(THREAD) BREAKING: In May '16, after months of selling a Trump-Kremlin meet to Team Trump, Papadopoulos secretly went to Athens to meet a Putin ally. Putin was then in Athens meeting the same manÃ¢ÂÂthe only 48 hours Putin was in the EU during the campaign. Please read on and share. pic.twitter.com/lhy75ZISwB
Ã¢ÂÂ Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) November 12, 2017
Seth Abramson lays out the Trump — Papapdopoulos — Putin — Greece Connection. In a series of tweets. For those that don’t want to read every tweet (I’d advise you should… for
the links they contain), I’ve put the 35+ together here for ease of reading. FROM SETH ABRAMSON:
(THREAD) BREAKING: In May '16, after months of selling a Trump-Kremlin meet to Team Trump, Papadopoulos secretly went to Athens to meet a Putin ally. Putin was then in Athens meeting the same man—the only 48 hours Putin was in the EU during the campaign. Please read on and share.
2/ On May 27th, 2016, Putin's plane touched down in Athens, Greece for the Russian strongman's only visit to any EU nation between November 2015 and the U.S. presidential election (November 8th, 2016). Greece was and is one of Russia's strongest EU allies.
3/ The stated purpose of Putin's May 2016 trip to Athens was to engage in "bilateral" meetings on ending Russian sanctions. Greece was an odd place to travel for this purpose, as Russia already had many allies in the Greek government who opposed sanctions.
4/ One such ally was Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who had gone on record opposing sanctions against Russia and was on hand to meet Putin personally when his plane arrived at the airport in Athens on May 27th, 2016.
5/ As of May 27th, 2016, Panos Kammenos was the highest-level contact and ally George Papadopoulos had (that we know of) in the government of any nation. During the campaign Kammenos repeatedly touted Papadopoulos' high (as opposed to "low-level") placement in the Trump campaign.
6/ On the very day that Putin touched down in Athens for the only 48 hours he'd spend in any EU country during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Papadopoulos was also in Athens on a trip Greek media described as "secret," "incognito," and "[made] almost with absolute secrecy.”
7/ It was his second trip to Athens in May 2016—the only country we know of that Papadopoulos traveled to twice during the campaign—and you can read about it in translation here (in To Vima, the online arm of Ta Nea, one of the top newspapers in Greece): https://translate.google.com/translate?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=el&sp=nmt4&u=http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/%3Faid%3D843919 …
8/ In late May '16 Papadopoulos met in Athens—
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos*
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos*
Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias
Former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
General Secretary Dimitris Paraskevopoulos
Political Director Petros Mavroidis
*Also met Putin.
9/ During the same May trip to Athens, Papadopoulos also met— The "A3 Head" (Balkan Affairs) The "A4 Head" (Greek-Turkish Affairs) The "A7 Head" (Greek-American Affairs) All these meetings were as a Trump campaign rep. Two of these men—maybe more—met with Putin the same week.
10/ To Vima reports these meetings were "targeted," and had been preceded by a trip to Athens in early May 2016 with Seth Cropsey, who'd previously been at the Hudson Institute with Papadopoulos and had co-authored a paper with him. The nature of this earlier trip tells us a lot.
11/ Kathimerini (Greece's NYT) reports the earlier trip was to "make contacts," as he "didn't know a lot of people in Athens but was eager to make important acquaintances." Talking to a reporter, he "lowed his voice so as not to be overhead and dropped hints of major contacts.”
12/ You can read the Kathimerini article in question yourself, below. Note that the "major contacts" Papadopoulos was speaking of would seem to be from the *Trump campaign*; he had *not* yet developed important contacts, he felt, in the Greek government.
13/ Kathimerini reports by his late May '16 trip—during Putin's bilateral "charm offensive" on sanctions—he'd "met everyone he needed to know and spoke very comfortably of the Greek president, ministers of Foreign Affairs/Defense, head of the opposition, important businessmen.”
14/ The way Kathimerini describes this second trip suggests Papadopoulos may have met with *more* than two men who were *simultaneously* meeting with Putin—and that he was taken seriously enough at all levels of government that efforts could have been made to help him meet Putin.
15/ What we know for sure, via Kathimerini, is while Putin was in Athens Papadopoulos was promising a Trump trip to Athens—during the campaign—to get access to top officials, including Putin allies. We know he was in touch with Hope Hicks—Trump's personal assistant—on that topic.
16/ The Greek reporter who was covering Papadopoulos' second, Trump campaign-representing but also "secret"/"incognito" trip to Athens says Papadopoulos—on June 3rd, 2016—forwarded a message to him that Hope Hicks had sent to Papadopoulos on the subject of a Trump trip to Greece.
17/ This strongly suggests Papadopoulos had had a conversation with Hicks—or Trump himself—about his ability to promise Greek officials a Trump trip to Athens, and had done so *prior* to the trip he made at the end of May 2016 (i.e. the one coinciding with Putin being in Athens).
