According to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, recently uncovered evidence indicates that prosecutors on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, in their zeal to obtain convictions, may have been less than truthful about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopolous and his level of cooperation with investigators.
If that’s the case, according to Nunes, Mueller’s prosecutors should face criminal charges. “We’re scrubbing through all of these 302s and we will be making some type of criminal referral,” Nunes announced on Monday, according to The Washington Examiner.
Papadopolous was one of several individuals indicted and prosecuted as part of Mueller’s lengthy and fruitless probe into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016. In essence, Mueller’s prosecutors had claimed that Papadopolous was uncooperative with investigators and “hindered” the probe into alleged Russian collusion and interference.
Nunes, however, suggests that recently declassified reports actually show the opposite — that Papadopolous actually attempted to help the investigators, particularly with respect to Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud, who may have connections to Russia.
“We were going through those reports and then beginning to match them up to the Mueller indictments and the Mueller recommendations for prosecutions,” Nunes told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday, as they discussed the latest information obtained from certain declassified reports from Mueller’s probe, including FBI 302 forms, which are used to document interviews.
What the 302s actually say
“One of the things that we found … is that, remember the whole story that Papadopolous needed to be really treated badly and sentenced to some time because he’d really stopped the FBI from being able to find Joseph Mifsud? Remember all of that?” Nunes asked, referencing an article by author Lee Smith. “Well it ends up that’s not true, that’s not what the 302s say.”
“The 302s actually say that Papadopolous was actually trying to help the FBI and they are the ones who said that Mifsud was going to be in the United States,” the congressman said. “So, if the lawyers that wrote that to the court, in their recommendations to the court, they need to be held accountable.”
“But it’s not okay to lie to a federal judge, especially about something so serious as somebody who’s going to be indicted to serve prison time,” Nunes added. Watch:
If true, they must be held accountable
The Examiner noted that Papadopolous pleaded guilty in 2017 to having made false statements to investigators, and indeed, when he was sentenced to a brief stint in prison in 2018, Mueller’s prosecutors had asserted that Papadopolous’ “lies were material to the investigation,” had “substantially hindered” and “undermined” the investigation as well as the FBI’s ability to potentially question and detain Mifsud while he was in the U.S.
If what Nunes says is true and the FBI 302s regarding Papadopolous reveal a different story, then it would seem fairly clear that Mueller’s prosecutors lied to a federal court and the American people in order to obtain a conviction that, in the big scheme of things, was relatively unnecessary.
If that turns out to be the case, then congressional Republicans better have some criminal referrals written up post-haste and, hopefully, Attorney General Bill Barr’s people at the Justice Department will follow through in holding those liars accountable.