On Sunday, George Papadopoulos told ABC’s This Week that he was “remorseful” and “contrite” for lying to the FBI but “[doesn’t] think” he incriminated President Donald Trump.
“At the time of my interview with the FBI, I think around three or four days before that I was at the inauguration attending parties with senior level transition officials,” Papadopoulos said:
I understood that there was an incipient investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and I found myself as somebody who worked incredibly hard over the past year with the campaign to have … candidate Trump be elected. And then I found myself pinned between the Department of Justice and the sitting president and having probing questions that I thought might incriminate the president.
“I didn’t understand the nature of what was going on,” Papadopoulos explained. “Of course I’m remorseful, I’m contrite and I did lie [to the FBI] but you know you’re just taken off guard, I guess, in such a momentous occasion where you’re potentially sitting there incriminating the president. Even though, of course, I don’t think I did.”
Papadopoulos said that those thoughts were “probably in the back of [his] mind,” wondering “what exactly [he was] doing, talking about Russian hacking or election interference with a candidate that [he] just worked for.” Still, he is unsure whether Robert Mueller’s investigation will bear any fruit. “I have no idea, all I can say is that my testimony might have helped move something towards that. But I have no idea,” he said.
On Monday, Papadopoulos elaborated via Twitter, saying he “failed to introduce [Trump] to Putin,” and accused former UK High Commissioner Alexander Downer of wanting to meet “under incredibly suspicious circumstances.”
The former Trump 2016 campaign adviser was recently sentenced to a mere 14 days in prison after pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. His lawyers contended that he was just “young” and lied due to “misguided loyalty to his master.”