CHICAGO — A Chicagoan received special mention in special counsel Robert Mueller's report. The 400-plus page report also revealed details about a Russian hack of Illinois’ election database.
George Papadopoulos worked for the Trump campaign for just six months, but his role in the Russia probe covers 15 pages of the Mueller report.
Papadopoulos tried and failed to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign. The Trump team, worried about looking too cozy with Putin, said “no.”
But the special counsel’s report said Papadopoulos was told in the fall of 2016 by a shadowy professor with ties to Russia “that the Russian government had obtained ‘dirt’ on candidate Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.”
Papadopoulos bragged about the info to representatives of two other foreign governments.
But the special counsel’s report said investigators found “no documentary evidence…that Papadopoulos shared this information with the Campaign.”
Like others in Trump’s orbit, it wasn’t the conduct but lying that got the Niles West High School and DePaul University grad in trouble.
Papadopoulos told a federal judge he was “deeply embarrassed” and “ashamed.” He was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
That day Trump took to Twitter to mock the sentence as a sign there was no substance to the special counsel’s probe.
“I never thought in my life it would happen to me or people working on a presidential campaign or transition team like I was, doing their best to help their country,” Papadopoulos said at the time.
Since he got out of prison, Papadopoulos has gone on the offensive. He slammed the investigation and accusing the Obama administration of spying on him.
But the special counsel’s report said he also tried to cash in on a Russian contact he made during the campaign.
The report said just after the election, Papadopoulos met at Trump Tower in Chicago with the head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce who wanted to “discuss business opportunities, including potential work with Russian billionaires who are not under sanctions.”
But the Mueller report said the man from the Russian-American chamber lost interest when it was clear Papadopoulos only wanted to advance his own private business dealings and wasn’t a conduit to the Trump administration.
The Mueller reports doesn’t shed much new light on the previously reported Russian hack of the Illinois State Board of Election’s computer system the summer before the election. It merely states Russian intelligence “gained access to a database containing information on millions of registered Illinois voters and extracted data related to thousands of U.S. voters before the malicious activity was identified.”
Then and now elections officials point out that computer hack gave access to voter information but did “not” change actual votes.
With the White House, congress and much of the nation focused on the question of “campaign collusion” over the last few years some fear not have has been to address the bigger issue: stopping the Russians from interfering in our elections.