November 26 was a difficult day for George Papadopoulos, his family, and our Greek-American community as a whole. The former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser turned himself in to begin his prison sentence for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe.
He will serve two weeks, which is closer to his requested suspended sentence than the prosecution’s call for six months. Nonetheless, that he is serving time is an obvious action by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to make an example of him to other witnesses who may be questioned regarding the campaign’s possible connection to Russian interfering in the election.
Papadopoulos' behavior has been hard to understand as of late. For example, upon learning that his request for a suspended sentence was denied, he tweeted: “The truth will all be out. Not even a prison sentence can stop that momentum. Looking forward to testifying publicly shortly after. The wool isn’t going to be pulled over America’s eyes forever.”
It is unclear to what Papadopoulos is referring, considering that he pleaded guilty. Does it mean he was frightened or misled by Muller into entering a guilty plea? Surely, that he is in a poor psychological state and wishes to soften his position as much as possible is understandable.
For us Greeks, it was not exactly pleasant or honorable to see a Greek-American vilified in the media, and one with such a distinctively Greek name. Of course, there is no collective guilt, this is only one individual, but still…
Nonetheless, from what we surmise, Papadopoulos’ role in the Trump campaign has been exaggerated. He bears a great deal of that responsibility, as that is how he presented himself, to Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and former Former Minister Nikos Kotzias, among others. As we see it, more accurate is the White House, which has described Papadopoulos as having been a “low level volunteer,” who only grabbed the attention of authorities and the media because of information given to him by a Russian spy that they (Russians) had obtained Hillary Clinton’s emails. Papadopoulos, as he revealed in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, then passed along that information to an Australian diplomat and to Kotzias. And that issue has not yet been clarified.
In any case, it is impressive that nowadays, it seems that in turning over any stone in the United States, there will appear a Greek – usually playing a positive role and making us proud, though sometimes not. And that is amazing, given the disproportionately small number of Greeks in the United States.
All in all, we regret that Mr. Papadopoulos ended up in jail. But the law is the law, and as the saying goes, if you do the crime, you have to do the time.
Hopefully, he has learned his lesson, though his recent tweets seem to suggest otherwise.