“Young George” Papadopoulos Wants “Mercy and Compassion” (from Trump) for Something He Believes Is Treason

George Papadopoulos submitted his sentencing memo last night. Rather than writing an honest sentencing memo, he’s still working with co-conspirators, in this case, in hopes of getting a pardon from Trump. Reading it, I’d be shocked if the government doesn’t charge him as a knowing participant whenever they drop the conspiracy indictment.

Papadopoulos claims he told two other countries Russia was dealing stolen emails, but not his bosses

The most important sentences in the sentencing memo — which have no purpose in an actual sentencing memo — are his revelations that he kept denying that he had told the campaign that Russia was planning on releasing emails stolen from Hillary.

He told the agents he was unaware of anyone in the campaign knowing of the stolen Hillary Clinton emails prior to the emails being publicly released.

[snip]

If investigators wished to know what George did with the information from Professor Mifsud, they could have asked George during his interview. Indeed, they did ask if George provided the information to the campaign and George denied ever doing so. In his later proffer sessions, George reiterated that he does not recall ever passing the information along to the campaign.

The introduction to the second of these mentions in fact serves no other purpose than to provide an excuse to repeat, again, in case Trump missed it the first time, that Papadopoulos lied and continued to lie about telling the campaign about the emails.

Rick Gates (among others) has surely told the FBI this is a lie, but Papadopolous repeats the lies for Trump’s benefit.

And Papadopoulos makes this claim in spite of the fact that he casually told Alexander Downer about Russia dealing stolen emails and, in the memo, he admits he also told the Greek Foreign Minister.

He detailed a meeting in late May 2016 where he revealed to the Greek Foreign Minister that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. He explained that this meeting took place days before President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece to meet with Greek officials.

So for the entire month of May, Papadopoulos was telling complete strangers about Russia dealing stolen Hillary emails. And yet, even though he professes to have “unbridled loyalty” to the Trump campaign, at a time he was thrilled that “his career [was] skyrocketing to unimaginable heights” and “gidd[y] over Mr. Trump’s recognition,” he didn’t tell any of those people on the campaign with whom he was currying favor.

Again, the notice that he always denied telling the campaign about Russia’s offer of stolen emails has no purpose in a sentencing memo designed as a sentencing memo. The FBI knows he continued to claim he didn’t tell the campaign. The judge — the one legally entrusted to sentence Papadopolous, anyway — has no need to know it. Trump, on the other hand, surely wants to know it.

Ten pages, of which three are drivel

And Trump is presumably the only audience Papadopolous cares about with this memo, or he would have spent more time talking about the case (indeed, he would have made an effort to be honest) and less time spouting drivel. Much of the first three pages, for example, lead up to a request for probation served with platitudes like this:

It is essential that a court’s sentencing decision be informed and guided by the fundamental doctrines of mercy and compassion. See United States v. Blarek, 7 F.Supp.2d 192, 210 (E.D.N.Y. 1998). While these principles are not specifically delineated as rationales for sentencing, they are evidenced by the federal sentencing statute’s mandate that the court impose the lowest possible punishment to accomplish the goals of sentencing.

Papadopoulos does this without making an honest case about his conduct, but I guess it makes sense to start pitching Trump with a request for mercy.

Even Papadopoulos’ narrative about Sergei Millian is (necessarily) bogus

A key part of Papadopoulos’ bogus narrative is that he lied about Mifsud, in part, because FBI Agents started his interview by telling him they wanted to ask him some questions about Sergei Millian (even while making it clear that the FBI correctly linked his relationship with Millian with his earlier interactions with Mifsud).

The agents asked George to accompany them to their office to answer a “couple questions” regarding “a guy in New York that you might know[,] [t]hat has recently been in the news.” George thought the agents wanted to ask him about Russian businessman Sergei Millian. Wanting clarification, he asked the agents, “…just so I understand, I’m going there to answer questions about this person who I think you’re talking about.” The agents assured George that the topic of discussion was Mr. Millian who had been trending in the national media.

