Details of the notorious meeting between Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and Australian diplomat to the U.K., Alexander Downer, have come to light in a book largely critical of President Donald Trump, The Daily Caller reported Wednesday.
The Washington Post's Greg Miller wrote "The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy," which was released Tuesday and chronicles how Downer retroactively reported Papadopoulos' knowledge of Russian possession of "damaging material" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
"Russia, [Papadopoulos told Downer], had 'damaging' material on Clinton and was prepared to release it in the final stage of the election," Miller wrote.
The tip, shared over drinks at a London pub May 10, 2016, ultimately led to the FBI investigation into Russian attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, which opened July 31, 2016 – one week after the first WikiLeaks email dump.
"Downer understood that it was pointless to expect a comprehensive take on the Trump world view from a cipher like Papadopoulos, but if nothing more, it was an opportunity to take the measure of one of the few identified members of Trump's foreign policy brain trust," Miller reportedly wrote.
"Downer was drinking a gin and tonic and doing most of the talking. Papadopoulos struck him as surprisingly young and inexperienced, someone who seemed unlikely to land in a position of real influence in the U.S. government."
According to Miller's book, Downer initially dismissed Papadopoulos' boasting as an "afterthought" until the material was released publicly in July 2016. Papadopoulos has since accused Downer of being an orchestrated spy on the Trump campaign, which Miller's book suggests is debunked by Downer having sat on the intelligence until after WikiLeaks' July release.
"Papadopoulos didn't treat this revelation with any conspiratorial gravity; he seemed to view it as juicy diplomatic gossip and a means of showing off," Miller reportedly wrote. "He didn't call the material 'dirt' or refer to a trove of hacked emails — details he knew from his meeting two weeks earlier with the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud. Nor did Papadopoulos give any indication that Trump was involved in, or aware of, the Russian plan.
"It was just that this guy clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton."
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