can recall?
A During that February meeting? That’s what I remember.
Q So following your February 16 interview you deactivated your Facebook account. Is that correct?
A I believe so.
Q Had can you explain why?
Ms. Polisi. I’m just going to object to this one line of questioning, because I do think it involves substantial attorney-client relationships, privilege.
Ms. Shen. I’m sorry. For clarification, because I just don’t understand why would this line of questioning involve, you said attorney-client relationships?
Ms. Polisi. Yes, attorney-client privileged information.
Ms. Shen. I guess I’m just not understanding because, you know, it is a Facebook account, it’s been deactivated, it is public knowledge. So what about it is —
Ms. Polisi. It is very active. Describing what about it I think would impede upon that relationship as well. I’m going it to object to this line of questioning, just leave it at that.
BY MS. KIM:
Q So the FBI asked you to wear a wire to record to
Mr. Mifsud during your February interview with the FBI?
A No. During my second encounter with Curtis Heide.
Q Which was when?
A Shortly after my first interview with them.
Q After that second encounter with the FBI, did you continue to communicate with Professor Misfud?
A I think I stopped communicating with him. I had not communicated with him for some time. Actually up until that interview, and then certainly, as far as I remember, I don’t think I spoke to him at all after the FBI came to my house.
Prior to stopping communicating with him, what were the
different channels that you used to communicate with him? Did you use Facebook to communicate with him?
A I believe so.
Q Did you use email to communicate with him?
A I believe so.
A I can’t remember if I ever used Skype. Well, certainly email, and I believe Facebook.
Q When was the last time you remember communicating with
A Off the top of my memory I think it was the summer of
Q Do you remember why you stopped communicating with him?
A I can’t remember exactly, I just didn’t really think he was a man of real substance at some point.
Q Okay. I would like to go back, though, to your conversation with him in April of 2016. So can you give me a better sense of when that meeting concluded and then when you emailed Stephen Miller about interesting messages coming out of Russia about the meeting?
A Sure. So as I remember it, we meet for lunch at the Andaz Hotel in London, and he drops this information on me. And then, I mean, we probably talked about other things, I just can’t really remember what the other things were, but that was probably the most important piece of information from that meeting. And then I think I had a scheduled call latter that day with Stephen Miller, that never went through. And I emailed him, I believe, that same day about interesting messages coming in from Moscow.
Q You said also that you continued to suggest this Trump-Putin summit, but eventually, you found out that the campaign just wasn’t interested. Can you tell me the process by which you came to understand that the campaign wasn’t interested in setting up a Trump-Putin meeting?
A Yes. As I remember it, by the time Manafort took the helm of the campaign, I just emailed him, Are we interested in this or not? I think I forwarded to him an email from Ivan Timofeev where he’s asking for a letter to be signed by the campaign if this is a serious proposal or not, something like that. And I don’t think I ever received a response from Manafort. And you just put two and two together, no one’s interested, so stop it.
Q So it was not until — do you remember when Mr. Manafort took over the campaign manager position?
A I don’t remember when he took on the campaign.
Q Do you remember if it was around the time that you were talking to Mr. Miller about interesting messages, or if it was sometime after that?
A I think probably after.
Q But some time after that, wasn’t it?
A I think so, yeah.
Q And you kind of picked up on the fact that the campaign was not interested in the meeting, not from an explicit affirmative communication from a campaign official, but because Paul Manafort never responded to an email that you sent?
A That’s how I remember it. And there might have been — there might have been an email telling me no, or somebody might have told me no to my face. I just can’t remember all my interactions with the campaign from 2 years ago, unfortunately.
Q Certainly. You stated that you attended the big foreign policy opening meeting with Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump when the picture came out. Is that right?
A That’s right.
Q You’ve accounted to the press that some time during that meeting you raised the possibility of a meeting between Trump and Putin. Can you describe how Mr. Sessions reacted to your offer of that type of meeting?
A I felt that the Senator was quite enthusiastic about a potential meeting.
Q And how could you tell that he was enthusiastic about a potential meeting?
A That was just my impression and that’s why looking back,
I continued to pursue it, or else if your superior is telling you, No, you shouldn’t do this, there was no reason why I would continue to do it. I mean that is just how I remember it at the time.
Q So you remember maybe some kind of nonverbal queue from Mr. Sessions suggesting that he was enthusiastic about the idea of a Putin —
A There was something that I felt he was enthusiastic about. And that’s why I continued to pursue this — I guess it was a stupid idea, but I continued to pursue it.
Q Was Carter Page present when you raised this idea?
A I don’t think he was, no. I don’t they was in the meeting.
Q Was Burt Mizusawa present when you raised this? A I believe so.
Q And what was Burt’s reaction to your raising the possibility of a Putin-Trump meeting?
A I can’t remember, because I think he was sitting to the side of me, but there were a lot of people in the room who were disproving — disapproving of this meeting.
Q Was Stephen Miller in the room? Was Stephen Miller in the room when you mentioned —
A I don’t know if he was at the time I mentioned it, but I saw him afterwards.
Q Do you remember anyone else in the room having a positive reaction to your suggesting that Trump and Putin should meet?
A Quite honestly, I couldn’t care less at the time what
any of the other associates thought of it. I was just looking at candidate Trump and Senator Sessions. And candidate Trump, simply — he was noncommittal, he just nodded, so — and then he deferred to Jeff Sessions to see what he thought, and that’s when I understood that the Senator was open to this.
BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q At any point, did Mr. Sessions tell you to stop contacting Russian officials or any foreign government officials on behalf of the campaign?
A I don’t remember.
And like I said, I was never in email communication with the Senator. I met him in person twice. We were not having phone calls or anything like that.
Q Did he communicate something like that verbally?
A I only met him twice. And the second time I met him, we were talking about a completely different topic than Russia so.
Q What were you talking about?
A About Egypt.
Q So I want to be clear. So you got the impression from him that he was enthusiastic about the idea of the meeting, but he did not — did not verbally say to you at any point, Stop contacting Russian officials?
A I don’t remember him ever telling me stop contacting anyone.
Q Okay. And then were you given any additional
assignments or deliverables at that meeting by Sessions or anyone else?
A I don’t remember any additional deliverables. I think like I said this wasn’t an organized campaign. Everybody was there to kind of jump-start up their own initiatives. And no one was just giving orders to anyone like a 5-year-old.
BY MS. KIM:
Q You said that later that day you met with Mr. Miller?
A No, no, no. I don’t know if he was at the same meeting — I don’t know if he was at the meeting when I said what I said, but I saw him in person at the meeting. It could have been he could have come in afterwards. I don’t know. I just shook his hand. And he said, let’s be in touch.
Q Did you have any communication — any substantive communication with Mr. Miller that day?
A That day, I don’t remember. But moving forward, I had some substantial conversations with him.
Q Did he ever follow up with the idea of having the
A I don’t remember. But as I said, it is all in email, and I’m happy to share all the emails with you.
Q During the time that you were interviewing with the FBI, or, in fact, anytime after the summer of 2016 when you said you stopped communicating with Mr. Mifsud, did Mr. Mifsud ever reach out to you to try to reestablish communication with you?
A I’m sorry, repeat that, please.
Q Yes. So you stated earlier that as of summer 2016, you stopped communicating with Mr. Mifsud?
A That’s what I re — I believe that’s when I stopped talking to him, yes.
Q So after you stopped talking to Mr. Mifsud, did he ever attempt to reach out to contact you?
A What I remember is — I don’t know the months, okay? So I’m just letting you know what he was trying to accomplish, after it seems that I kicked him to the side about the campaign involvement, he introduced me over email to his current lawyer, Stephan Roh, as somebody that I might be interested in working with or on a project with. I — then I had a couple of Skype calls with Stephan Roh, and then, I believe, Mifsud was actually reaching out to me at the same time the FBI came to my house.
Q What did you communicate with Mr. Roh about?
A So we had discussed — my understanding is that he wanted to open up some sort of office in Washington, D.C. for — he’s a lawyer, but he also have an energy consultancy firm. That’s my understanding. And he was looking to open up a Washington presence, and he wanted to coordinate with me on that, but nothing ever materialized.
Q Are you aware that in a Daily Caller article, Mr. Roh has referred to you as a western intelligence operative?
A I wasn’t aware of that, but I was aware he wrote a book
where he speculated that I could be that, but of course I don’t know this person beyond a couple of emails and phone calls, so, of course, he has no substance behind any allegations.
BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q Sorry to jump around. You had said earlier that Jeff Sessions did not push back on you contacting Russian government officials. Did anyone else on the campaign or on the national security team tell you to stop communicating, or attempting to communicate with Russian officials?
A I don’t remember if there was direct pushback, but looking back from some emails it that have been leaked, it seeks that members of the committee were talking among themselves and saying what Papadopoulos is doing is a bad idea. But I don’t know if I was actually copied on any of those emails. Does that make sense?
BY MS. SHEN:
Q So if you could turn back to exhibit 1, I don’t know if you still have your copy somewhere and turn to page 2 and I’m going to just read from the top. “Defendant Papadopoulos claimed that his interactions with an overseas professor who defended Papadopoulos understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials — occurred before defendant Papadopoulos became a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. Defendant Papadopoulos acknowledged that the professor had told him about the Russians possessing dirt on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the campaign.
In truth and in fact, however, defendant Papadopoulos learned he would be an adviser to the campaign in early March, and met the professor on or about March 14, 2016. The professor only took interest in defendant Papadopoulos because of his status with the campaign. And the professor told defendant Papadopoulos about the thousands of emails on or about April 26, 2016, when defendant Papadopoulos had been a foreign policy adviser to the campaign for over a month.”
So Mr. Papadopoulos, why did you lie to the FBI and claim that your interactions with Professor Misfud occurred before you became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign?
