A Belarusan-American businessman at the center of sensational claims about President Donald Trump – and his associates – having close ties to Russia and alleged hacking of the election have been linked to George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser.
The Washington Post, in a lengthy story, said Sergei Millian Millian told several people that during the campaign and Presidential transition he was in touch with George Papadopoulos, a campaign foreign policy adviser. Millian is among Papadopoulos’s nearly 240 Facebook friends.
The article though also indicated both men had dubious if not shadowy resumes and appeared to be exaggerating their ties to Trump.
Trump had a long-standing relationship with Russian officials, Millian told an associate during the campaign and also alleged they fed Trump damaging information about his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton that Millian said had been “very helpful.”
That’s at the heart of a story earlier that purported Russian had damaging information about Trump including that the candidate, while a businessman visiting Russia, had hired prostitutes at a hotel and that the Kremlin is keeping it to use against him if needed.
That was said to have come from a former British intelligence agent that Millian reportedly had confided in although Trump and his staff said it was “fake news” and a pack of lies.
While the story also said that critics of Millian had dismissed him as a blowhard with little credibility it also indicated that some of his claims had been taken seriously even as the FBI continues to probe whether Russia had essentially hacked the US election.
The Post said Papadopoulos received attention during the campaign largely because of reports that he had exaggerated his resume and cited among his accomplishments that he had participated in a Model United Nations program for college and graduate students.
Earlier media reports said that Papadopoulos, said to be an energy expert based in London, portrayed himself last year as a Trump campaign representative who had met with a British Foreign Office envoy and had criticized US sanctions on Russia.
Papadopoulos did not respond to the Post’s request for a comment about contacts with Millian but in an email said that his public comments during the campaign reflected his own opinions and that some of his energy policy views run counter to Russian interests. “No one from the campaign ever directed me to discuss ‘talking points,’?” he said. In a separate email, he accused The Post of relying on “innuendo” and “unsubstantiated claims by irrelevant sources.”
Neither Millian nor a White House spokeswoman responded to questions about Papadopoulos, who said he is the director of the Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law and Security in London.
According to www.energystreamcmg.com “From March 2011 to September 2015, George Papadopoulos worked as an analyst and researcher at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. His research predominantly focused on the geopolitics and energy security changes of both the Caspian and Eastern Mediterranean and their impact on U.S. strategy. George designed the first ever project in Washington, D.C. think tank history on U.S., Greece, Cyprus and Israel relations at a symposium:
But in an earlier story, the Post said that people in energy policy circles in London, Washington and New York said they knew nothing of him.
Almost all his work appears to have revolved around the role of Greece, Cyprus and an Israeli natural gas discovery in the eastern Mediterranean.
Jonathan Stern, Director of Gas Research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told the paper when asked about Papadopoulos: “He does ring a very faint bell but he’s not written anything very significant on East Mediterranean natural gas and pipelines that I can remember.”