Following the revelation that George Papadopoulos was lured to London by an FBI informant as part of a counterintelligence operation, the former Trump campaign adviser has been reflecting on several encounters he had during the 2016 campaign - two of which his wife says were "highly suspicious," reports Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller.
Papadopoulos' wife of three months, Simona Mangiante - an Italian national and former attorney in the European Parliament, told The Caller about an encounter George had with Belarusian-American businessman and onetime Russian government translator Sergei Millian, a central figure in the infamous Steele Dossier known as "Source D" and "Source E" whose whereabouts are unknown.
While it was previously reported in the New York Times that Millian approached Papadopoulos over LinkedIn "out of the blue" during the summer of 2016 to propose that he and Papadopoulos "form an energy-related business that would be financed by influential Russian billionaires," Simona tells the Daily Caller that Millian offered him $30,000 per month "while he worked inside the Trump administration."
Mr. Millian proposed that he and Mr. Papadopoulos form an energy-related business that would be financed by Russian billionaires “who are not under sanctions” and would “open all doors for us” at “any level all the way to the top.”
One billionaire, he said, wanted to explore the idea of opening a Trump-branded hotel in Moscow. “I know the president will distance himself from business, but his children might be interested,” he wrote. -NYT
Papadopoulos declined the offer.
“It looks to be one among a series of attempts to entrap George. The question today to me [is whether] these people are simply shady businessmen or are they part of a greater attempt to entrap George in illegal activity,” Mangiante, a former attorney in the European Parliament, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. -Daily Caller
For the sake of posterity it should be noted that some have speculated (and still do) that Papadopoulos was a plant inside the Trump campaign, which would suggest he was in on the plan when he met with Millian and Cambridge professor Stefan Halper - and that his attorney wife of three months emerged from the shadows with a cover story.
For one such analysis, click the tweet below and scroll down:
1. I'm now convinced that Papadopoulos may be part of the Obama/Clinton gang & that his 'plea deal' with the Special Counsel, is as dodgy as hell.— REX (@_ImperatorRex_) June 3, 2018
Here's why. https://t.co/dED8wqJhPi
According to The Caller, Papadopoulos and Millian first met around the same time that the FBI officially opened its counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign, code-named "Crossfire Hurricane" - based on information given to US Intelligence through former Australian high commissioner to the U.K., Alexander Downer - who said Papadopoulos "drunkenly admitted" that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos was originally told of the alleged Russian plot two weeks earlier on April 26, by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (missing since October 2017) - whose organization George Papadopoulos met his wife through.
A close associate of Mifsud, Gianni Pittella, has been described by EU parliament as a "reliable ally" to George Soros.
As The Caller notes, "Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to lying to the FBI during a January 2017 interview about the timing of his contacts with Mifsud, a Maltese professor and former diplomat. The pair met several times during the campaign."
Millian and the Dossier
Among the various claims in the dossier - which is comprised of a series of memos, Millian was allegedly the source of the "pissgate" allegation that Russia was blackmailing Donald Trump with evidence that he hired prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton to urinate on a bed used by the Obamas. Millian also told an associate that Russia was feeding Trump damaging information on Hillary Clinton, which his associate then reportedly told Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy who assembled the dossier.
Another dossier memo cites Millian as "Source E" who reportedly said "that there was a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership."
“Source E,” who claimed to have contacts in the Trump campaign, said that the operation was managed by Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, using Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser, as a conduit to the Kremlin. The source also claimed that “the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform.” (RELATED: Kremlin Crony Met With Dossier Source At Russian Expo)
Both Page and Manafort have denied ever speaking to each other. Page vehemently denies allegations about him in the dossier. He has also said he had one or two brief interactions with Papadopoulos while on the campaign. -Daily Caller
The Belarus born Millian, 39, studied to be a military translator according to the Washington Post, citing a Russian-language version of his biography posted to the Russian American Chamber of Commerce's website.
In the early 2000s he moved to Atlanta where he opened a translation business serving the city's large Russian-speaking community, according to a résumé posted online. One his clients was listed as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Millian denies having provided information to Christopher Steele - however he did not deny that his comments may have been passed to the former MI6 operative by an associate.
Millian has told TheDCNF that he was not present in Moscow for the 2013 incident discussed by “Source D.”
“It’s all garbage news,” he told TheDCNF in March, adding that he “was not in Moscow” during Trump’s 2013 trip.
Millian’s credibility has been called into question by some Trump associates, including longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen has called Millian a “phony” who has falsely claimed to have links to Trump’s real estate business.
Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition research firm that hired Steele, has also reportedly expressed reservations about Millian’s link to the dossier.
“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” reads a passage from “Russian Roulette,” a recent book written by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, both of whom met with Simpson and Steele during the campaign. -Daily Caller
Here is Millian explaining his side of things in a June 2017 interview:
The second "highly suspicious" encounter Mangiante described was with an Israeli national on the Greek island of Mykonos. It is unclear if this is related to her claim that special counsel Robert Mueller was threatening to charge Papadopoulos as an unregistered agent of Israel - which she says is the reason he pleaded guilty in the probe.
She said an Israeli national flew to Mykonos, the Greek island, to meet Papadopoulos last summer. There, the man invited Papadopoulos to Cyprus and Israel to discuss business. He offered Papadopoulos money, but he refused because he suspected entrapment, said Mangiante, who had just met Papadopoulos weeks before the incident.
Mangiante referenced the encounter in an interview Wednesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, though without identifying the man. TheDCNF was unable to reach the Israeli for comment and is withholding his name since he has not been previously linked to Papadopoulos. -Daily Caller
And so, it appears that after some reflection after Stefan Halper was outed as an FBI spy - George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona say they've come to realize that several contacts George had prior to the 2016 US election were "highly suspicious," and appear to have been attempts to entrap the former Trump campaign aide. Or, as some have suggested, Papadopoulos knowingly participated in Operation Crossfire Hurricane and this is all an elaborate cover story.
Perhaps we will find out soon enough.