Ms. Polisi. I’m going to object to this line of questioning.
Ms. Shen. What’s the objection based upon?
Ms. Polisi. We are here on a voluntary basis. We have answered all of your questions thus far. It is my advice to him that he not talk specifically about the offense conduct.
Ms. Shen. Are you asserting a privilege?
Ms. Polisi. I’m not asserting a privilege, per se. But would be happy — I would say you could issue a subpoena. We’re here on a voluntary basis. It is my advice to him not to talk about the offense conduct.
Ms. Shen. I would like to mark as exhibit 2, the government’s sentencing memorandum for George Papadopoulos, dated August 17, 2018.
[Papadopoulos Exhibit No. 2
Was marked for identification.]
BY MS. SHEN:
Q Can you please turn to page 4. Mr. Papadopoulos, I believe earlier in this round, we were asking about your interviews with the FBI, and I believe that you said that you had brought up to the FBI the — the professor and your conversation with him. Is that correct?
A That is what I remember.
Q So if you could take a look at footnote 2 on this page, page 4, in the second paragraph, it reads, “To the contrary, the defendant identified the professor only after being prompted by a series of specific questions about when the defendant first learned about Russia’s disclosure of information related to the campaign, and whether defendant had ever, quote, ‘received any information or anything like that from a Russian government official’ unquote. In response, while denying he received any information from a Russian Government official that further identified the professor by name, while also falsely claiming he interacted with the professor ‘before I was with Trump though.'”
Mr. Papadopoulos, what you just said earlier today during this interview doesn’t seem to jive with the information in this footnote. Can you explain the discrepancy?
Ms. Polisi. I’m still going to object to this line of questioning. I disagree with your characterization of his previous testimony. What’s written is written, you read it into the record.
Ms. Shen. Well, he just agreed with my characterization.
Ms. Polisi. No, he did not. He did not. He did not agree with your characterization.
Ms. Shen. I asked him if what we talked about earlier was correct — on the record.
Ms. Polisi. That is correct.
Ms. Shen. And then I read the paragraph from his sentencing memorandum, and you are not allowing him to respond to that.
Ms. Polisi. Correct, I’m not allowing him to respond to that.
BY MS. KIM:
Q Mr. Papadopoulos, you’ve said to us that you have emails that we are interested in that you will provide to us. Is that right?
Q Are the current emails in your possession all of the emails, so all of the emails that you sent or received, or have you deleted some emails or communications?
A I have — my understanding is these are all the emails I have had untampered with with the campaign.
Q Do you still have Facebook messages saved or did those get deleted?
A First of all, my old Facebook accounts was never deleted, it was deactivated. And it is reactivated now. So nothing — as far as I understand, I don’t think I have actually been on the old Facebook account in a couple of years. I don’t think anything has been actually deleted from that.
Q So you would be willing to provide us the messages from your old Facebook account as well?
A I have no issue with that.
BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q I want to go back quickly to the Capitol Hill Club dinner that was a part of the RNC convention in 2016?
A I don’t know when it took place. I just know that that’s where we ate there at some point.
Q When you sat next to Jeff Sessions, did, at any point during that dinner, lunch, did you discuss your efforts to communicate with Russian officials or to improve U.S. Russia relations? Did that come up at any point?
A My memory of that particular dinner, lunch whatever it was that we were focusing almost exclusively on the U.S.-Egypt relationship. And I don’t even think Russia came up one time. I don’t remember it at all.
Q Then I think it was a day or two later you spoke on an AJC panel with Senator Corker and Representatives Marino and Yoho.
What was the subject of that panel? Do you recall?
A As I recall, it was a panel on America’s role in the
Q How did you come to speak on that panel?
A I was invited by, I think, American Jewish Committee. I’m not sure how that invite got to me exactly, but I think — they were hosting the panel, I think.
Q Is it fair to say that you were invited because of your role as a foreign policy adviser on the campaign?
A I presume so, yes.
Q And you had — actually, before I do that, did the campaign have to approve of that, of you speaking on that panel, or is it you were just invited and you accepted it, or did you let them know those types of —
A I can’t remember exactly what the setup was, but I know that’s the day that I met Rick Dearborn, Beau Denysyk and John Mashburn.
Q As part of your foreign policy duties for the campaign,
I know you said you focused mostly on the Middle East and parts of Europe. Did you — were you, at any point, consulted on any matters related to Ukraine?
A I don’t recall having anything to do with Ukraine, no.
Q Were you aware at the time of the campaign’s efforts to change or update the party’s platform on Ukraine?
A I don’t have any memory of that, no.
Q So that wasn’t something, let’s say, that came up in any conversation with Paul Manafort, or Mike Flynn, or Jeff Sessions, or anybody like that?
A As far as I remember, absolutely not.
BY MS. SHEN:
Q Last month you did an interview with George
Q And during that interview, you stated that when you were interviewing at the FBI, you, quote, “Understood that there was an incipient investigation into Russian interference for the 2016 election.” And you also stated, quote, “I found had myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting President, and have probing questions that I thought might incriminate the sitting President,” end quote. Do you generally recall saying that?
A Doing the interview with George?
Q And what — why did you think that you might incriminate the President?
A I don’t have a comment on that actually.
Q Well, it sounds pretty serious. Why wouldn’t you —
A I thought — I guess I will speak for myself, not the President, because I don’t know the President and he doesn’t know me. So I thought that potentially what Mifsud told me was something criminal, and that I was involved in potentially something criminal. Not that the President himself, but because he was on a campaign, and I was on his campaign, it might have infected him indirectly. I think that’s what I was talking to George about. But in terms of me incriminating the President, I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me. And certainly, he will have nothing to do with Joseph Mifsud and what he told me so.
Q So you never thought that the President might have been committing a crime?
A In my opinion, no.
BY MS KIM:
Q Did you attend the inauguration?
A I was in Washington for the inauguration, I attended a couple of parties there.
Q Which parties did you attend?
A I attended a party — I think it was the Arch Diocese of
New York with hosting some awards ceremony for Reince Priebus, and George Gigicos was the head of events for the Trump campaign. And I think that’s the only party I attended.
Q Did you attend any kind of watching parties, celebrations, inauguration balls?
A I think the only festivity I attended was that, and there was either a pre-party to that or an after party to that. I can’t remember exactly — exactly which parties I attended during the inauguration.
Q Where were you on the night of the election?
A I don’t remember.
Q You don’t remember where you watched the election returns?
A I don’t remember what TV I was watching it on or what city. I think I might have been in Chicago. I was watching on TV. I just don’t know exactly where in the world I was at that time. Because I was traveling a lot at that time.
Q I see. What was your reaction to the victory?
Q Did you reach out to anyone on the Trump campaign that day?
A That particular day? Like, I think, Steve Bannon, you know, just to say we did it or something like that. I can’t — like I said, I could provide all these emails, I just don’t know. I really can’t remember exactly what I did on that specific day.
Q What news reports and I think as you discussed earlier, you forwarded a proposal for a strategic alliance from the Greek defense minister to Mr. Bannon and Mr. Flynn. How did the Greek defense minister reach out to you about the proposal?
A Let me think. I was a well-known person in that industry, especially in that part of the world. And I believe, during my initial meeting with him in May of 2016, he was really interested in having Greece become the new frontier for NATO in the Mediterranean, which is also — there’s this misunderstanding that I was talking with some sort of pro-Russia defense minister, which, in my opinion, I think he could be the best friend of the U.S. in southeast Mediterranean, but that’s another topic.
So we were talking about it there, just floating ideas, Hey, this might be something interesting. This was May, though, before any election. Just theory at that point, and then I think I was in Greece in December of 2016. And either I met with him or one of his staff, and they said, This is what we want to do, what do you think? And I passed the message along. That’s how I think it happened.
Q Why did you send the proposal to Michael Flynn?
A Steve Bannon sent it to Michael Flynn.
Q You sent it to Steve Bannon and then he forwarded it to
Q Why did you send it to Steve Bannon?
A Well, I thought a deal like that is great for U.S. business and interest. So it is a NATO ally, it is a huge deal, and it advances the national cause. I mean, that’s how I saw it. I didn’t see any downside to American companies taking exclusive rights to all of Greece’s natural reserves. I thought that was a good deal for us, that’s why I passed it along.
Q And you said that Flynn responded positively to —
A He responded something along the lines of this is very interesting, let’s look into it.
Q Did you ever connect again about it in person?
A I have never met Michael Flynn in person in my life.
Q Did you follow up the proposal with anyone else on the
Trump transition team?
A As far as I remember, it was Steve Bannon, he forwarded it, then I think the higher-ups took care of whatever they were doing or didn’t do.
Q Did you have any other communications with foreign government officials during the transition?
A I met the President of Cyprus, and the Jordanian foreign minister. And I think actually, now that you refreshed my memory, I think I sent a note, not to Flynn, but maybe to Flynn’s assistant about those meetings I was having. So I don’t know if it was directly to Flynn, so I’m glad you actually asked that question, just to refresh my memory.
So I believe I met the Cypriot President who also was interested in ExxonMobil and some other companies coming in doing business there. And I just passed along messages I think to Flynn’s assistant, which I thought was something very good for our country. And then I met the Jordanian foreign minister while I was in Cyprus through a connection I had in Cyprus. And I can’t remember if I sent anything about him, but I probably did to Flynn’s assistant.
Q Did you have any meetings with the Emiratis during the transition?
A Not that I recall, no.
Q Any meetings with Egyptian officials?
A During the transition? I can’t remember, but it’s possible, because I had a very close network with them. But I can’t remember about Egypt in particular.
Q Sure. What about Saudi officials?
A During the transition, or throughout the campaign?