18/ Whatever Papadopoulos "secretly" did in Athens while Putin was there—and while he was cleared to make travel promises on Trump's behalf—by his return trip in December Kathimerini says "he had acquired a new status in Athens and was widely regarded as...having Trump’s ear.”
19/ Papadopoulos retained this reputation in Greece even though Trump never made the promised trip. But clearly Papadopoulos had provided some other service, or in some other way proved his bona fides, to Greek officials. This thread may help explain why:
(directs to another thread)
20/ In any case, on his December 2016 return to Athens Kathimerini reports Papadopoulos was "bestowed with awards, wined and dined by prominent Athenians, and even appointed to the judging committee of a beauty pageant on a Greek island." He was expected to land at State in 2017.
21/ Certainly, Papadopoulos kept in touch with the Greek government as he continued his work for Trump in late Summer 2016 (a time we now know he was trying to schedule a trip to Russia). The Greek Foreign Ministry said it met him in NYC in September 2016.
22/ Panos Kammenos, the Putin ally who met with both Papadopoulos and Putin during the last week of May 2016 in Athens—and possibly the two men together—congratulated Trump and Papadopoulos in the same tweet within 24 hours of Trump's November '16 victory.
23/ By January Papadopoulos' claims of having Trump's ear, being on the transition, and having a "blank check" from Trump were borne out. How? By a meeting with Kammenos and the Chief of Staff for the new President of the United States at the inauguration.
24/ It seems now that one of two things ripped up Papadopoulos' "blank check" post-inauguration—his January 27th, 2016 meeting with the FBI (if it leaked to the Trump campaign) or the beginning of the Flynn Affair, with Sally Yates acting as a whistleblower on Flynn the same day.
25/ We now have reason to believe Trump lied about his direct contact with Papadopoulos; the campaign lied on Papadopoulos' role; we know Papadopoulos wanted to meet with Russians; we know he told a Trump aide (4/25/16) Russians are only comfortable speaking in "neutral cities.”
26/ We know he traveled to Athens in secret while Putin was going to be there for his only 48 hours in the EU (in a "neutral city") during the campaign, and we know the Trump campaign was in contact with Papadopoulos on his trips to Greece at its highest levels (i.e. Hope Hicks).
27/ We know that after May '16 Papadopoulos continued to be taken very seriously by the Greek government, and that Papadopoulos was representing by December that he'd "helped Trump win the presidency" and had "blank check"—directly from Trump—to choose his own administration job.
28/ We know the late May '16 trip was preceded by another clandestine scouting trip (under the cover of doing work related to the Hudson Institute) earlier that month, and that all of this occurred while Papadopoulos was feverishly writing top Trump aides about a Kremlin meeting.
29/ Whether Papadopoulos met directly with Putin—which he had every motive and opportunity to do, and Putin likewise—or used Kammenos (whose Institute has a Memorandum of Understanding with Putin's RISS, which orchestrated the election interference) as a go-between is immaterial.
30/ What's clear is that Hope Hicks was aware of Papadopoulos' outreach to the Greek government; the campaign was aware of his contacts with Putin ally Kammenos; and allowed him to make representations to the Greeks that opened key doors for Papadopoulos in Athens in May 2016.
31/ And it's clear that, after the services he'd rendered—none of which the White House has acknowledged, only some of which we know about—Papadopoulos was still allowed to represent the campaign in Greece post-election, and was invited to high-level meetings at the inauguration.
32/ Not a single criminal investigator in the United States, on these facts, would fail to see the near-certainty of fire behind all this smoke. All of these facts are inculpatory; none of them are exculpatory. And the lies surrounding all of them suggest a coordinated cover-up.
33/ I'm not so vain as to believe Mueller doesn't already have access to all the Greek media reports on Papadopoulos, and that he saw YouTube video of Putin meeting Kammenos (and more broadly, traveling to Athens when Papadopoulos also did) prior to me discovering it this week.
34/ But Mueller doesn't need Greek media or YouTube—because he has Papadopoulos under his thumb via his plea deal and their agreement (from October 5th) that Mueller will drop a 20-year-max prison charge (Obstruction) in exchange for Papadopoulos' cooperation in the Russia probe.
35/ So the purpose of this thread is to let Americans know what Mueller has already seen, and is seeing now, regarding Trump's lies about Papadopoulos and the very distinct possibility Papadopoulos used Greek cutouts to gain access to Kremlin officials and possibly Putin himself.
PS/ Many thanks to Marianna Kakaounaki of Kathimerini (and other Greek journalists) for reaching out to me after I broke the story of Papadopoulos' May '16 trip to Athens coinciding with Putin being there. I've tried to emphasize where the reporting remains unclear or incomplete.
PS2/ For more information on the Kammenos-Putin link, see the excellent work on that subject published on Medium by @scottmstedman.