Today in news that feels very timely for this booze-filled weekend, a New York Times report has revealed that a drunken comment from George Papadopoulos may have played a big role in the early days of the investigation into ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. Papadopoulos was a foreign policy adviser on Trumps campaign who has since pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, and the report says he made a surprising revelation to an Australian diplomat in May 2016 during “a night of heavy drinking” in London, saying that Russia was shopping around “political dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
He was talking about thousands of hacked emails that had been stolen from the Democratic National Committee (a hack that had not yet been made public), and when those emails began to show up on the internet a few months later, the Australian government notified the FBI of Papadopoulos’ apparent drunken declaration. This, and not the “pee tape” dossier, seems to be what prompted the FBI to open the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia in July of 2016.
The big question is whether or not Papadopoulos told anyone else in the campaign about what Russia had, which isn’t clear from any of the documents The New York Times obtained, but he did repeatedly try to arrange meetings between Trump and Putin during the campaign. Since he got swallowed up by the investigation, though, everyone associated with Trump has tried to dismiss Papadopoulos as a low-level figure with no influence in the campaign. Either way, he and some delicious booze are apparently responsible for a significant number of the Trump administration’s current headaches.