Q I will take any time during the campaign, during the transition, after the —
A Well, this is interesting, because it goes back to Mifsud. Mifsud had introduced me to, I believe he’s a Saudi national. I believe he’s also a fellow at Harvard called Nawaf Obaid, I think that’s his name. It’s N-a-w-a-f O-b-a-i-d, and he met in London so it was around the time I still had some interaction with Mifsud, and he basically was talking to me about what the Saudis thought of Trump at the time, and that he was very connected to Saudi, these kind of things. I met him one time. And I think that was the only Saudi person I ever met on the campaign or the transition.
Q Thank you. Did you meet with any Qataris?
A I don’t believe so, no.
Q Did you meet with any foreign government officials affiliated with Israel during the transition?
A During the transition, or during the campaign?
Q During the transition.
A I can’t remember during the transition, but I met with many Israeli officials while I was on the campaign.
Q Did you meet with any foreign officials on the day of the inauguration?
A Actually wait, wait, wait, hold on. I’m glad you — so during the inauguration I met with an Israeli person, he is a political leader named Yossi Dagan, who was introduced to me by this person David Ivry who introduced me to this important Charles Tawil that I mentioned earlier with this strange behavior of his.
So just to be clear, during the inauguration, or the day before around then, I met with Yossi Dagan and his team just to talk about settlements and stuff like that. And then there was an article in The Jerusalem Post about it, but I don’t remember meeting with others, really, officials during the transition, but I met with others during the campaign, if that makes sense.
Q That does make sense. Were you involved in any phrasing for the inauguration?
A I don’t think so, no.
Q Did you have any discussions about your potential employment in the Trump administration during the transition period or during the inauguration?
A I’m sure I was talking to people to get a job. I just can’t remember exactly who or what I was doing, but I was in touch with Rob Whitmore, some people who were connected to Reince Priebus, this guy Father Alex Karloutsos in New York so it
was — that’s really — I mean, certainly, I wanted a job and I was trying to talk to people who could get me a job.
Q Do you remember what types of positions you were end consideration for?
A That I was under consideration for or I wanted? Because I don’t know if I was under consideration. It’s — I believe some sort of Under Secretary of Energy, something along those lines. I think The New York Times had the exact positions I might have been under for. I just can’t remember the exact titles or — I don’t know if those were officials or if that was just my aspiration. I don’t remember that.
BY MS. HARIHARAN:
Q Does the name Peter Smith ever come up either with Michael Flynn, or with other folks on the campaign? Does that sound familiar?
A I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the name Peter Smith in my life.
Ms. Kim. That ends the hour. Let’s go off the record. It is 3:19 p.m.
Mr. Meadows. Mr. Papadopoulos, if you’re ready, we’ll go ahead and go back on. And I show the time is 3:25.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, sir.
Mr. Meadows. So I want to follow up on one item from the previous hour, where you had talked about Mr. Tawil. I guess you had not heard from him about the $10,000. And then all of a sudden, you get an email, I assume an email out of the blue saying he wants his $10,000 back. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My memory of the past year, and any interactions I had with this individual — I’m more than happy to share his emails with the committee — was that he would reach out to me indirectly through contacts of mine, and ask how was George doing, what’s his news, even though I was all over the global media at that time. And I don’t remember him ever asking for his money back, even though I had offered to give him his money back, shortly after I left him in — wherever I left him.
And going back into my records, I just looked at my email, and we can provide this to you, I think 2 days after I was sentenced, I think — so, September 9th of last month, he sends me an email and he says, not only am I thinking about suing you, but I want my money, and let’s act like we never met. Something along those lines.
Mr. Meadows. And what was your response to him, if you can share that.
[Witness conferring with counsel.]
Mr. Papadopoulos. I didn’t respond to him, but my counsel reached out to the special prosecutors and had a discussion with him about it.
Mr. Meadows. So there’s been no subsequent follow-up from him?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No. My impression of that is that he was trying to recover evidence, not money of some nature, because he had over a year to ask for it, or he could have simply picked it up after I left him. And I was in Greece, and I told him to come take his money back last year. But all of a sudden, now, after I’m sentenced, he wants this particular money back. So I find it very suspicious.
Mr. Meadows. Okay.
Mr. Papadopoulos. And I could also talk about, I believe this links into the nature of my arrest.
I always questioned if it was a normal arrest. When you lie to the FBI, to be stopped at an airport by the FBI, taken to a closed room, and essentially, you know, discover that you’re under arrest in such a dramatic fashion for what, my understanding is, a relatively unharmful crime of lying to the FBI.
My memory of the arrest is that they were searching for this money in my bag. And when they couldn’t find this money, there seemed to be some sort of haste to figure out what to do with me.
And that’s why —
Mr. Meadows. Help me understand, which airport, where were we?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Exactly.
Mr. Meadows. I know it’s vivid to you, but it’s —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Absolutely. That’s why I’m here to let you know exactly what happened. I was flying, I believe, from Athens to Munich in Germany, and then I was flying back to Chicago, but I had a connection in Dulles. And I noticed the FBI agents waiting for me on the shuttle train that you’re on as you’re coming back to the United States.
And I just noticed two people with suit and ties, while everyone else was in sweat pants and exhausted from our trans-Atlantic flight.
And I was texting my girlfriend at the time letting her know that I think there are two FBI agents who are going to stop me. And I was right, they were FBI agents. I’m about to put my passport in the kiosk to get my reentry approval, and the FBI agent shows me his badge and says follow us.
And I go to a room where I see Curtis Heide and the two agents who had originally interviewed me in
Chicago. And it looked like they were searching through my bag in a very violent manner to look, what I believe, was the money.
And then I was told I was under arrest. I don’t remember why
I was under arrest, exactly. I was taken to a detention center in
Alexandria. As far as I remember, it was Alexandria, and it was only the next day that I figured out that I was being charged for lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in front of the Magistrate.
So everything was done in a very — I had never been arrested before. I didn’t know that was a normal procedure. But reading certain articles about my arrest in Politico and other newspapers, it seems like there was some sort of rush to arrest me and —
Mr. Meadows. So let me get this straight. You fly from Munich, on your way back to Chicago, you land in Dulles, you’re making a connection in Dulles. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s correct.
Mr. Meadows. You’re on the shuttle going from one terminal to the other, I would assume.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Something like that.
Mr. Meadows. One of the elevated buses. Is that —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah, the shuttle, going to the security to show my passport and –
Mr. Meadows. For passport control?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Passport control, exactly.
Mr. Meadows. So you don’t actually reenter?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No.
Mr. Meadows. And they arrest you prior to reentering the United States?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Technically, I was on U.S. soil but maybe I had not given the agents my passport to reenter the country.
Mr. Meadows. And what you’re saying is to your recollection you don’t recall why you were being arrested?
Mr. Papadopoulos. To my recollection, I didn’t — Mr. Meadows. So you didn’t say, Why are you arresting me?
Mr. Papadopoulos. The only thing I remember was something along the lines of — and I can’t remember if it was after I had the handcuffs on me that they told me this is what happens when you don’t tell us everything about your Russia contacts.
But I don’t remember any formal charges, or them telling me You are under arrest for X, Y or Z. That, I don’t remember at all.
Mr. Meadows. They told you — I guess, they gave your Miranda rights?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember that. I don’t remember that. I’m sure there might be the video or a transcript of what was going on. You have to understand, I had just come off a trans-Atlantic flight.
Mr. Meadows. Right.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I was groggy. I was just trying to get some, get home and sleep. And I ended up sleeping in a prison cell.
Mr. Somers. And you said they were searching your bags prior to them arresting you?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s, as I was observing them, yes, that’s what it looked like.
Mr. Somers. Who was searching your bags?
Mr. Papadopoulos. It looked like it was Curtis Heide.
Agent — Mr. Somers. It was FBI agents, not Customs?
Mr. Meadows. So it was not Customs?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, no, no, it was FBI.
Mr. Meadows. So prior to going through Customs, they take your bags, and the FBI searches your bags?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. That’s your — Mr. Papadopoulos. My briefcase. I had a briefcase on me.
Mr. Meadows. Your briefcase.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, sir.
Mr. Meadows. So that’s your testimony. So they basically take your briefcase and they start searching it? Did they ask you permission to search it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My memory is that they put me in the room at the airport, did not ask me for any permission whatsoever, and then they began to search through my briefcase in a very, quite violent manner.
Mr. Meadows. By “violent,” what do you mean, just ripping it —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Just opening it, like that, putting their hands and just digging around. That’s, I just didn’t understand what was going on.
Mr. Meadows. And they didn’t indicate what they were looking for?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember them indicating anything, no. And I don’t remember them actually formally, I guess, looking through my bag until I — I can’t remember — after we went in a car to another facility where I was processed. It was very strange.
Mr. Meadows. So did they show you a warrant to search those things?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I didn’t —
Mr. Meadows. Did they have a warrant to search your —
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t remember any warrant. In fact, the whole situation was very, it seemed very rushed and very chaotic.
Mr. Meadows. So you’re telling me that they searched your personal property without a warrant prior to you coming through Customs?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what I remember, yes, sir.
Mr. Baker. Did you say earlier some were dressed in tactical attire?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That was —
Mr. Meadows. I think that was a different — the tactical, wasn’t that in Chicago?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That was at O’Hare Airport in Chicago as I was going on my plane to Europe. And this is as I’m being arrested.
Mr. Meadows. Is it the same trip?
Mr. Papadopoulos. The round trip, yeah.
Mr. Meadows. So you have tactical people that meet you when you’re leaving from Chicago O’Hare. And then you have agents that are meeting you when you come back?
Mr. Papadopoulos. At Dulles, yeah.
