Ex-Trump Campaign Adviser: Papadopoulos Was ‘The Coffee Boy’

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Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo on Tuesday blamed simple youthful indiscretion for efforts by former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and Donald Trump Jr. to meet with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“He was the coffee boy,” Caputo told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, referring to Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI, according to court records unsealed Monday, about his efforts to connect the Trump campaign to Russians claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails,” even before Wikileaks published anything stolen from Democrats.

Caputo continued: “You might have called him a foreign policy analyst, but, in fact, if he was going to wear a wire, all we would know now is whether he prefers a caramel macchiato over regular American coffee in conversations with his barista.”

“The kid was 27 years old,” Caputo said later of Papadopoulos. (The former foreign policy adviser, who Trump told the Washington Post in March was one of five members of the campaign’s foreign policy team, graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.)

“You’re trying to ascribe to him the ability to discern what’s right and what’s wrong in a campaign,” Caputo said.

Asked about Donald Trump Jr.’s own successful effort to set up a meeting with senior campaign officials promising dirt on Clinton, Caputo added: “Don Jr. approached it the same way that the 27-year-old naive kid did and said ‘That’s a meeting that we should have.'” 

“Paul Manafort and others showed up because he was the son of the candidate,” Caputo granted. “And it was a meeting that shouldn’t have happened and devolved very quickly and everybody left.”

He was less generous with Papadopoulos: “The fact that this kid was pushed back by the campaign chairman, and people around the kid were told to calm him down, and he still went at the campaign five or six times to try and get access to senior leaders for the Russians tells me that he was up to something bad, this kid,” Caputo said. “And I think whatever the FBI has determined is going to be his punishment is a fitting punishment.”

Caputo said the meeting Donald Jr. set up, as well as the meetings Papadopoulos tried to set up, should be “looked into, in its entirety.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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