Nunes claims Trump never met with ex-adviser Papadopoulos despite photo


The GOP lawmaker who charged the feds with improperly spying on an ex-aide to Donald Trump claimed Monday that the president never met with ex-adviser George Papadopoulos — another former aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

But a widely-released photo from March 2016 shows Trump seated at a table with Papadopoulos, Attorney Jeff Sessions and others at a sitdown during which the aide broached setting up a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

“If Papadopoulos was such a major figure, you had nothing on him, you know, the guy lied. As far as we can tell, Papadopoulos never even knew who — never even had met with the president,” Rep. Devin Nunes said on one of the Trump’s favorite shows, Fox News “Fox & Friends,” a comment that went unchallenged by the program’s hosts.

Papadopoulos is one of four people facing criminal charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

Trump told The Washington Post the same month the photo was taken that Papadopoulos was an “excellent guy.”

The president changed his tune after Papadopoulos worked out a plea deal with Mueller’s team, calling him “young, low-level volunteer” and a “liar.”

Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, also attacked the FBI for investigating Papadopoulos just for drunkenly blabbing to a senior Australian diplomat at a London bar that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

“Look, getting drunk in London and talking to diplomats, saying that you don’t like Hillary Clinton – I think it’s kind of scary that our intelligence agencies would take that an use it against [an] American citizen,” he said.

The Australian government later shared Papadopolous’ boasts with their US counterparts, a tip that led to the ongoing Russia probe.

Nunes released a partisan and disputed memo last week accusing the Justice Department of relying solely on a publicly unverified dossier that alleges links between Russia and Team Trump to issue and renew a warrant to eavesdrop on Carter Page, a Russian linked former Trump aide.

Democrats and some Republicans say the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judges who signed off on the warrant and renewals had seen far more evidence than that.

Trump has praised Nunes — who was part of his transition team — on Twitter.

“Representative Devin Nunes, a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!” the president wrote on Monday.

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