Mr. Meadows. So let me switch back to your arrest. At what point did you start to believe that you were under FBI investigation? I mean, because, you know, from being arrested in Dulles, walk me backwards, at what point do you start to believe that you’re being investigated by the FBI? Is that in January of 2017? When is it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. As far as I remember, I was never formally told I was under investigation, until I assumed when I had handcuffs on me, I was in trouble then. But I don’t remember the FBI ever telling me after any interview I had with them leading up to the arrest that there’s an investigation into you, or anything like that.
Mr. Meadows. So you voluntarily spoke to FBI agents multiple times thinking that you were helping them out with an investigation, and that you were not the subject of that investigation. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That was my impression until they told me that, You’re the center of this. But I thought the “center of this” meant because I told them this information about Mifsud, not that I’m a target.
Does that make sense? I thought maybe because I provided such critical —
Mr. Meadows. That you were central to the investigation, not the target of the investigation.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Exactly, sir. That was my impression. That I helped my country and that’s why I was such a critical figure, not that I was the central target itself.
Mr. Meadows. So let me take you back to July of 2016. So this is prior to the election.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, sir.
Mr. Meadows. Were you, to the best of your knowledge, under investigation in July of 2016? Did you have any reason to believe that you were under FBI investigation?
Mr. Papadopoulos. To the best of my recollection absolutely not. I would have no idea by July 2016.
Mr. Meadows. So let me take you to October of 2016. Any reason to believe that you were under FBI investigation in October of 2016?
Mr. Papadopoulos. An investigation, sir? I have no recollection of ever being under the impression that I had the FBI targeting me for any reason, but I did have very strange encounters in July and October and September.
Mr. Meadows. Strange encounters with other people?
Mr. Papadopoulos. With other people, yes.
Mr. Meadows. Right. But to the best of your knowledge you never had a conversation, knowingly had a conversation with an FBI agent in July, August, September, October, or November of 2016. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s correct.
Mr. Meadows. So when you pushed back with Stefan Halpern, and you said, Listen, this is, you know, I’m not going to do that and colluding with the Russians would not be something that I would do. It would be against the law — I don’t want to put words in your mouth — you had no knowledge of being under an investigation at that particular time, is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. So, that’s absolutely correct, and if I had even a scintilla of proof or belief that Stefan Halper was an FBI agent, there’s no way I would have be going and talking to him — I just wouldn’t, I don’t think I would. I don’t think anybody would be running into some sort of operation against themselves.
Mr. Meadows. So on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most aggressive in terms of your pushback, what number would you categorize your pushback from Mr. Halper when he was asking you about your involvement with Russia?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Ten.
Mr. Meadows. It’s a ten?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah.
Mr. Meadows. So what you’re telling me is that colluding with the Russians was the last thing on anybody’s mind at that particular point?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Last thing on my mind, certainly, I can only speak for myself.
Mr. Meadows. All right.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q What was Mr. Halper’s response when you said, hey — when you pushed back, either visibly or orally?
A I remember visibly, he was very agitated, angry, irritated, whatever you want to call it. I just remember him looking at me like, I almost got you, but you didn’t tell me what I wanted you to tell me kind of look.
And I just looked at him and was curious as to what was going on actually. Because as it’s very clear now, I had nothing to do with collusion, even the judge presiding over my sentencing said the same thing essentially.
So I was very confused then, and even more confused now as to how I found myself in a Russia conspiracy.
Q Did that kind of end the conversation when you pushed back? I mean, how much more conversation did you have?
A Yeah, I believe the conversation ended very quickly after I pushed back.
Q You said your goodbyes and went your separate ways?
A That’s how I remember it, yes.
Q And you had further contact with Halper or not after that?
A Basically, to arrange payment, that’s how I remember it afterwards. And to submit my paper to him.
Q There’s another individual, correct me if I mispronounce his name, but I think came up a little bit in the previous hour but I don’t think we talked about him in depth, Sergei Millian?
A I guess his name is Sergei Millian but I guess he has other aliases, too.
Q When did you first come into contact with him?
A Sergei Millian reached out to me out of the blue on
LinkedIn around sometime in late July 2016.
I can’t remember exactly how he presented himself, but he basically stated that he’s an American of Belarusian origin who worked for Trump or his organization, and he could be helpful in understanding the U.S.-Russia relationship, and he might be a good person to get to know.
So I thought this was probably one of Trump’s people and he’s reaching out to me. That’s a good sign. I have the message somewhere. I could always present it to the committee here. And then we met shortly after that in New York.
Q And what did you discuss in that New York meeting?
A I will say I don’t remember too much except that he was very interested — he was very — he was acting like he was very pro-Trump, that he wanted to arrange me to meet with certain Russian-American leaders, especially in the church, and to help get the Russian vote, Russian-American vote out for Trump. And that he was a businessman of some sort and, you know, that he was very excited for Trump, something like that. And that he knew Michael Cohen. That’s what I remember. But I felt that actually he might be recording my conversation with him, too.
Q I mean, you kind of indicated that he knew Trump or knew
Michael Cohen. Did he explain why he was reaching out to you?
A That’s exactly the point. I didn’t, I never really caught that. I kept asking him, I remember I asked him one time, have you reached out to anyone else on the foreign policy committee? He said no. It just struck me as strange that he wanted to really befriend me or target me, I guess. And I have my suspicions that he was targeting me.
Q And then after you had the — you said you had a meeting with him in New York, was there contact after that meeting in New York?
Q And what did that consist of?
A Mostly talking about the potential that if I had formally left the campaign, which I had considered around certain months, that we would engage in some legitimate business that he might have. And then I made it clear to him that any business that we would be talking about would be completely illegal. I wouldn’t be part of the Trump campaign organization or have absolutely nothing to do with Trump himself if I’m going to work with you, or anybody else, by the way. And then he decided to present some sort of ambiguous business proposal to me.
One day, in October or November in Chicago, where I felt that he was wearing a wire or he was setting me up for something about this proposal that he was talking about. He came to Chicago, we met at Trump Tower. He was very nervous, and he started telling me yet this deal that I think is for $30,000 a month, it’s a PR gig for a contact of mine in Russia.
Q Contact of his?
A His. Something — I never, to this day, I never really understood what this was. And but you have to understand, George, that if we do this you still have to work for Trump. And he was looking at me with his eyes really bogged out, very nervous. And I just looked at him, like this guy is on an operation against me right now trying to set me up for something. And I flatly told him, as far as I remember, No, I’m not taking this offer, because it’s illegal what you’re talking about, at least I thought it was illegal. And we were supposed then to meet later that night, and he just told me I’m feeling sick, I’m going back to New York tonight. So very strange character, very strange person.
What’s even more strange was during the inauguration, where I met him again, and it was my understanding that he had been meeting with Senator McCain and some other members of Congress with an associate of his Aziz Choukri, who I presented his name
And he said let’s meet up. We met at the Russia House here in Washington for a couple drinks. And I meet this individual named Aziz, who is sitting next to him and he made a remark to me that never left my mind, in front of Sergei. And said that, Oh, you know, Sergei is working for the FBI. Something like that.
Q And you’re saying Sergei was sitting there at the time?
A Sergei was sitting there.
Mr. Meadows. So he said Sergei was working for the FBI?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He certainly said something along those lines, yes, where it left the impression on me that Sergei was not who he seemed to be.
Mr. Biggs. I’m sorry. You don’t know who I am. Andy Biggs from Arizona. I just want to clarify for the record. When you said “he there” about three different times.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Aziz.
Mr. Biggs. You’re talking Millian? That Aziz is working for —
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, no, Aziz.
Mr. Biggs. Oh, that Aziz.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, yes. Aziz Choukri, at this dinner — whatever we were doing, having drinks — made some reference to Sergei’s connection to the FBI. And I didn’t understand what that was.
If it was a joke, it could be a joke. I don’t know. It’s
not my job to investigate or to understand if that was a joke or if it was a serious thing. I just have never heard of a joke like that.
And then a couple days later, before I’m interviewed by the FBI, he comes out on the front page, meaning Sergei Millian, as the source of the Steele dossier.
Now, is this all connected? Is he just a shady businessman?
Was he working for somebody else when he was targeting me? Is
Aziz making a joke, or is he serious about Sergei working with the FBI or associated with the FBI? I don’t know. I’m just repeating what I was told to this committee.
Mr. Meadows. So did you, in all of those connections that you had, can you recall when you first had the contact with Sergei, in — you said July. Did you say July of 2016?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He reached out in July of 2016 via LinkedIn.
Mr. Meadows. Do you know when in July of 2016, what the date was?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think it was around July 22nd.
Mr. Meadows. And do you recall the date that you actually met with him?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’m not even 100 percent sure of exactly the day in July. I could always go back in my records and provide that.
Mr. Meadows. That would be helpful. Those dates would be helpful, but when did you meet with him, in July or in August?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He reached out certainly in July of 2016 and we might have met beginning of August at some point —
Mr. Meadows. Okay. Now, did you connect Boris — Mr. Papadopoulos. — face-to-face.
Mr. Meadows. I think it’s Boris Epshteyn to Millian?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I attempted to set up a meeting between both of them, but I don’t think they ever met. Maybe they met on their own, but I didn’t achieve —
Mr. Meadows. So you weren’t successful? You tried to do that, but you weren’t successful?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah, yeah. That’s my understanding, I don’t think they met through me at any time.
Mr. Meadows. So following up on my colleague’s questions here, when you talked to the special prosecutor about Sergei, tell me how those questions went with the special prosecutor? What did they want to know?
Mr. Papadopoulos. So as far as I remember that was, I guess, the excuse to get me to talk to them. Your friend in New York, and you know who we’re talking about.
Mr. Meadows. I’m talking about the special prosecutor, though.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Oh.
Mr. Meadows. Not the FBI.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Not the FBI.
