Papadopoulos attorneys seeking pardon from Trump
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a professor who had ties to Russia, said Wednesday his legal team is seeking a pardon from President Donald Trump in order to clear his name.
“There’s been so much disinformation and misunderstanding about who George Papadopoulos is, how he actually fits into (special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation) in the proper context and what he was doing for the Trump campaign and Trump transition team,” Papadopoulos told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
“So I am simply getting the facts out there for the public to consume, for the media to consume and then for them to articulate something completely different than has been said about me for the past two years. And, based on that, my lawyers believe, as they are the ones who formally submitted the application, that there’s a basis for a pardon,” he said.
Papadopoulos has released a new book, titled “Deep State Target,” in which he claims that he did not actually lie to the FBI about his contacts with the professor, Joseph Mifsud, but rather was pressured into a plea agreement by Mueller’s team.
Mueller, in Papadopoulos’ court proceedings, said Papadopoulos’ lies to the FBI in early 2017 were intentional and hurt the agency’s ability to question, detain or arrest Mifsud when he was in Washington, DC, around that time.
“I realize that I misspoke to the FBI, but I wasn’t lying to hide anything,” Papadopoulos wrote.
“The ‘lie’ I was charged with … certainly wasn’t intentional.”
In addition to lying about his communications while he served on the campaign, Papadopoulos also deactivated his Facebook account and got a new cell phone after the FBI questioned him, further obscuring his communications with Mifsud and another Russian contact, a woman. Papadopoulos, as a campaign adviser in 2016, had discussed with the woman the possibility that then-candidate Trump could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a foreign policy trip to Russia.
The former Trump adviser also claimed he was “faced with a choice: accept the charges that I lied or face FARA charges,” referencing the US law regulating lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. “I made a deal. A deal forced on me.”
At his sentencing, Papadopoulos read a mea culpa, admitting that he had hurt the federal investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and expressing regret for lying to federal investigators. The judge was lenient, noting that he believed Papadopoulos’ remorse. He was ultimately sentenced to two weeks.
Papadopoulos said on “New Day” Wednesday he “would never ask (for a pardon) personally,” but noted that his lawyers are seeking one because they’re “looking out for my legal interests.”
“If I’m offered one, I would honorably accept it,” he told Berman.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday morning that there had been no discussions about potential pardons related to the Russia investigation.
Mueller did not find that Trump’s campaign or associates conspired with Russia, according to Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report submitted to Congress on Sunday. Mueller’s investigation of whether the President committed obstruction of justice did not conclude the President committed a crime, but it also “does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote, quoting from Mueller’s report.
Mueller did not make the decision himself on whether to prosecute the President on obstruction. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the determination the evidence was “not sufficient” to support prosecution.