- The fiancée of a former Trump campaign adviser says he was in touch with the campaign’s top leadership and disputes claims that he was a “coffee boy.”
- The adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and appears to be cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
- The fiancée, Simona Mangiante, named a previously unnamed professor with ties to the Russian government about whom Papadopoulos is believed to have lied to the FBI.
The fiancée of George Papadopoulos, the early foreign-policy adviser and aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign team who in October pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, disputed top officials’ characterization of him as a “low-level volunteer” and a “coffee boy.”
Simona Mangiante, Papadopoulos’ fiancée, told ABC News that his job on the campaign was to “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for senior campaign officials. Mangiante said Papadopoulos was “constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign.” She said she had seen correspondence proving it.
On October 3, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office filed charges against Papadopoulos saying he lied to FBI agents on January 27 about “the timing, extent, and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charges, and the proceedings that followed his plea agreement indicate he is cooperating with the investigation into Russia’s election meddling and whether any Trump associates colluded with Russian officials.
As for the top campaign adviser Michael Caputo’s suggestion that Papadopoulos’ job involved getting coffee, Mangiante quipped, “I would love George to learn how to make a coffee, because it’s absolutely out of his skills.”
Mangiante’s other statements may set off red flags.
Mystery professor revealed
“As I understand it, he lied about his contact – while he was with the campaign – with a professor with ties to the Russian government,” William Yeomans, a former deputy assistant attorney general who spent 26 years at the Justice Department, said when Papadopoulos pleaded guilty.
The professor in question had not been identified in court filings, but Mangiante identified him to ABC as Joseph Mifsud, then the director of the London Academy of Diplomacy.
The charges filed describe the professor as someone who could provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 rival.
Mangiante said Papadopoulos was manipulated by Mifsud, who she said seemed strange to her. Misfud took an interest in Papadopoulos “precisely because he was working for Trump,” according to Mangiante.
Mangiante said she decided to speak out to set the record straight against Trump administration officials who have said Papadopoulos had a minor role in the campaign.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.