[snip]

The FBI agent confirmed that the Sergei Millian inquiry was just a ruse to get him in a room when he told George that:

… the reason we wanted to pull you in today and have that conversation because we wanted to know to the extent of your knowledge being an insider inside that small group of people that were policy advisors who, if anybody, has that connection with Russia and what, what sort of connections there were.

For the next two hours, George answered questions about Professor Mifsud, Olga, Carter Page, Sergei Millian and the “Trump Dossier,” and George’s interactions with other people working on the campaign.

He claims — impossibly — that he answered their questions about Millian honestly.

Seemingly as promised, the agents began their questioning about George’s relationship with Sergei Millian. George knew Mr. Millian only as a businessman pitching an opportunity to George in his personal capacity. The agents asked how they first met, what they discussed, how often they talked or met in person, if George knew whether Mr. Millian was connected to Russia or a foreign intelligence service, and who else on Mr. Trump’s campaign may have been in contact with Mr. Millian. George answered their questions honestly.

I can say with confidence that he didn’t answer them truthfully, first of all, because Millian’s business pitch was not limited to “his personal capacity.” As Simona blabbed to the press, Millian had already tied financial offers to Papadopoulos’ access to Trump.

According to Simona Mangiante, whose husband George Papadopoulos briefly served on the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor, Millian offered Papadopoulos a $30,000 monthly retainer on the condition he remain attached to the campaign. Papadopoulos declined, she said.

Millian wanted to pay Papadopoulos money as one entree into the Trump Administration.

More importantly, Papadopoulos couldn’t have answered truthfully because, in both his interviews with the FBI, Papadopoulos hid the conversation he had on Facebook with Ivan Timofeev about Millian, something the FBI noted on his arrest affidavit.

“If you know any background of him that is noteworthy before I see him, kindly send my way.”

Indeed, after his second interview, Papadopoulos deleted his Facebook account, in an apparent attempt to hide his relationship with Timofeev entirely, something he doesn’t mention at all in the sentencing memo.

The somersaults about Papadopoulos’ motive

The sentencing memo is perhaps most interesting in its presentation of Papadopoulos’ motive, in which he continues the line Simona has been feeding to the press that he didn’t have corrupt motive in lying to the FBI. Remember that one of the few things he told Stefan Halper in September 2016 is that he believed being involved in the hack targeting Hillary amounted to treason (I don’t agree). If that’s remotely true, when the FBI first revealed they knew he had been told about the emails, he would have been worried about going to prison for a very long time (something he may yet manage).

Instead of admitting that, Papadopoulos describes telling the lies about Mifsud because he was trying to “distance” those activities from Trump.

George found himself personally conflicted during the interrogation as he felt obligated to assist the FBI but also wanted to distance himself and his work on the Trump campaign from that investigation.

[snip]

In his answers, George falsely distanced his interactions with these players from his campaign work.

The problem with this claim is that both before and after they asked about Mifsud, he told the FBI he was concerned about how talking to them would jeopardize his chances of getting a job with Trump.

En route to the FBI office, George voiced concern about the repercussions of his cooperation ever becoming public because the Wall Street Journal had just reported that Sergei Millian was a key source in the “Trump Dossier” controversy. George explained that he was in discussions with senior Trump administration officials about a position and the last thing he wanted was “something like this” casting the administration in a bad light.

[snip]

At one point, George told the agents that he did not want to “get too in-depth” because he did not know what it would mean for his professional future. He told the agents he was “trying to help the country and you guys, but I don’t want to jeopardize my career.”

In the motive section of the memo, Papadopolous pitches this as the “personal reason” of getting a job. But in the intro, Papadopoulos is more honest, including that detail but also admitting he lied because of “loyalty to his master.”

