“Russiagate” has its genesis in a strange meeting in London in May 2016 between the then junior policy adviser on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos, and Australia’s former conservative Foreign Minister and the then High Commissioner (ambassador) to Great Britain, Alexander Downer. Over a few wines, Papadopoulos apparently mentioned to Downer that the Russians had some political dirt on Hillary Clinton, which they might use during the campaign, which tidbit Downer subsequently shared with the American authorities. The rest is history – or, rather, conspiracy theory.
As I wrote a few months back, the circumstances surrounding the meeting and its aftermath raise more questions than answers, including why the meeting took place in the first instance, just what exactly was said during, and who, how and when passed the information to the Americans. For a face-off that launched a thousand attacks on Donald Trump, we know very little about this event.
Papadopoulos was sentenced a few days ago to 14 days in jail for lying to an FBI agent last year. He is the first of Trump’s campaign advisers to plead guilty as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, though his prosecution does little towards demonstrating collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Earlier this week, Papadopoulos went on a Twitter rant, questioning Downer’s role in his downfall:
Papadopoulos is no doubt feeling somewhat emotional about his fall from grace and the imminent fortnight in jail. His outburst certainly did not impress its target and subject:
Alexander Downer has distanced himself from a bizarre Twitter tirade launched against him by Donald Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, saying “I’ll leave others to make judgments about the veracity of those tweets”.
Actually, it’s very difficult to make a judgment about the veracity of those tweets, because everyone’s got a different version of events: Papadopoulos has his, Downer has his, and a few months ago “The Wall Street Journal” reported on yet another one. Will the real collusion please stand up?
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where this piece also appears.
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