Mr. Meadows. I’m talking about the special prosecutor.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes. I don’t remember too much communication about Sergei with the special counsel, actually.
Mr. Meadows. So you don’t recall any specific line of questioning that they would have asked you about him?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I remembered the FBI’s line of questioning, but I don’t remember the prosecutors actually really digging into Sergei Millian.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. So what did the FBI ask you about?
Mr. Papadopoulos. If he was cultivating me, or something along those lines.
Mr. Meadows. Cultivating you for Russia?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I don’t know. I don’t know. I just kind of laughed it off, I think.
Mr. Meadows. When did the FBI ask you that?
Mr. Papadopoulos. During my first interview. But it’s also strange, because according to the sentencing memorandum, they state explicitly to me that that was just a ruse to get me to talk to them, and they weren’t really interested in talking about Sergei.
So it goes from is he cultivating you to, We really don’t want to talk about this guy. That’s according to the public transcript that my former lawyers released to the judge, and I think that’s public now. So it’s very odd. That’s, yeah.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. I yield back.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q And then just circling back to this conversation with Aziz, so he says Sergei is working for the FBI, or something to that effect? Does the conversation continue after that? Does Sergei get defensive? What happens?
A I think Sergei was a little shocked. He did one of these where he put his eyes up, like that. And then I was very cautious about my interactions with them. And then I think we went out afterwards to another place, and then Sergei had a hotel room, and we went to get some food, I think, in his hotel room and they left. And I remember in his hotel room, I was moving his laptop away because I felt that he might have been recording me or something along those lines. I was very paranoid at that point. I remember. And I think that was the last time I ever saw Sergei face-to-face.
Q Any contact with him after, not face-to-face after?
A He had been reaching out a lot from discussing anything from my wife’s looks to his own legal battles he was fighting about with defamation lawsuits he was interested in. I don’t think I was ever really responding to him after the FBI came to my house.
Q Is this over a course of time or were there specific times when he reached out to you?
A I think after the FBI came to my house, he was reaching
out quite a lot. And I think — I can’t really remember if I was responding to him, or I just was dismissing him, but he was definitely reaching out a lot.
Q Was that publicly recorded, I’m sorry, that the FBI came to your house?
A In January?
A Do you mean if it’s reported now?
Q No, no at the time?
A No, I don’t think so. Q I’m just trying to see —
A No, I don’t think so.
Q — that Sergei could have read in the news, that Hey, he was picked up by the FBI or he came in and talked to the FBI?
A No, I don’t think anything about me was public until my name was released in October.
Q But around that same time, he started reaching out to you again?
A He was reaching out a lot after the FBI came into my life.
Mr. Meadows. So did you ever discuss with Sergei the dossier? You know, obviously, it’s reported with — did you discuss the dossier, or what’s now become known as the dossier with Sergei.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I have absolutely no recollection of ever talking about anything even close to resembling what has been reported in this apparent dossier.
I don’t have any memory whatsoever of talking about anything like that.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. Did he mention it? I know, you didn’t, you didn’t —
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s what I mean. I don’t remember —
Mr. Meadows. So what you’re saying is you don’t recall any mention of it?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, that’s something that would have left a mark in any memory if the candidate had a pee tape. If that’s what these allegations are. I mean, I don’t recall ever hearing anything like that.
Mr. Meadows. So I’m going to switch gears back to Chicago real quick.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. Chicago, you have FBI agents there, they’re interviewing you, is that correct? That’s where Mr. Klinesmith was there with you as well?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That was my third interaction with him, yes, in February of 2017, I believe.
Mr. Meadows. So your third interaction. Mr. Klinesmith is there. Why the addition of Mr. Klinesmith?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I simply thought it was because I had counsel, and that was the process that then-counsel comes and talks with you. I didn’t knew who Mr. Klinesmith was, of course, until much later on.
Mr. Meadows. So was Mr. Klinesmith an active participant in that interview?
Mr. Papadopoulos. He was leading the discussion, as far as I remember.
Mr. Meadows. So are you aware that there’s been reports of him having very anti-Trump comments “viva le resistance,” et cetera? Are you aware that that’s the same gentleman?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Now I am aware, yes.
Mr. Meadows. And so you had two FBI agents and you had
Mr. Klinesmith and Mr. Klinesmith was leading that third —
Mr. Papadopoulos. There was a big group. I don’t know who was a lawyer from the DOJ. I don’t know who was an FBI agent. But there was — he was part of a big delegation.
Mr. Meadows. And so, if he was directing that, what was, what was the core of that questioning at that particular point?
Mr. Papadopoulos. As I remember, his particular questioning, it wasn’t, had really nothing to do with Joseph Mifsud, who I had just notified the FBI about a couple days ago from that point. It was more, Do you remember talking to a western diplomat in a bar? He didn’t give the name. And, two, Do you remember talking about emails with anyone on the campaign? That’s what I remember Kevin talking to me about. Which I just found is very odd, considering that I thought the topic should have been a Russian agent named Joseph Mifsud.
Mr. Meadows. All right. And so in that direction, as they were directing the conversation, when you told them that you had not communicated with anybody in the campaign about the emails, what was their response?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I can’t remember if it was after I told them that I thought that Mifsud was BS’ing, or if it was after I told them I don’t remember meeting this random diplomat that they were alluding to, that they got up, stormed out, and left in a very aggressive manner. And Kevin was very aggressive in his exit. That’s how I remember it, but that seemed to be —
Mr. Baker. They all got up and left?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yes, basically, you didn’t tell us what we hoped you were going to tell us. And that’s basically what the million dollar question has always been. And I guess who did I tell on the campaign about this and —
Mr. Meadows. And your testimony here today is no one. Is that correct?
Mr. Papadopoulos. My testimony today is I have absolutely no recollection of talking about emails, Hillary Clinton’s, with anyone on the Trump campaign. And I have said as much to the FBI and to the special counsel.
Mr. Meadows. So I’m going to ask my very last question and I’ll refer it back to my colleagues.
What do you want the American people to know about George Papadopoulos that is very different than what has been reported?
Mr. Papadopoulos. George Papadopoulos has no Russia connection whatsoever, never did. He found himself mired in a Russia conspiracy, which makes no sense to him and I assume probably everyone in this room, and probably half the American public.
I had many contacts with western intelligence and western diplomats. Some might have been masquerading as something they were not, like I assume Joseph Mifsud was, if his lawyer is to be believed. Stefan Halper, Alexander Downer. And I just really want to get to the bottom of why I was targeted by these very seasoned diplomats and intelligence officials, and what I was used for.
And I think everybody really wants to figure that out, because I think figuring that out will unlock many mysteries in this entire investigation. And that’s why I think — that’s really what I’m at the core of, not the core of a Russia conspiracy. And that’s what I truly believe.
Mr. Meadows. Thank you for your testimony.
I’ll yield back.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Thank you very much.
Mr. Somers. If I could just jump around a few things. Just notes that I have written.
BY MR. SOMERS:
Q One, the emails from Mifsud, did he say Hey, these
emails exist, or did he offer to provide them to you?
A My understanding and memory of what they told me was that the Russians have her emails. I don’t remember him saying, You can get them here, You can disseminate them this way, or anything along the lines of obtaining emails.
It was a proclamation. It was a statement that he made to me, just verifying, I guess, what was openly speculated at the time.
Q And it was emails, it wasn’t any sort of dossier on Hillary Clinton that the Russian Government had been putting together for quite some time?
A I remember “thousands of emails,” that’s where the “thousands” come from. I don’t think it could have been thousands of dossiers, so I’m pretty — that’s what I’m testifying to.
Q When was the third meeting — you just described it — meeting with the FBI? Do you recall a meeting?
A I can’t remember exactly the date, but I believe it was
February, sometime in February of 2017.
Q So the first meeting was in January?
Q The second meeting was?
A Probably 4 or 5 days later, perhaps even January 31st, where I was asked to wear this wire. But that was just between Curtis Heide and myself. And then after that, we had the whole entourage from Washington come to Chicago.
Q And then no further meetings with the FBI?
A I don’t believe I had another encounter with the FBI until I was arrested in July.
Q And then when did you begin meeting with special counsel?
A Shortly after my arrest.
Q And how many times have you met with special counsel?
A I think they said I had four proffer sessions. I think that’s correct.
Q I think you touched on this a little bit before, but one of the lead lines in the Carter Page FISA application, “The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with candidate 1’s campaign.”
Did you coordinate any Russia efforts of any kind with Carter Page?
A I — maybe my emails will suggest otherwise, but my memory suggests to me that I barely spoke to Carter Page in a real manner, yet alone coordinate anything with this person.
Q And did anyone ever, at any point in time, ever offer you a dossier at the Kremlin possessed on Hillary Clinton?
A I absolutely no memory of anyone doing that to me, no.
Q Did you have a position on what the U.S.’s position should be towards Russia and the Ukraine?
A Regarding Ukraine, I don’t think I had anything to do
with Ukraine. I did give an interview to Interfax, which is a Russian media outlet, after I was approved to do so by the campaign in, I think, late September of 2016. And I made it very clear to that journalist that I was speaking on my own behalf. I wasn’t speaking for the campaign, or especially candidate Trump.
So I guess the only, I guess, influential impact of some nature I had possibly as a campaign official regarding the Russia relationship was that interview I gave. And like we said before, I was trying to set up this meeting with Putin and with Trump.
That never materialized.
Q Did you ever have any discussions about setting up a back channel to Russia, between the campaign and Russia?
A If you want to call a back channel with, meaning campaign officials meeting Russian officials overseas during the campaign, I don’t consider that a back channel. I consider that just trying to set grounds for a meeting between the candidate and Putin, which was really my intention.
Q And that would have been a public meeting. People would have known about that meeting had you been successful in setting it up?
