The fiancee of George Papadopoulos said the former Trump campaign adviser was far more involved in the campaign than Trump and other high-level officials have tried to make it seem.
As the first to publicly defend the former campaign aide since it was revealed that he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, Simona Mangiante told ABC News that there are “consistent evidences that he was not a coffee boy.”
Her comments reference remarks made by Trump and former campaign adviser Michael Caputo, who have tried to downplay Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign despite evidence that Trump once called him one of his foreign policy advisers. Mangiante said she decided to speak out to combat those characterizations.
“First of all, I would love George to learn how to make coffee because it’s absolutely out of his skills,” she told ABC in an interview that published Friday. “George is a remarkable young man with incredible experience in the field of energy and oil policies. This experience led him to get into the campaign and to advise the President at only 28-years-old.”
She said Papadopoulos set up meetings “all over the world” and was “constantly in touch with higher level officials in the campaign.” She said she has seen emails between her fiancé and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was also charged last week with one count of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
“He never took any initiative, as far as I know, unauthorized,” she said. “He never took any initiative without the blessing of the campaign.”
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in October and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the foreign power to win the election. According to court documents, Papadopoulos was charged for lying about his communications with a professor who had “substantial connections to Russian government officials” and promised to provide “dirt” obtained by the Russians on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The court records did not identify the professor, but Mangiante identified him as Joseph Mifsud, whom both she and Papadopoulos have worked for in the past. She told ABC News that they met last year after Papadopoulos reached out to her on LinkedIn because of their connection over Mifsud.
“I know (Mifsud) was interested in George because he was working for Trump,” she said.
She said getting interviewed by the FBI caught Papadopoulos “out of the blue” and she thought he didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.
“As soon as he find out that he committed a mistake, he took responsibility for that and he passed to the right side of history, in my view,” she said, adding that she received a subpoena from Mueller on the same day Papadopoulos plead guilty to the FBI. “It was very brave because he has been the first one and he is helping a lot. … I think he has been the first domino in Russia-gate.”