The Government’s claim, however, that Mr. Papadopoulos intended that his false statements harm the investigation is speculative and contrary to the evidence. His motives for lying to the FBI were wrongheaded indeed but far from the sinister spin the Government suggests. Caught off-guard by an impromptu interrogation, Mr. Papadopoulos misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master. [my emphasis]

The phrase suggests to Trump that he feels his lies have not been rewarded (yet), even while making it clear that (contrary to the way he spins it in this memo) he was doing it to protect Trump.

There are, as I’ll note in a follow-up, several interesting details (presumably offered to tell his co-conspirators what damaging information he did provide to the government) that only make it clearer that Papadopoulos was, and knows he was, a participant in the conspiracy.

But the overall purpose of this sentencing memo is to communicate to Trump that he’s still a loyal member of the conspiracy.

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

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51 replies
  1. Avattoir says:

    He looked me over
    And I guess he thought
    ‘Here’s a doofus
    I have to sell in my blustery way
    As advising us’
    He said, Don’t I know you
    From some meeting with Mike Flynn?
    I said, Who am I
    To stand up to Big Wind?

    I know what I saw:
    He nodded his head
    Was it against the law?
    That’s a question I kept
    From ever being said

    He said, There’s something about you
    That smells to me like collusion
    He’s the kind of a man
    Who says things that
    Stir up confusion
    I said, Are you asking me
    To help you commit treason?
    He said, Who am I
    To go against Putin?

    I know what I saw:
    He nodded his head
    Was it against the law?
    That’s a question I kept
    From ever being said.

      • Greenhouse says:

        By the by, simon and dylan were great friends (which is saying a lot), hence “only living boy in new york”. All good!

    • Kick the darkness says:

      Outstanding.  Well done.  Randy Rainbow?  Are you out there Randy?

      Apologies in advance-but once these things get into my head they have to come out.

      Trump looks down and spits on the ground.

      Every time my name gets mentioned.

      It was all going great.

      Till the FBI met me at the gate.

      And they started the interrogation.

      Well I was on my way

      Now guess as to where I’m going.

      I was on my way

      Now I’m likely doing some time.

      It seems so unfair.

      And goodbye to Olga

      We’ll always have Sochi.

      See Mifsud told me

      He had all of these emails.

      Mifsud told me

      He had all of these emails.

      It’s against the law.

      What Bob Mueller saw.

      It was against the law.

      What Bob Mueller saw.

      It was against the law.

      See Mifsud told me

      He had all of these emails.

      • Tracy says:

        Such wonderful creativity on here, bravo to all the artists!

        And thanks for helping us keep it light!… :-D

  2. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Yeah, the feeling I got from it wasn’t “obsequiousness to the judge” so much as “obsequiousness to the narcissist who pardoning people because it’s a mostly uncheckable power.” Along with a little dig at Beauregard for the benefit of someone already pissed off with him.

  3. Erin McJ says:

    Well observed.

    On a separate note, regarding obstruction. Not to argue that it is the only criminal game here, but surely it is part of what’s being considered – how do you decide when to lay out any such charges, when each pardon dangled looks (to this layperson, at least) to be part of that case?

    • Avattoir says:

      This is actually worth expanding on.

      My take on what fearless leader has been saying (repeatedly, consistently, forcefully) is that we should expect that Team Mueller will USE the kinds of things Trump & allies have been doing that Trump & allies keep trying to push off the board & onto another board labelled “obstruction”, as evidence in aid of proving confraudUS & the related conspiracies Mueller has been charging.

      So let’s consider a very simple example:

      Nighttime, dark out, patrol cops spot someone wielding something that looks consistent with a jimmy tool up against the driver’s door of a car doing something that looks consistent with trying to slip that thing down the outside of the window.

      As the cop car approaches, the cops hit full lights and briefly sound the patrol car alarm we know – classic Law & Order scene 1.

      Immediately the person by the car acts startled and runs off. Cops pursue – these days, more likely draw weapons & yell ‘Stop’; but suspect – he’s now a suspect – has got far enough away from the car to ditch the thing.