A That’s why — we wanted to make him a statesman, you know. That’s the last thing we would have done is hide behind doors. I mean, that’s really what it was, I wanted to make him look like a statesman and really show the world that this is why I want to meet this person, instead of Russia, Russia, Russia all day. I want to meet Putin and explain to America and to the voters why I’m shaking this man’s hand and why I think I can work with him. That was really the logic in my mind at the time.
Q And jumping around again, have you ever met with
Q When is the first time you heard that name?
A I believe it was when the Steele dossier became public with Sergei Millian’s face, if it even was. I don’t know, but I’ve never met with this person in my life. Q You know what he looks like so you know —
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q So, on June 15th 2016, The Washington Post reportedly initially on the hacked, so-called hacked emails of the DNC?
Q Do you recall when that story came out whether you thought that was consistent with what Professor Mifsud had mentioned to you, or was that something different?
A I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but I don’t recall ever even hearing of WikiLeaks. So I wasn’t sure what was really going on. I don’t think a lot of people in this country really knew what WikiLeaks or any of this was. But going, trying to think what I was thinking at the time, I don’t really think I was associating what he told me to that.
Q Okay. And just to clarify, you said that you’ve never discussed any information regarding the Clinton emails with anyone on the Trump campaign.
Does that also include that you’ve never spoken to anyone on the Trump campaign regarding the hacked DNC emails?
A That’s — yes, I would say so.
Q Okay. Do you recall being videotaped in your, any of your FBI interviews?
A My understanding is that there is a video of my first
Q How do you understand that?
A I think I was told that by former counsel, but I never saw this video.
Mr. Baker. You never saw any video equipment set up during your interview?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, I did not.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q And I believe in one of the court filings, it indicates that you handed over all of your electronic devices?
A That’s true.
Q Can you tell us what devices those were?
A The devices I turned over were an iPhone, a cell phone I had in the U.K., my laptop, an iPad. And I think that’s it.
Q Okay. Just going really quickly to the timeline again.
So on April 26, you initially learned from Mifsud about the dirt, the thousands of emails.
Then in May 2016, you first and only time, according to the testimony today, told someone, and that was the Greek foreign minister, about that conversation —
A In May, yes.
Q — correct?
A That I knowingly told, yes.
Q Then in June 15th, again, a mention that the initial reporting in The Washington Post comes out regarding the hacked DNC emails. But you were not initially interviewed until January of 2017?
A That’s correct.
Q We understand now that — I believe, previously, Congressman Ratcliffe was indicating that you are generally considered the predication for the entire Trump-Russia investigation, which we now understand to have started at the end of July of 2016.
So between July of 2016 and January 2017, you are the predicate of the investigation, but you’re not interviewed until January of 2017. Is that correct?
A That’s correct.
Q And throughout that intervening period, from July of
2016 through January of 2017, you don’t recall any instances where the FBI or anyone in the U.S. Government was attempting to contact you or interview you?
A As I think I stated earlier, I have my suspicions about Bert Mizusawa perhaps working on behalf of U.S. intelligence reaching out — oh, openly you said?
A Oh, no, absolutely not, about this particular issue of me involved in a crime of some nature.
Ms. Polisi. I’m sorry.
[Witness conferring with counsel.]
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, no, absolutely not. I don’t have — I don’t recall any U.S. Government official or intelligence official openly reaching out to me to talk about this —
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
A — issue that we are talking about today.
Q Okay. Thank you.
A Yes, yes.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q You’ve indicated a couple of times today that you have records or emails that might help us. We would be very interested in getting them. If you could compile them and give them to counsel. She knows how to get ahold of me. That would really assist us in what we’re doing, and maybe formulate some additional follow-up questions, if we would be able to reach out to you and close the loop on some things that might come out of those records. But we would definitely be interested in getting them.
Q You had indicated to my colleague that you had turned over different electronic devices. Was that subsequent to your arrest at the airport, or was that at a different time?
A As far as I remember, it was at the airport that my cell phone was seized.
Q Were you given any kind of property inventory sheet for property that —
A I was.
A I was at the airport, yes. But I believe that only my cell phone was kept, and that I was given my — you know what, I can’t really — I would have to check my records just to make sure. All I know is that I turned over these electronics over at my encounters with the special counsel.
I can’t remember exactly what was taken at the airport, but I believe it was my cell phone, my iPhone.
Q Okay. As you went traipsing around the world on this grand adventure that started out as a desire to work on a campaign and has brought you before the United States Congress, did anyone approach you for a potential setup in a compromising situation
i.e., offering you sex for information?
A Not explicitly, but Azra Turk, this young lady who was working with Stefan Halper was indirectly, the best of my memory, hinting that she was open to something like that.
Q And was there an indication of information she wanted in exchange for that specific information?
A I mean, at the time I just thought that she was, you know, a beautiful person that was working for Cambridge, but then you start to understand that’s not really how things work so — like I said, she never explicitly said I will sleep with you for this, but her mannerisms and her behavior suggested that she was flirtatious, and she was very open to something like that if I ended up providing what she wanted, whatever that was.
I mean, she never told me, you provide this, then I sleep with you, if that makes sense.
A It was just — I read between the lines, if that makes sense.
Q You indicated, I think, your first FBI interview, you were not aware or were not made aware that you were a subject of the investigation, that you were just being interviewed for information. Is that correct?
A That’s my understanding, that’s my memory, yes.
Q And being very cognizant of the objection counsel raised last round, I’m just curious, were statements you made during that interview, were they the basis of any charges?
Ms. Polisi. Only during that.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Only during that interview, yes.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q The interview where you were not aware that you were the subject of the investigation, or a subject of the investigation?
A That’s my understanding, yes.
Q You believe your being interviewed was to assist the FBI for whatever else they were investigating?
A As I stated, the reason I went to talk to them was because I thought that this person, Sergei Millian, was probably a person of interest that I could help them with. And it was a voluntary interview, of course. I wasn’t forced to go down. It was a voluntary interview. I was helping my country.
Mr. Meadows. So let me get this straight, you went voluntarily to talk to the FBI to try to help them with an investigation, of which they taped privately, and then used that against you for the purpose of saying that you gave false testimony to them?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s my understanding, yes.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q Is this the interview you think was recorded or was it the interview —
A It was, it was. It’s my understanding at this, the January 2017 interview was video-recorded, and I guess they had some sort of wires on them, too.
Q Okay. So it seems to me a lot of, as I understand it, in the statement of your offense, a lot of it hinged on when you were on the campaign.
I’m still a little confused as to when you were on the campaign because it seems like in any other kind of job scenario, you might interview, you might leave the interview thinking you got the job. You may subsequently talk to the employer and maybe get some sort of verbal offer, conditional or contingent on something. It doesn’t seem to me that you were really on the campaign until sometime around the time The Post puts out the list of people who had been selected as foreign policy advisers, I think, the 21st of March.
And it seems like the dates of when you were supposed to know things, or not know things on who you met and when you met them, are very close in time to your being on the campaign, whenever that is.
And I’m still confused when you were on the campaign. When do you think you were on the campaign?
A Yeah, I think, I share your sentiment on this. It’s very confusing. Sometimes I don’t understand.
Q But that seems to be a central point of the charges that you did things or didn’t do things based on when you were or weren’t on the campaign?
A That’s what it says. I haven’t read it in a while but that’s — I think you’re absolutely right.
Q And then another part I’m a little confused of is it seems there’s something about your assessment, I believe, of Mifsud, whether he was a nothing or whether he actually had valuable information.
And I think your assessment of him changed throughout your course of dealing with him. So when you’re being — and again, I want to be cognizant of your objection, but I’m very curious, if you were asked what his value was at one point in your relationship with him, it may have been very high. But after the totality of your dealing with him, it may have been very low.
So I think it’s very subjective as to what his value was, but yet, there seems to be a charge relating to your assessment of his values?
A Perhaps this is why I needed this type of counsel in the beginning of my interactions with these people, because–
Q I’m not just confused, that is your concern, too? Is that right?
A Yes. Yes, yes, I have to finally admit that.
Mr. Meadows. How did you support yourself? I mean, are you independently wealthy? I’m trying to figure this all out.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Well, I mean, I —
Mr. Meadows. And I’m not trying to get personal. But I mean, if you’re working for a job where you don’t really get paid and you’re traveling all over, I couldn’t have done that. Let’s put it that way. And so —
Mr. Papadopoulos. Well, fortunately, I was paid on the
Carson campaign, a good amount of money. Well, to me, it was a good amount of money. Plus some savings and —
Mr. Meadows. So you had assets.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Assets, yeah, plus family support too. I have a good family and they backed me while I was on this adventure. And they wanted me to succeed so they helped me out.
Mr. Meadows. So have you asked for any of this information, that the videotapes, the things — I have a real concern about Fourth Amendment violations here, just in what I’m hearing. And I guess my concern is, is what I don’t want to do is sweep away Fourth Amendment right concerns. So have you requested this information and been denied this information?
[Witness conferring with counsel.]
Mr. Papadopoulos. I gave up my right to discovery after the guilty plea, and my current counsel has attempted to retrieve this information, but they were denied. And they could probably add more to that than I can.
Mr. Meadows. I think it’s important for the record that this committee look into those documents and request those documents officially. And so that would be my recommendation to both the chairman to do so.
Ms. Polisi. We would really appreciate that.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Say that again?
Ms. Polisi. We would really appreciate that.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q Do you recall Peter Strzok or his name being mentioned
in any of your three meetings with the FBI?
A I don’t recall his name ever coming up.
Q You did indicate that you were asked to wear a wire, correct?
Q And that was by an FBI agent?
A Curtis Heide.
Q At any point, have you actually collected intelligence on anyone on the Trump campaign or within the Trump orbit?
