Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was reportedly tipped off to Russia obtaining thousands of emails that would compromise Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election—and he made the mistake of bragging about it to an Australian diplomat, The New York Times reports. Papadopoulos’ May 2016 conversation with the high-ranking Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, appears to have been the evidence FBI investigators needed to launch the ongoing Russia probe, a thorn in the side of Trump’s White House. Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of that investigation, reportedly made the comment to Downer during a night of drinking in an upscale London bar, saying that Russia had obtained “dirt” on Clinton and “thousands of emails” in a bid to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had been informed of Russia’s involvement three weeks prior by the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who had ties in Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and took a special interest in Papadopoulos and the Trump campaign, according to the report. Two months after Papadopoulos’ disclosure, when hacked DNC emails began appearing online, Australian officials informed their U.S. counterparts about Papadopoulos’ comments.
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