AT: Dan Bongino recently conducted a fascinating interview with George Papadopoulos. The most convenient way to digest the interview is at Jeff Carlson’s blog, which has a link to the interview on Bongino’s radio show as well as a full transcript of the interview. What emerges from the interview is, in my view, convincing evidence that Papadopoulos was, in Chuck Ross’s words, the target of an “FBI sting.”
Actually, that characterization doesn’t even go far enough. What seems clear at this point is that the FBI — representing the US Government and as an agency of the Department of Justice — targeted Papadopoulos and attempted to manipulate him into appearing to be a vehicle for Russian influence in the Trump campaign. The FBI had no reason to believe that Papadopoulos had any connections to Russian officials before they targeted him. The fact is, Papadopoulos’s academic background and previous experience was in what could be broadly termed “Eastern Mediterranean” politics — Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel. Moreover, in his published writings he actually evinced a degree of hostility to Russian influence in that region.
When the FBI’s attempt at framing Papadopoulos in this manner predictably fell flat, Papadopoulos was indicted on trumped up “false statements to the FBI” charges stemming from a harmless misstatement — not a lie.
The entire interview is well worth listening to — to capture Papadopoulos’ personality — and also worth reading closely for the details that emerge. Chuck Ross’s digest is also useful as a summary. Bongino’s tone is remarkable. He’s well prepared for the interview and, as he goes into the details of how Papadopoulos was groomed to be a fall guy in the FBI’s war against Trump, his tone is incredulous to the point of hilarity at times — the FBI’s setup is that transparent. Bongino has difficulty throughout in restraining himself from exclaiming at Papadopoulos’ only too obvious naivete. For his part, Papadopoulos is naturally reluctant to portray himself as a complete dupe, but even he at a certain point ends up quoting his wife, who exclaimed to him:
“What on earth are you pleading guilty for, when this guy [Mifsud] is obviously setting you up?”
Rather than attempt an exhaustive analysis of the many intriguing threads of information that can be found in the interview, what I’d like to focus on are two particular themes in Papadopoulos’s narrative:
1) That he was the subject of a FISA, and
2) that his conversations with FBI intelligence assets such as Halper, Downer, and Mifsud were “recorded.”