The talking heads have been so focused on the Paul Manafort indictments that the true danger to Donald Trump has been scantily discussed. When the indictments and prosecutions in the massive El Paso public corruption cases were made publicly available, it became quickly evident that much of the cases hinged on people who wore wires and provided information to the FBI. George Papadopoulos is the real danger to Trump and associates, not Manafort.
George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents. His guilty plea means that the amount of time he will spend in federal prison is directly related to how cooperative he is with Robert Mueller’s investigation. Therein lies the key to Mueller’s investigation, not Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, but rather the “big fish” he can deliver.
To understand how George Papadopoulos has become a pawn in the quest to expose Donald Trump to legal jeopardy in the Mueller investigation, one just needs to look at the case of Dolores Briones in the El Paso Poisoned Pawns public corruption cases. The FBI made public the El Paso public corruption investigation by filing the Ketner Information sheet in 2007. Prior to the information sheet filing, there were rumors of an FBI investigation but no confirmation.
In December of 2011, an information charging document was filed in New Mexico charging Dolores Briones with one count of conspiracy. There were various rumors about the reason the filing was made in New Mexico, rather than in El Paso where the crimes were committed. One reason was that Briones’ brother was a sitting federal judge. The other was that Briones was cooperating with the FBI. What was not known at the time of the filing, was the extent to which Dolores Briones cooperated with FBI agents investigating LKG and Chilo Madrid, among other criminal collaborators.
In 2013 Cirilo “Chilo” Madrid was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on public corruption charges. Briones, for her part, was sentenced to two and half years in federal prison for her part in the conspiracy. Briones was given a reduced sentence for her cooperation with the FBI.
The FBI investigation into El Paso corruption started in 2004, but it did not become public until 2007. Four years later, Chilo Madrid was arrested, and Briones pleaded guilty in New Mexico. But Dolores Briones had been cooperating with FBI agents between her guilty plea and the start of the investigation. According to court documents, Dolores Briones met Chilo Madrid in a restaurant in 2010 to record their conversation for the FBI. There are numerous examples of the FBI using co-conspirators to gather the information they need to bring to justice the “big fish”. In the Briones case, the time-lag between the arrests and when the FBI publicly began acknowledged the ongoing investigation is where the George Papadopoulos nexus exists.
Papadopoulos was interviewed by FBI agents for the Mueller investigation in January 27, 2017. He met with FBI agents at least one other time in February. On July 27, 2017, George Papadopoulos is arrested at Dulles International Airport returning from overseas. On October 5, 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents. But his guilty plea is kept secret. It wasn’t until October 30, 2017 that the public learned of Papadopoulos’ guilty plea.
If the numerous previous cases of public corruption, especially the El Paso ones, are any indication, it is likely that George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty as part of the deal to help Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is highly unlikely that the Mueller investigation would have gone to the great lengths necessary to hide the Papadopoulos guilty plea, if it wasn’t necessary to use him as part of the investigation. Did he record anyone? It is unknown at this time, but any information that Papadopoulos could have provided Mueller would have been provided before the guilty plea, therefore he was needed for something else. The likely scenario is recoding an accomplice.
So, the question is, who did George Papadopoulos surreptitiously record and does it include Donald Trump?