      On arresting the suspect, patrol cops ‘secure the area’ & search for whatever TF is was suspect might have been holding & ditched. Sure enuf, they find something that could be used to jimmy a car door; indeed, since that describes a lot of things, they found SEVERAL candidates for it.

      As they walk back to the patrol car, holding the thing(s), suspect again tries to run. Also unsuccessfully. And gives a fair shot at resisting arrest (and lives to tell the tale).

      So, what all crimes do we have here? At least one, possibly as many as 3 efforts to obstruct.

      But that same efforts to escape and obstruct, or those efforts, whether considered in isolation or in combination, might also be admitted into evidence at trial to prove a charge of attempted larceny – as showing the defendant’s being conscious of his guilt on trying to break into the car.

      Similarly, firing Comey, threatening to fire Sessions, threatening to fire Rosenstein, actively hounding all the senior FBI types who Comey copied with his notes on is dealings with Trump, and of course extending offers of pardon or commutation to witnesses, whether covertly or, as here, publicly, much of all that actually effected or rationalized in tweets … all of those could be considered eligible for admission into evidence as bearing on consciousness of being guilty of confraudUS or other conspiracy that forms part of or is complementary to confraudUS.

      • bmaz says:

        Reader’s Digest version: circumstantial evidence can demonstrate mental state, and there is a boatload of it with Trump.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Thanks to both of you and to fearless leader.  Clarity of thought and bs-free explanations are such great gifts these days.

  4. orionATL says:

    there seems something obliviously, insanely unrealistic about what poor p. is doing. i’m reminded of carter page’s otherworldly state of mind.

    or if rational, papadopoulos seems to be trying to publicly atone to trump for his previous unfaithfulness in hopes of being rewarded with a pardon.

    will a crueler reality (one with much time for reflection) intrude on papadopoulos’ state of mind at sentencing? judges, i’ve read, appreciate a show of contrition rather than a “it was all their fault” plea.

    will trump treat his groveling young political buckeroo kindly?

    playing the fantasy sentencing game.

  5. jharp says:

    So why the light sentence recommendation?

    Seems to me that Papadopoulus is continuing the conspiracy to protect Trump’s crimes from being uncovered.

      • Frank Probst says:

        It’s the bare minimum under the guidelines, though, isn’t it?  My recollection is that it’s anywhere from probation to 6 months in prison.  This idiot wasted a lot of people’s time, pleaded out, and is now…wasting a lot of people’s time again.  “The lowest possible punishment to accomplish the goals of sentencing” would be more than just probation for this jackass, I would think.  And I don’t see this guy getting a pardon.  I’m not sure who thinks that begging Trump for a pardon is a good idea, but I doubt this guy is even on his radar anymore.

        • bmaz says:

          More complicated than that. It is not the bare minimum, it is simply the normal and predictable range.

          As to the pardon, think I am inclined to agree. I think GP has actually played himself out of a pardon instead of into one. But, who knows, Trump is a goofy idiot.

  6. TheraP says:

    Isn’t “I don’t want to jeopardize my career” a forward-leaning version of “I was only following orders”?

    It occurs to me that the Trumpian theme song of “No Collusion.  No Collusion.  No Collusion” is a Call.* Not simply a Trump Defense.  But also an order:  A reminder.

    The Response?  “Omertà! Omertà! Omertà”

    (which also constitutes a call for a pardon)

     

    * Call & Response: For those who may have missed it, EW did a blog using “call” and “response” in terms of what Trump owes Putin (or the reverse).

  7. orionATL says:

    it seems to me that in their behavior after reaching plea bargins with the office of special counsel, both george papadopoulos and mike flynn (plus acting thru his son) have gone out of their way to stick their fingers in the osc prosecutor’s eyes. personally, i would not do this; it might prove bad for liberty and happiness.

    i would think the osc has more than a litttle intefest in maintaing discipline and sincere contrition in those with whom it has negotiated plea agreements. i will be dissappointed not to see some penalty imposed on mssrs p. and f. for their public flagrance. are their capers and subsequent confessions folderol, or serious breeches of law?

    among others watching this drama will be those trying to guess government intent regarding the heretofore lightly regulated fara statute. they will be watching with intense personal interest.