A No. Regarding a wire or me going out into the wilderness and collecting intelligence, absolutely not.
Q So just to be clear you have never, you’ve been tasked, you have been requested to be — to wire yourself to record someone connected to you, and that was Professor Mifsud, but you have never been — have you ever been tasked or requested to be tasked to record anyone within the Trump campaign?
Q Thank you.
BY MR. BAKER:
Q When the agent discussed the idea of wearing a wire with you, was any script about what you were supposed to say or do discussed or provided or?
A As far as I recall, he basically told me we’re going to pay you and you’re going to kind of have a sneak peek of an FBI operation and it’s going to be in London. But I didn’t hear anything else, as far as I recall. But what I do know as a fact is that Joseph Mifsud was in Washington, D.C. speaking at a State Department’s type of conference, I think a week after I was interviewed by the FBI.
So if he was supposed to be talked to, they could have easily talked to him in Washington or detained him or, I assume that’s how it could have happen, but.
Q Thank you.
Mr. Meadows. So as we look at this, I think getting our head around all of this is just — it’s hard to believe that it happened in the United States of America. And I think that that’s the trouble that I have with it. And I’ve seen nothing in the classified setting. I want to — for the record, I purposely have not gone into a classified setting to see things so that I can try to put this piece of the puzzle together. It is my belief that you were taped at some point or another by one of these officials, whether it be Mifsud or whether it be Downer or whether it be Halper. I don’t know which one of them did it, but I believe that certainly it is my strong belief that you were taped. Has anyone in the Department of Justice indicated to you that they may have a tape of a private conversation that you had with anyone of those three individuals?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That I know of personally, or that I’ve seen, I don’t — I do not. No person from the Department of Justice has told me that, no.
Mr. Meadows. I guess if they had that, wouldn’t, before you pleaded guilty, wouldn’t that be something that they should have provided to you or let you know that there was exculpatory evidence out there?
Mr. Papadopoulos. Absolutely. And that would have changed my calculus 100 percent.
Mr. Meadows. Okay. So you, perhaps, would not have pleaded guilty if you knew that there was this tape of a private conversation with one of the three individuals that I just mentioned?
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s correct. I guess, my thought process at the time —
Mr. Meadows. Because it could potentially have been a setup.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Absolutely could have been. And just going back in my memory, I guess the logic behind my guilty plea was that I thought I was really in the middle of a real Russia conspiracy, that this was all real, and that I had to plead out or face life in prison, the way they were making it seem.
And after this conversation and after much information that’s come out, it’s clear that my — I was completely off on my calculus?
BY MR. BAKER:
Q Were you ever actually told that on the extreme end of a sentence you could get life in prison?
A No, but when I was in front of the Magistrate, after I
was arrested in Washington — I guess, Alexandria, or wherever I was, they basically had a 25-year prison sentence they were talking about. About lying to the FBI, 5 years, and on obstruction of justice, 20 years.
So you’re sitting there, I hadn’t slept in, like 30 hours, and I’m hearing these things and it’s just, it was insane.
Q You hadn’t slept in 30 hours?
A Not properly. I had come off a trans-Atlantic flight and I’m sleeping on a concrete mattress with two criminals in a cell so.
Q And this is the time you’re talking about the plea —
A This is during my arrest, my detention, going in front of the magistrate, and then what the prosecutors were talking to the magistrate about. And then, of course, I saw my former counsel in Chicago after that.
Q So you were — benefit for pleading was that there wouldn’t be this extreme sentence that you were made to believe you could get?
Q Were there other charges that they opted not to bring?
A Yeah, I was initially charged with an obstruction charge. And also I don’t know if this was a real charge or if it was a threat of acting as an Israeli agent that I mentioned earlier, but in exchange for that, I was offered a one count of lying to the FBI.
Mr. Breitenbach. Who mentioned the idea of you acting as an Israeli agent?
Mr. Papadopoulos. I believe it was Andrew Goldstein, the prosecutor from the special counsel’s team. During the last meeting I had with them — along — he said something along the lines of this is our last meeting. We have to make a decision, it’s either you’re going to accept one count of lying to the FBI or we’re going to charge you with obstruction. I think he said maybe even multiple counts of lying and acting as a foreign agent of Israel.
Mr. Baker. Did that relate to the $10,000?
Mr. Papadopoulos. To this day, I don’t know what it relates to. I don’t. It could be a combination of many things, but they were very sensitive about that. And actually had notified my previous counsel that it’s up to them, meaning my previous counsel, if we would like that to be in the status of offense or not. But it didn’t seem that they were very enthusiastic about — meaning the special counsel — wasn’t enthusiastic about actually putting that in.
So I don’t understand what that charge was all about, all I know is it came from Andrew Goldstein’s mouth.
That’s his name, right, Andrew Goldstein?
Mr. Meadows. Andrew Wiseman?
Mr. Papadopoulos. No, Goldstein. I dealt with three prosecutors. Jeannie Rhee, Aaron Zelinski, and Adam Goldstein? I believe the name is Adam Goldstein.
Mr. Meadows. Let the record — there is an Andrew Goldstein.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Yeah, it’s Goldstein. It’s not Wiseman. There’s an Andrew Wiseman and then there’s Andrew Goldstein. So it’s Goldstein.
Mr. Baker. It’s Andrew Goldstein that’s reflected on the government’s sentencing memorandum.
Mr. Papadopoulos. That’s him. That’s him, yeah.
BY MR. BREITENBACH:
Q We have a photo here, from, it looks like NBC news, from the caption of Andrew Goldstein. Can I show you this photo and just see if this is the person that’s indicated?
A That’s him.
Q Okay. Thank you.
Actually one more question. Have you ever registered under FARA, Foreign Agent Registration Act?
Q Have you ever been advised whether that was necessary for performing particular activities overseas?
Q Thank you.
Mr. Somers. That’s the end of our hour.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Thank you very much.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. The time is 4:38. We’ll go back on the record.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q Mr. Papadopoulos, I had a couple questions following up from what happened at the end of the last round.
Mr. Meadows was asking you a number of questions about your decision to plead guilty based on what appeared to be a hypothetical set of facts and some hypothetical exculpatory evidence. I’m not sure what actually it was.
And it sounded like, to me, you were saying that if you had known that hypothetical set of facts and that hypothetical exculpatory evidence, you would have decided not to plead guilty. Is that right?
Q I’m sorry?
A Hypothetically, yes.
Q Hypothetically, you would have decided not to?
A If the information that Congressman Meadows referred to is there, then, yes, I agree.
Q Is it your position here today that you did not lie to the FBI during your first interview?
Ms. Polisi. I’m just going to advise my client not to answer that.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Is —
Ms. Polisi. We have the statement of the offense and the guilty plea in front of you, so you can — we stick by that.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. You do. That’s — yes.
Ms. Polisi. Yes.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q So my question is — let’s enter it into the record.
It is? Okay. Great. It’s Exhibit 1.
Do you have a copy of it to look at?
A I pleaded to what I pleaded to. So that’s exactly correct on the record, yes.
Q And you stand by this Exhibit 1, the statement of the offense?
Ms. Polisi. I don’t know how many more questions we’re going to have just having him reverify or having you read —
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. I just want to do it once. He hasn’t done it. You did it.
Ms. Polisi. I’m instructing him not to answer that question.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. You don’t want him — Ms. Polisi. I do not want him to answer that question.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. You don’t want him to say whether he stands —
Ms. Polisi. I do not.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. — by the statement?
Ms. Polisi. I don’t want to engage in this conversation.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q When you spoke to the FBI the first time, did you tell them that you met with Mr. Mifsud and that he communicated to you the information about Hillary Clinton’s emails?
Ms. Polisi. I think we’ve been over this more than three or four times. To the extent you want to know anything outside of what’s in that agreement, he’s happy to answer questions. He’s been very open and honest.
I would direct him not to answer questions directly related to the plea agreement.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. He already has answered questions directly related to the plea agreement.
Ms. Polisi. Yeah. And I’m telling him not to answer these questions.
Mr. Pierce. We’re not going to do this. So you can keep doing this, but he’s not going to answer. There may be further legal proceedings related to this. He’s not going to go down this road today, period.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q Is it your position today that you told the truth in all of your communications to the FBI?
Ms. Polisi. I’m going to instruct him not to answer that question.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q Can you explain to us why you refused to wear a wire?
A I don’t feel comfortable answering that question at this moment. But the fact is I did not wear a wire.
Q And following your decision not to wear the wire, did you call Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Mr. Cosamati?
A Who is Mr. Cosamati?
Q I’m sorry. Marc Kasowitz.
Ms. Polisi. Don’t answer.
Mr. Papadopoulos. I’m not — I don’t want to answer that.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. I’m sorry. You don’t want to answer?
Mr. Papadopoulos. On the advice of my counsel.
Ms. Polisi. I am instructing him not to answer.
Mr. Papadopoulos. On the advice of my counsel, I’m not going to answer that.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q I believe, in a previous round, you described that you had discussions with the FBI about paying them — paying a fine for the $10,000. Is that accurate?
A Can you repeat the question, please.
Did you agree to pay back the government a fine for $10,000?
Ms. Polisi. It’s —
Mr. Papadopoulos. It’s — I believe that’s on the sentencing memorandum what was agreed to between the government and my former lawyers.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q Did you agree to it or just your former lawyers?
Ms. Polisi. The whole line of questioning, again, I’m going to instruct him not to answer these questions. He doesn’t have to answer these. We’re here on a voluntary basis. He doesn’t want to talk about it.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Well, he did say — Ms. Polisi. I don’t want him to talk about it.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. — that in a hypothetical sense he would not have pleaded guilty, so I’m trying to get a little more information about —
Ms. Polisi. And that’s where it ends.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. — what he’s talking about.
