By MARY CLARE JALONICK and CHAD DAY
WASHINGTON (AP) — George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, is willing to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, said his lawyer, Thomas Breen.
Now that the criminal case is resolved, Breen said, “we’ll make him available upon a proper request.”
Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison last Friday for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian intermediaries.
Breen’s comments come after Papadopoulos tweeted on Wednesday to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and the top Democrat on the panel, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, that he would testify if his lawyers approved. The panel is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was involved.
The tweet was one of several since the sentencing as Papadopoulos has vented anger with the FBI and implied he was set up in the investigation. He said on Twitter that he would like to talk to the committee about his “suspicious encounters” with an Australian diplomat and a missing professor who were links to his case.
Papadopoulos also tweeted on Wednesday that he wanted to speak to the committee about two people he says were U.S. intelligence officers in London and “wanted to ingratiate themselves in campaign via myself.”
Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, has been a central figure in the Russia investigation dating back before special counsel Robert Mueller’s May 2017 appointment. He was the first to plead guilty in Mueller’s probe and the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced. His case was also the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing.
According to a sweeping indictment handed up this summer, Russian intelligence had stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and other Democratic groups by April 2016, the same month Papadopoulos was told by the professor, Joseph Mifsud, that Russian officials had told him they had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Mifsud’s whereabouts are now unknown.
Also Wednesday, the Senate approved the release of a transcript of a closed-door Senate intelligence committee interview with W. Samuel Patten, a business associate of a co-defendant of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The resolution, passed by voice vote, would allow Justice Department prosecutors to use it in Manafort’s upcoming trial.
The trial in the District of Columbia, scheduled to start later this month, will be Manafort’s second on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Last month, Manafort was convicted by a northern Virginia jury of eight counts of filing false tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts and bank fraud. The jury deadlocked on 10 other counts.
Patten pleaded guilty Friday to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian political party and also admitted his role in a $50,000 donation scheme involving the presidential inauguration.