Chicagoan who started Russia investigation sought to ‘monetize’ his role

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Foreign policy advisor to US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos leave the US District Courts after his sentencing in Washington, DC on September 7, 2018. – Papadopoulos was jailed for 14 days for lying to FBI agents over contacts with Russians that set off a federal probe into possible collusion with Moscow. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Chicagoan whose conversation with an Australian diplomat touched-off the Russia investigation was caught on a 2016 recording hypothesizing ways to monetize his foreign contacts and role with President Donald Trump’s campaign. That’s according to a conversation memorialized deep into Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ examination of the origins of the Russia investigation.

George Papadopoulos was barely a decade out of DePaul University when he landed a spot on the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team. The Inspector General’s report said in October 2016 Papadopoulos was consensually recorded talking about his future.

“I’m going [to] monetize it, but I have to be an idiot not to monetize it,” Papadopoulos was quoted as saying. “Even if [Trump] loses. If anything, I feel like if he loses probably could be better for my personal business because if he wins I’m going to be in some bureaucracy I can’t do jack… you know?”

The Inspector General’s report said Papadopoulos discussed making a list of all of his connections and contacts after the election: “He observed that what he had to ‘sell his access,’ and ‘that’s what people pay millions of dollars for every year.  It’s the cleanest job.’”

Papadopoulos served a brief time in federal prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators. However, he has maintained that he is a victim of the so-called “deep state,” a term for government actors who are alleged to be out to damage Trump. He’s now running for congress in California.

The Inspector General’s report determined the FBI acted appropriately in opening the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether anyone from the Trump campaign participated.  However, the IG found agents and attorneys made significant errors and omissions in the way they sought court approval for wiretaps.

Papadopoulos told Fox News he believed those mistakes led to “essentially an electronic government-supported break-in of the Trump campaign and it makes Watergate look like small potatoes.”

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