Elder Patriot – George Papadopoulos, the man who’s reported drunken barroom confession had been most often cited as the catalyst for opening the counter-espionage investigation into Trump-Russia collusion was the subject of an FBI sting operation.
Papadopoulos’ alleged barroom rant occurred around May 10, 2016. But the man who Papa-D allegedly bragged to about Russia having dirt on Hillary Clinton, Australian diplomat Andrew Downer, said Papa-D was not drunk and actually reported:
“By the way, nothing [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton.
“It was just that this guy, [Papadopoulos], clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton — but whether Trump knew or not?
“He didn’t say Trump knew or that Trump was in any way involved in this. He said it was about Russians and Hillary Clinton; it wasn’t about Trump.”
“He didn’t say dirt; he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was.”
There was no there, there. At least there was nothing to hang around the neck of Donald Trump. Still, Papa-D was one of only two potential avenues open to Mueller in order to build his collusion case around. So he decided to turn the screws on him anyway.
With his investigation mired in neutral and going nowhere, Mueller viewed Papa-D as a weak link that he could turn against President Trump. And he did just that in July 2017.
Working with the FBI it appears a certainty that Mueller put in motion a sting operation to trap Papa-D and force him to compose.
Using a little known asset named Charles Tawil, who had served as an intelligence asset for the FBI and CIA in 2006, Papadopoulos was offered $10,000 for his expertise and connections in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East to help facilitate an oil and gas project that Tawil was supposedly working on.
Papa-D accepted the money but smartly placed it with a Greek attorney before boarding a plane to return to the United States.
When Papa-D arrived at Dulles Airport, FBI agents were waiting for him at the terminal.
The sting collapsed when the FBI couldn’t pin a treasury violation on Papa-D, pbut agents detained Georgie boy and worked on him until they finally got him admit to a lesser – a much lesser – charge than they had hoped for.
At that point the desperation of the Mueller team became obvious. Mueller submitted a sentencing memo that amounted to a slap on the wrist and turned his attention to Paul Manafort.