  8. Danno says:

    Great stuff, as always, Marcy.

    Now, can anyone explain why Trump would want a meeting with Putin during the election campaign.

    Firstly, it would have placed Trump et al’s relationships with Russia under blazing flood lights that really only began to shine after the election.

    Second, even if there were countless up-sides to such a meeting, surely it would have been much easier to go through the Russian embassy.

  9. AA Bender says:

    Not one to typically post, I thought the Papa filing worthy of comment. Papa’s counsel seem as clueless as Papa and his wife, and their drafting lurches at times into the realm of inadvertent comedy.

    E.G.

    Page 2: “Caught off guard by an impromptu interrogation, Mr. Papadapolous misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and perhaps a misguided loyalty to his master. ”

    (So if he had time to prepare, he would have lied better?? Does his own counsel think he is a dog? Trump, I am sure, likes being referred to as a ‘master’.)

    Page 4: “George devoted his early career to the study of Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, and Greece.” He became somewhat of an aficionado of this field, authoring papers and lecturing on this topic.

    (Does his own counsel know that this makes Papa look like a blowhard dilettante or do they just not know what ‘aficionado’ means? Hint: it comes from the Spanish word for ‘amateur’.)

    Page 10: “Out of loyalty to the new president and a desire to be part of the new administration he hoisted himself on his own petard.”

    (Does Papa’s legal counsel really not know the origin of that last phrase? Yes, the phrase is used in Hamlet, and petard is sometimes thought of as an explosive, but someone drafting a legal petition should know that petard derives from the Latin pedere or ‘to break wind’. The visual of Papa ‘being hoist on his own petard’ during his interrogation is quite amusing…but I’m sure that wasn’t the effect his counsel were going for…)

    • Avattoir says:

      To narrate your take on the Papadopoulos sentencing memo, you might consider enlisting the dulcet tones of a TRUE “master” – John Lithgow.

  10. Yohei72 says:

    @AA Bender – Not to mention that your first quote there is grammatically nonsensical, as are some of the other sentences Marcy quotes. Even more than their mendacity and malice, the drool-cup-level incompetence of so many of the figures in this whole saga constantly astonishes me.

  11. Yohei72 says:

    I can’t let any discussion of Papadopoulos go by without referencing Stephen Colbert’s titles for him as relayed in his “Late Show” opening monologues:

    “Former Trump foreign policy advisor and groomsman who tries to sell your Ecstasy at the reception George Papadopoulos…”

    “Former Trump foreign policy advisor and limo driver who won’t stop asking if you ‘party’ George Papadopoulos…”

      • Yohei72 says:

        A recent favorite was when he accompanied a photo of a scowling Brennan with “Former CIA director and father-in-law watching you try to use jumper cables John Brennan…”

        • Tracy says:

          Hilarious! Do you store these all in your brain? Great stuff… There are so many funny things Colbert does but this is one of the truly best.

  12. Doctor My Eyes says:

    I’ve been thinking on something that may be pertinent here.  I wonder if anyone else watched Julian Assange’s extended interview on some British talk show, obviously from years ago.  A cursory search doesn’t turn it up, and I doubt many could stomach watching it these days anyway. One aspect of it has really stuck with it.  He discussed the purpose of wikileaks (um, leaving out a couple of pertinent details). He said governments are conspiracies whose successful execution entail keeping an internal reality coherent while presenting a different external reality to outsiders. Wikileaks, he said, sought to undermine the ability of government to maintain its coherent internal reality as against the reality presented to the governed.  Something like that.  I’ve been thinking recently that this is what public scrutiny and the Mueller investigation have done to the conspirators in question, challenged their ability to maintain the coherence of their lies as against their real behavior. The longer this coherence is disrupted, the crazier behavior we should expect to see from various individuals as they become confused trying to keep straight who they really are, who they want their co-conspirators to think they are, and who they want the general public to think they are. To me, some of the Don’s crazier tweets may be signs of just this stress.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      “Ideological subversion”, as described by KGB defector Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov in 1984:

      What it basically means is: to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.

