- George Papadopoulos, 30, advised the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Ben Carson, but was described as a “nobody” and “unremarkable” in both settings. In both campaigns he did mostly low-level policy work. Papadopoulos had only graduated from college in 2009, and listed his membership in Model United Nations among his achievements on LinkedIn.
George Papadopoulos, the former adviser for President Donald Trump’s campaign who pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, was a young, relatively inexperienced “nobody” in the Trump campaign, and his career before the presidential election was described as “unremarkable.”
According to documents that were unsealed by the Mueller investigation on Monday, Papadopoulos had made at least six attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian Putin representatives throughout the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, using a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and a female Russian national as conduits. After being arrested on October 5, he has reportedly been cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
Here’s everything we know about Papadopoulos so far:
Papadopoulos was a low-level, largely forgettable campaign advisor for two political campaigns
As attention gravitated towards Papadopoulos after special counsel Robert Mueller unsealed court documents detailing the charges against him, many Trump-affiliated officials were surprised the young adviser had become a focus of Mueller’s probe. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called him a “nobody,” according to Axios, and another Trump campaign official agreed.
“To be honest… I thought they were talking about George Gigicos,” who was the advance man on Trump’s campaign, the former campaign official told Axios. “… Not because he could’ve possibly been involved with Russia but because he’s the only guy with a Greek name that anyone knew on the campaign.”
Papadopoulos was announced as a foreign policy advisor by now President Donald Trump in person at a Washington Post editorial board meeting, at which Trump described him as “an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy.” While Papadopoulos was in close email contact with the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 presidential election cycle, his position was remote, and he was not a recognizable figure in campaign headquarters, CNN reports. In September 2016, he was interviewed by the Russian Interfax News Agency, in which he argued that a Trump victory would “restore the trust” between the US and Russia.
However following the unsealing of documents relating to Papadopoulos on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has downplayed the relationship between Papadopoulos and the campaign, describing his role as “extremely limited” and unpaid.
Before he was selected to join the Trump campaign in March 2016, Papadopoulos served as an advisor for former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign for several months. But Carson’s former campaign manager, Ed Brookover, told Business Insider that he did not stand out there either.
“Unremarkable is a good word,” Brookover said when describing Papadopoulos’s tenure. “Brief.”
A Carson campaign official said Papadopoulos was drafted to the campaign largely because of his experience as a research associate at the Hudson Institute, a respected conservative think tank, which the campaign hoped would lend weight to memos Papadopoulos helped research. Nevertheless, the official said Papadopoulos worked in a largely rank-and-file position.
Before party politics, he was a DC researcher and consultant
Papadopoulos graduated from DePaul University in Chicago in 2009 and got a Masters degree in security studies at the London School of Economics in 2010 according to his LinkedIn page. Afterward, he started as a researcher in international relations at the Hudson Institute, where he did mostly unpaid work, and was an energy consultant in London before joining the Carson campaign. Among the awards and honors he lists on his page is his time as the representative of the US at the 2012 Geneva International Model United Nations, according to The Washington Post.
Much of his research and writing has focused on natural gas and energy politics in the eastern Mediterranean, and he wrote several op-eds in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Post reports. Most experts on the topic in both the US and the UK are not familiar with him, though Jonathan Stern, the director of gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said he does have some faint recollections about him.
“He does ring a very faint bell but he’s not written anything very significant on east Mediterranean natural gas and pipelines that I can remember,” he said.
Since the conclusion of the Trump campaign in November 2016, according to his LinkedIn, Papadopoulos has continued to work as an independent oil and gas consultant.