An informant working for U.S. intelligence posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016 to try to probe George Papadopoulos, then a Trump foreign policy adviser, on the campaign’s possible ties to Russia, according to a new report.
And, Papadopoulos told Fox News on Thursday, the informant tried to “seduce” him as part of the “bizarre” episode.
The Thursday report in The New York Times cited individuals familiar with the Justice Department’s ongoing Inspector General (IG) review of the intelligence community’s actions in the run-up to Donald Trump’s election as president. Attorney General William Barr received harsh partisan blowback for suggesting that “spying did occur” during the presidential race, but doubled down at a testy Senate hearing on Wednesday.
The Times reported that the FBI sent a woman using the alias Azra Turk to meet Papadopoulos at a London bar, where she asked, conspicuously and directly, whether the Trump team was working with Russia.
Papadopoulos told Fox News on Thursday that he “immediately thought she was an agent, but a Turkish agent, or working with the CIA,” and “that’s why I never accepted her overtures and met her again after London. … London became a very bizarre hangout spot for me that year.”
The FBI did not reply to Fox News’ request for comment.
Turk, Papadopoulos added, was trying to “seduce” him in an effort to “make me slip up and say something that they knew I had no info on.”
In an interview with Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Thursday, Papadopoulos said Turk was “very flirty.”
Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, another over dinner, and then once with Stefan Halper, the Cambridge professor who has been a longtime FBI informant. The Times noted that Turk had apparently been sent to oversee Halper, and possibly to provide cover for Halper in the event Turk needed to testify.
In House testimony, Papadopoulos previously said Turk “didn’t strike me as a Cambridge associate at all” and noted that “her English was very bad.” According to Papadopoulos, “the professors liked to introduce me to young beautiful women.”
On Twitter Thursday, Papadopoulos emphasized that Turk’s English was poor, and disputed the Times’ reporting that Turk was sent by the FBI. “She was CIA and affiliated with Turkish intel,” he wrote.
“As someone who has worked a lot in the Middle East and Southern Europe on policy issues and energy issues, as I was heavily involved in from 2011-2017, I would notice odd behavior of people I later learned were agents,” Papadopoulos told Fox News.
When asked when he learned Turk was an agent, Papadopoulos replied: “I always had suspicions but the moment Halper was outed a year ago, I knew she was, too.”
I will make the job easy for America’s reporters. The US/Turkish/Australian/UK intel agencies who targeted me knew I had NO RUSSIA contacts. They were after my work on the east med pipeline that they all wanted to stop. Unfortunately for them, the project was implemented in 2017.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) May 2, 2019