      He said the most striking thing about it is that it happens in the open as a legitimate process.

      • orionATL says:

        doc –

        indeed it does, and indeed it is now.

        the mystery is why opposing politicians cannot state simply what president trump is daily and fundamentally up to – quite simply, generating propaganda to protect himself and his power. their focus must be on this demagogue’s propaganda effort as a whole, not on this or that miniscule part of it. that all too common effort merits the 4-blind-eyes award for miniscule fact checking.

        the mystery, too, is why the putative sensible media, our town watchmen and criers, earnestly debate the merits of individual facts/assertions in each bollus (or flush) of presidential propaganda, unable to look at the whole and say “this is an act of propaganda designed to accomplish x for the president”.

        example: watchmen and criers earnestly debating and discussing “the facts and the truth” ” of trump’s attack on doj official bruce ohr, rather than bluntly stating that trump is trying to draw attention away from his own misconduct by attacking a government official with a long history of integrity and competent service in areas of criminal behavior that may touch the prez’s behavior. that ohr and his wife had strongely negative opinions of trump is not a serious matter. they are entitled to their opinions, and to state those opinions. ohr, as a government ofgicial, is not entitled to use his power inappropriately against trump, as trump has tried to get james comey, dan coates, mike rogers, jefc sessions, rod rosenstein, and christopher wray to do.

        the watchmen and criers should be pointing out the whole picture – that president trump would have comey, coates, rodgers, mccabe, strozok, sessions, james, rosenstein, wray, and robert mueller behave in any corrupt way necessary to protect his presidential ass. that they have not yet done so infuriates our prez. given this background, the watchmen and criers should not engage in factful dalliance thereby allowing prez to project his paranoia about finally having his crimes uncovered to misconduct by an individual like bruce ohr. whatever investigation and determination necessary would properly be made by a doj IG of adequate integrity. let the ig do thatcl small work and focus reporyorial investigation on the largest issue – we have an authoritarian demagogue for a president who has been trying practically since inaugurated to suborn government officials into covering up his criminal behavior.

        yes, dear media. it is entirely appropriate to speculate and write about trump’s likely intentions and motives where there is ample evidence to guess that intent.

        where reporters and editors limit themselves to examining and debating item-by-item the reality that a president like trump circumscribes for them, the more they amplify the gaslighting he is doing:

        … “Ideological subversion”, as described by KGB defector Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov in 1984:

        What it basically means is: to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.

        He said the most striking thing about it is that it happens in the open as a legitimate process…”

  13. Tracy says:

    Thanks, Marcy!

    So I guess the OSC will consider all of this when they make their charges against him for conspiracy? I hope he will come to regret being an uncooperating uncooperator.

  14. Charles says:

    I wonder why Trump hasn’t already trotted out pardons. The press stories about Manafort talking to prosecutors and Trump being hamstrung by McGahn refusing to do the Manafort pardon sure sounded like an aggressive and very public negotiation.

    Grassley is looking for the Kavanaugh nomination to be completed by October 1st so that Kavanaugh can start with the Court’s new session. That would be McGahn’s signal to leave. Presumably a new WH Counsel could get on-board then. The second Manafort trial should be done somewhere around the second week of October, with sentencing jut before or soon after the election. The Manafort pardon could be done then. That would provide a powerful signal to the other conspirators to stay mum.

    I hope the prosecutors have got pardons figured in their calculations, because guys like Papadopoulos sound like they still have a very strong sense of impunity.

  15. K-JAM says:

    “hoisted on [his] own petard” is the single best thing in this ridiculous document and pretty much sums up ConFraudUS

    *Curb Your Own Enthusiasm theme*

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