In a court filing on Friday, Donald Trump’s so-called “coffee boy,” former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, claimed that both Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions supported his proposal in early 2016 to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If true, this acknowledgment is particularly problematic for Sessions, who has previously claimed, including in testimony under oath before Congress, that he opposed the idea and “pushed back” on it, according to CNN.
The report said:
“While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it. George’s giddiness over Mr. Trump’s recognition was prominent during the days that followed,” Papadopoulos’ lawyers wrote in a court filing Friday. Papadopoulos’ legal team said that he has shared with special counsel Robert Mueller his recollections of the March 31, 2016, meeting.
Papadopoulos will be sentenced on Sept. 7 after pleading guilty last October to lying to federal investigators. He is seeking probation, while prosecutors have asked a judge for a six-month prison sentence.
Sessions should also be concerned about another development on Friday, as lobbyist Sam Patten pleaded guilty to providing a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch access to President Trump’s inauguration and then lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. As part of the plea, Patten has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and it is a signal that prosecutors are willing to go after those who lied under oath to Congress.
In November 2017, it became clear that Sessions had lied to the Senate about the meeting and about his own contacts with Russian operatives during the campaign. At the time, multiple media reports said Sessions, a Republican senator and campaign aide, had “shut down the idea of a Putin meeting at the March 31, 2016, gathering.” Papadopoulos’ lawyers now say that claim, which was circulated by someone in the meeting, was false. The meeting took place at the Trump International Hotel.
On Thursday, Trump declined to say whether Sessions would still have his job after the November midterm elections.