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Trump man Papadopoulos takes aim at Downer after Mueller report

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George Papadopoulos, who had an infamous meeting with Alexander Downer at a London bar before Donald Trump’s 2016 election win and ended up in jail, says he feels vindicated after the release of a summary of Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling.

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Mueller, according to the summary, concluded there was no evidence Trump and members of the president’s election campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government ahead of the election.

“The witch hunt is over,” Papadopoulos, Trump’s former campaign foreign policy aide, told AAP.

“I plan on going on the offensive and hope the president does too.

“Declassification of surveillance material is paramount.”

Papadopoulos, a 31-year-old from Chicago, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 14 days’ prison for lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian nationals and Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud.

The May, 2016 meeting between Papadopoulos, then Australian high commissioner to the UK Downer and another Australian official, Erika Thompson, at the Kensington Wine Rooms has been credited as one of the triggers for the FBI investigation that led to Mueller’s probe.

Papadopoulos claims Australian, UK and US intelligence agencies had targetted him and Downer recorded their conversation at the bar.

Downer, in an interview with The Australian newspaper last year, claimed Papadopoulos told him Russia might use “damaging” material they had on Trump presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election.

Downer said he passed the information back to Canberra “the following day or a day or two”.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting a diplomatic source, reported Downer passed Papadopoulos’ Russia information directly to the US ­embassy in London.

Papadopolous’ book, Deep State Target, will be released this week and details his account of dealings with Downer, Thompson, Trump and others.

Papadopoulos denies he told Downer about Russia potentially using material against Clinton, although he said Mifsud told him weeks before the London drinks Russians had “dirt” on Clinton.

In September last year Trump wrote on Twitter “key allies” had asked him not to release classified FBI documents related to the probe into Russian influence.

Papadopoulos believes the allies were Australia and the UK and he wants their involvement to be made public.

“While the (Mueller) report is likely mired in classified material, and most will likely never be revealed to the public, I do hope what is public is what Alexander Downer’s and Erika Thompson’s roles were and why Downer has become so protected,” Papadopoulos said.

AAP has reached out to Downer, Thompson and the Department of Foreign Affairs for comment on Papadopoulos’ claims.

Downer has previously shrugged off Papadopoulos’ spying accusation, telling BBC radio last year: “I’m not going to get into these sort of allegations.”

AAP

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