White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that George Papadopoulos is “an example of somebody doing the wrong thing,” a day after it was revealed the former Trump campaign adviser plead guilty last month to lying to federal investigators.
“I think Papadopoulos is an example of somebody doing the wrong thing while the president’s team did the right thing,” Sanders told reporters. “What Papadopoulos did is lie and that’s on him, not on the campaign and we can’t speak to that.”
Papadopoulos joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a foreign policy adviser last March, days after he began corresponding with a professor who had close ties to Russian officials. The 30-year-old campaign hand originally told federal authorities he hardly knew the professor and met him before joining the campaign.
Sanders has repeatedly tried to downplay Papadopoulos’ involvement in the campaign, saying on Tuesday he only met with Trump once during the 2016 election at a “meeting the advisory counsel put together.”
“This was a campaign volunteer, he wasn’t somebody who was a senior adviser. He played a minimal role,” she said.
A legal filing released by the special counsel investigation on Monday revealed Papadopoulos had repeatedly tried to organize meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, often bringing his requests to the attention of various campaign staffers.
Several outlets reported Tuesday that one of those staffers was Sam Clovis, a current nominee for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sanders said the connection was unlikely to jeopardize Clovis’ nomination.
“I’m not aware that any change would be necessary,” she told reporters.