The Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI was pictured at a meeting with Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and other members of the campaign on March 31, 2016, just days after he met with two people tied to the Russian government.
You can see the photo featuring George Papadopoulos, sitting two seats from the left of Sessions, above. It was posted to Instagram by Trump, who was touting his campaign’s foreign policy and national security team.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5, but the conviction was unsealed on October 30, the same day that two other former members of the campaign, ex-chairman Paul Manafort and adviser Rick Gates, were indicted on charges unrelated to the campaign.
Papadopolous worked for the Trump campaign starting in March 2016. Trump described him as a “an oil and gas consultant; excellent guy,” during a conference call with the Washington Post that same month. He was part of a national security team led by Sessions that also included energy industry executive Carter Page, former government inspector general Joe Schmitz and former Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg.
The meeting pictured in the Trump Instagram photo occurred on March 31. According to court documents, Papadopoulos had multiple meetings with two people tied to the Russian government in the weeks before that meeting. At the meeting, Papadopoulos identified himself as having “connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin, prosecutors said.
According to court documents, Papadopoulos, then living in London, met with an unnamed “campaign supervisor” on March 6, 2016, and learned he would be brought in as a foreign policy adviser. He told prosecutors that the supervisor told him “that a principal foreign policy focus of the campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia.”
On March 14, Papadopoulos, while traveling in Italy, met with a London-based professor who “took great interest” in him after learning of his role with the campaign. The professor claimed to have “substantial connections” with Russian government officials, and Papadopoulos thought he could use those to increase his importance with the campaign, according to court documents. On March 24, the professor introduced Papadopoulos to a “female Russian national.” The professor told Papadopoulos he was the niece of Vladimir Putin, but Papadopoulos later learned she was not a relative. At that meeting, Papadopoulos said the topic of the discussion was “to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.”
After the March 24 meeting, Papadopoulos emailed the unnamed campaign supervisor and was told “great work.”