You gotta pity the poor guys on social media named George Papadopoulos. It may be a rare name in the US, but it's about as common in Greece as John Smith is stateside.
(on the other hand, this guy has a wicked sense of humor about what's happening, and way more integrity and smarts than the Wrong Papadopoulos)
Amidst the pomp and celebration that were the Manafort/Gates indictments, there was a lesser-reported story that Mueller's probe into the trump-Russia collusion of the 2016 elections secured a guilty plea - of lying to federal investigators - from the Wrong Papadopoulos. Thing is, that guilty plea points to Papadopoulos as a key figure tying most of the questionable behavior of the trump campaign into one large tidy conspiracy pot.
Referring to an expert from the Watergate years, via The Raw Story article by Tom Boggioni:
Speaking with host Ali Velshi, attorney Nick Akerman said he had looked at the indictment against Manafort and said that he had no doubt that Trump associate would be found guilty.
“Now this it’s not like a witch hunt where there is nothing,” Akerman began.”Now you have got something that is real...”
...Akerman picked up on the deal that Papadopoulos made with investigators, saying, if Mueller has done his job properly, the former Trump associate has been wearing a wire for months as part of a deal...
“...He’s pled guilty, pled guilty to a felony, lying to the FBI,” Akerman continued. “He’s basically, if you looked through his allocution, you have allocute. They don’t name names, it’s against Justice Department policy to do that. But he refers to campaign officials, other officials — it’s very obvious he has information on lots of people and on top of that, he’s been cooperating since July.
“If I were the prosecutor, and I guarantee you Robert Mueller has done this, he’s had him out there wearing a body wire, playing dial-a-crook on the phone, trying to get recorded conversations to use as evidence against other people,” he asserted. “If I were the other people, and they know who they are in that information, I’d be extremely nervous right now.”
A lot of this depends on the actual timeline, of when Papadopoulos started handing over information and providing sound to whatever conversations were taking place. If Paps had been wearing a wire since early October (when the plea deal was reached), there probably isn't a lot there. But if he'd been wearing a wire since July 2017...
July 2017 is when the story broke on donald jr's meeting at trump Tower back in June 9 2016. The fallout from that revelation - of how invested in working with their Russian partners and Putin associates the trumps were - would certainly have been a major topic of conversation among the members of trump's Inner Circle. If Papadopoulos was present at any of those conversations, it's likely he picked up on various details of what people were doing to hide any compromising info from the investigation (and also what that compromising info could be).
We're dealing with a conspiracy here, people. A group led at the top by a con artist in trump, whose dealings with Russia go all the way back to the 1980s (!) and whose entire circle of family members and handlers are circling the wagons to protect their scams. The problem with proving a conspiracy isn't the numbers or the money: You can trace phone calls and meetings and fund transactions all over the place. Without actual testimony from people - catching them in lies and making them confirm the facts - it's hard to prove criminal actions were part of those transactions.
The way prosecutors break a conspiracy is catching a low level member of it, especially someone whose lies are the easiest to disprove. With that person flipped to the prosecution's side, he/she then has to cooperate by proving there is a conspiracy through the conversations and responses he/she has with the other members. This is where the wire comes in.
If you've watched enough episodes of Law & Order - yes, it's a television show, but in terms of prosecutorial conduct it's accurate - you'd remember this: In a criminal trial where you need a suspect to testify between a group of suspects, the one who flips first (the one with the most to lose) usually gets the best deal. SEE ALSO: The Prisoner's Dilemma.
Mueller - and the intel agencies aiding his investigation - most likely has a good idea what happened with Russia and trump, otherwise the federal investigators who interviewed Papadopoulos wouldn't have confirmed so easily he lied to them. But he still needs testimony, not just from one or two people he got to plead out but with recorded evidence backing established facts... and revealing more troubling facts that would force those higher in the chain of the conspiracy to plead out themselves.
The Papadopoulos wire shows how confident Mueller and his team was that they could secure confirmation of criminal misdeeds. That this information is coming out now while the investigation is ongoing - and while lower rungs of the conspiracy like Manafort and Gates are getting arrested - suggests that Mueller doesn't need Papadopoulos to get more information. He's already got enough out of Paps.
And he's likely got a wire now on someone even closer to trump and his handlers.