Ms. Polisi. I’m instructing him not to answer these questions.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q When the government asked you to pay the $10,000 fine, were they asking for the specific $10,000 that were — that you said previously was in the account in Greece like they wanted that cash, the physical money, or —
Ms. Polisi. I’m going to instruct him not to answer this question, too.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. What’s the basis for that?
Ms. Polisi. The basis that I don’t want him to answer the question.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Just —
Mr. Pierce. He’s here voluntarily. He doesn’t have to answer your questions.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Sure. Sure. He can — he can absolutely refuse to answer questions.
Mr. Pierce. That’s what he’s doing. And we’re just giving you a heads-up. You can keep on doing this, but it’s not helpful. Move on now if you keep doing this.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Well, he’s discussed extensively this $10,000. I’m just trying to clarify what the understanding was with the repayment of the $10,000, which is not actually repayment. It’s a fine. And I’m just trying to clarify that that was a fine and not a repayment.
Ms. Polisi. I think it’s pretty well laid out in the — in all the papers.
BY MS. SACHSMAN GROOMS:
Q Last month, there was a court filing entered by your previous attorney, sentencing memorandum, I think it’s Exhibit 2. It states, and I quote, While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.
This is around the March 31, 2016, meeting.
A That was at the March 31 meeting.
Q Did that occur?
Q Mr. Trump nodded with approval?
A Nodded, which, when somebody nods, you usually think they’re thinking or it’s some sort of tacit approval, yes.
Q And it was your appearance — it was your impression that Mr. Sessions also appeared to like the idea?
Q Do you recall what he said exactly?
A At this moment, I can’t recall exactly what he said. I just — whatever he did, I felt that he was enthusiastic, and that’s why he continued to pursue this avenue.
Q This document described that you were giddy. It said, George’s giddiness over Mr. Trump’s recognition was prominent during the days that followed.
Were you giddy?
A I think those are my lawyer’s words, not mine. I was happy to see that there might have been some tacit approval of what I was attempting to do. So if you call that giddy, then, yes, I was giddy.
Q And did you share your happiness about the tacit approval from Mr. Trump with your actions with anybody? Did you talk to anyone about that?
A Talk to who about that?
A Well, basically, the senior officials of the campaign
were at that meeting, from Corey Lewandowski to Michael Glassner, Hope Hicks. So I’m pretty sure — assuming that they had gone to the restroom while I was talking, I’m pretty sure everyone who was a senior level official in the campaign heard me very clear on what I was talking about on March 31.
Following the meeting, did you talk to anyone else outside the campaign about how you had this idea and it was an idea that you thought the President liked and you were moving forward with it?
A I can’t remember if I specifically told Joseph Mifsud, who was obviously my point man, about this potential meeting, if — that Trump himself liked it or not. But I have — clearly was trying to coordinate this summit between Putin and Trump using what I thought were Joseph Mifsud’s extensive contacts to Russia.
Did you — sometimes when people are excited about things, they share them with friends. Did you tell any friends?
A I don’t remember that I was talking to friends about what I was doing on official campaign business, no.
Q You explained previously that Mr. — that Professor Mifsud had a connection to and introduced you to Ivan Timofeev.
Is that right?
A Via email, yes.
Q And did he explain at the time what the purpose of that introduction was?
A I assume he did. I just can’t remember exactly the language, the specific language of the introduction. But I have those emails and am more than happy to share that — those interactions with the committee.
Q Was this in — yes. Thank you very much. And we’d appreciate that.
Was that interaction as part of the attempt to get the President’s meeting with Mr. Putin?
A I assume that’s what it was about.
Q Did you always communicate with Mr. Timofeev over email, or did you ever speak to him?
A It was predominantly over email, and then I believe we had a couple Skype calls and probably a couple Facebook messages. But I never met him face-to-face, in person.
Q Do you remember what the content of those discussions were over email?
A Something along the lines of, How can we set up this meeting between Trump and Putin? And I think I — as I mentioned earlier, I forwarded an email from him to Paul Manafort about some signature that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wanted to see if this was a real proposal. And as we all know, now, that Paul Manafort — I don’t even think he responded to me.
Q And at the time, Mr. Timofeev was the director of programs with the Russian International Affairs Council. Is that right?
A That’s my understanding, yes.
Q Why did you think at the time that he was talking to
Russian officials in the Russian Government?
A If my memory serves me well, I think in some emails he stated that he could introduce me to some people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But like I said, I’ll present — I could give you those emails. I can’t go in my memory and try and recite what I wrote or he wrote to me 2 years ago. That’s why I’m more than happy to provide those to you.
Q But he was representing to you, generally speaking, in a number of those emails that he was able to communicate with the Russian Government in order to set up this meeting, right?
A That’s my understanding, yes.
Q And you believed him at the time?
A I had no reason not to.
Q So is it fair to say that at the time that you were speaking to him, you believed that he was well connected within the Russian Government?
A At the time, I knew that he was working at RIAC and that he could potentially be this intermediary for this potential summit between Trump and Putin or any campaign trip to Russia that we might have done.
Q Did Mr. Timofeev ever introduce you to any Russian nationals?
A I — as I’ve stated, I never met Timofeev in my life face-to-face, so I’m just trying to go back in my memory to see if he actually copied any Russian nationals on an email. I don’t recall that. But as I stated, I’m more than happy to share all communication I have with this person.
Q Great. Thank you.
Q Do you recall him introducing you to any other people in the emails or when you spoke to him by phone?
A I — I don’t recall. But they — but the emails should be in our possession, and we’re more than happy to provide them.
Q And at the time you were communicating with Mr. Timofeev about scheduling the Trump-Putin meeting, you were then relaying those communications back to the Trump campaign. Is that right?
A As far as I remember, I kept the campaign fully aware of what I was attempting to achieve, and that was set up this potential meeting between Trump and Putin or have some campaign officials go to Europe or Russia.
Q And at any time, did someone tell you to stop?
A I don’t remember an explicit stop, but there was a moment where I learned, I guess, due to common sense, that this wasn’t something that the campaign wanted to pursue. But perhaps somebody did tell me to stop. I just can’t remember off the top of my head right now.
Q And I’m trying to get a sense of how you understood
through your common sense that the campaign wanted you to stop and when that was.
The RNC convention was in July of 2016. Do you remember whether you thought you were still supposed to be moving forward with the Trump-Putin meeting at that point?
A By that time, I don’t think so. Actually, quite frankly, I was — I think I had been shut down a month before that. I’m not sure, though.
As I said, these are all in emails, and we’re more than happy to share them with you. So I can’t — I just can’t go and jog my memory about specific months from 2 years ago. So I don’t want to comment further, but I’m more than happy to share those emails with the committee.
Q And when you stopped trying to set up the meeting between the candidate and Mr. Putin, was — I understand at some point you shifted over to trying to go schedule a meeting yourself or with other campaign officials. Is that right?
A There was a moment where that was an idea. I don’t remember when that was happening. But certainly, there was an idea that either I floated or somebody floated that we might be interested in going abroad to meet officials. But then, of course, that never happened.
Q Do you remember if that idea came up?
A I mean, the team as a whole never went abroad. Of course, I was abroad meeting with officials, but there was no organized trip of the campaign going abroad that I was a part of.
Q Do you remember if the discussion about the team from the campaign meeting with Russian officials abroad happened shortly after the decision to not send the President to go meet with Russian officials?
A I don’t know off the top of my head.
Q And who did you discuss with at the campaign the idea of campaign officials going to go meet with Russian officials abroad?
A I believe that there was a short period in which Sam Clovis, myself, and Walid Phares were discussing this potential trip. There could have been others copied on an email, something like that. But that’s what I remember at this moment.
Q And I believe you said earlier that the reason
Mr. Clovis didn’t do it was that he was busy. Is that right?
A That was my understanding, yes.
Q What about the other individual? Do you remember why he wasn’t involved, ultimately, in doing it?
A I’m not — I can’t remember, actually. I just know that we never went together.
Q I’m going to switch gears to the April 2016 Mayflower speech.
Q You already explained that you were there.
A Where? Where? Where?
Q At — you went to the speech.
A No, I wasn’t.
Q Oh, you didn’t.
A No. No. And I want the record to state that I was not at that meeting. I was — I think I was in London at the time. So I just want to make sure that’s clear.
I was communicating from London, or wherever I was, with Stephen Miller and providing edits to this speech via email, but I wasn’t at the actual event in Washington, D.C. I think I received a late invite. I can’t remember, but I just wasn’t there. That’s all I know.
Q Great. Thanks.
So following — sorry.
Q Are you okay?
Following the Mayflower speech that same day, you sent an email to Mr. Timofeev saying that’s the signal to meet. Can you explain what you were talking about?
A At that point, if I’m recalling exactly what my mind-set was, I think I was just acting a little rogue, just to be quite frank. I wasn’t following instructions of the campaign about that.
No one from the campaign, as far as I remember, told me, Go tell — see our Russia contacts. That was just kind of me trying to make a name for myself and make sure that I still have this person, Ivan, I guess a part of what I was trying to accomplish, but — does that make sense?
It was just me talking up to him on my own, as far as I remember. I don’t think anyone from the campaign instructed me to tell Ivan this is a signal to meet, if that makes sense.
Q Is there something that Mr. Trump said during the speech that you thought signaled — that would be the signal to meet, essentially?
A I really can’t remember exactly what Mr. Trump said during that speech, but I’m more than happy to review it and come back to you.
Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Okay. Thank you very much.
That’s all we have for today.
Mr. Papadopoulos. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 5:01 p.m., the interview was concluded.]
Certificate of Deponent/Interviewee
I have read the foregoing ____ pages, which contain the correct transcript of the answers made by me to the questions therein recorded.