WaPost: Trump campaign let Papadopoulos speak to Russian media

The Washington Post published a story on George Papadopoulos this afternoon which is headlined, “‘You should do it’: Trump officials encouraged George Papadopoulos’s foreign outreach, documents show.” The actual story reveals the outreach in question was an interview request from a Russian news agency.

When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election, the young adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump made sure to seek approval from campaign headquarters.

“You should do it,” deputy communications director Bryan Lanza urged Papadopoulos in a September 2016 email, emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. “partnership with Russia.”

The exchange was a sign that Papadopoulos — who pushed the Trump operation to meet with Russian officials — had the campaign’s blessing for some of his foreign outreach.

What this shows is that Papadopoulos was asked to speak to a Russian news agency, asked if he was allowed to do so, and was given a green light. Was it “a sign” that Papadopoulos had carte blanche from the campaign? I think that’s a bit of a stretch. So far as I can tell, the “You should do it” quote had to do with this specific interview not a broader spectrum of activity. In fact, the Post admits Papadopoulos really wasn’t a key player in the campaign:

In a tweet after Papadopoulos pleaded guilty, President Trump wrote “few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.” Another Trump campaign staffer dismissed Papadopoulos as a mere “coffee boy” during the campaign…

The young aide was not a central player in Trump’s inner circle. At times, he appeared as a supplicant to his superiors on the campaign, who occasionally ignored his notes or appeared to rebuff him, the emails show. Shortly after joining the campaign, Papadopoulos was rebuked by campaign officials for giving an unauthorized interview to a British newspaper, The Post previously reported.

The story notes Papadopoulos also helped arrange and prepare for a meeting between Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. (Hillary Clinton held a similar meeting with al-Sissi.) Papadopoulos was also in contact with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, though that contact apparently happened in December after Trump’s election. It’s fair to say Papadopoulos wasn’t a coffee boy but he also wasn’t a key insider. The story concludes with a quote from Defense Minister Kammenos who said, “I think Mr. Papadopoulos is a very young person with dreams.”