WASHINGTON — Buried in the final paragraph of a controversial memo about the Russia investigation is confirmation that the probe began with a Chicagoan who became a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump.
George Papadopoulos, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI, is now cooperating with the investigation. The Republican memo from the House Intelligence Committee released Friday states: “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016.”
Some Republicans have previously claimed the FBI’s investigation originated with an anti-Trump dossier written by Christopher Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee.
The New York Times reported in December that it was during a night of boozing and bragging in May of 2016 that Papadopoulos told a top diplomat from Australia that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. Three weeks earlier, Papadopoulos had been told that Russian officials had thoughts of emails that would embarrass Clinton, according to the New York Times.
It’s widely believed the emails were stolen by Russian operatives during a hack of DNC computers. Two months after boasting in the bar, the emails began leaking online. That’s when Australian officials reportedly passed on the information about the conversation with Papadopoulos to their American counterparts.