George Papadopoulos' fiance, Simona Mangiante, has argued that Papadopoulos played a more important role in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign than is being acknowledged.
Mangiante sat for an interview with CNN, saying that she was speaking out because Papadopoulos cannot.
"His contributions to the campaign has been much more relevant than bringing coffee," Mangiante told CNN, in what was a reference to former Trump advisor Michael Caputo describing Papadopoulos as the campaign's "coffee boy."
"I think they wanted to disassociate from the first person who decided to actively cooperate with the government, on the right side," Mangiante continued. "And probably the easiest way out is to dismiss his personality and lower him to a low-level volunteer."
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI. The White House responded by downplaying his part in the Trump campaign.
"Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar," Trump tweeted.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also weighed in: "It was a volunteer position," stated Sanders. "And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard."
However, Mangiante maintained that Papadopoulos had input at a high level.
"He worked with Michael Flynn during the transition, and he was actively contributing to the foreign policy strategies for the campaign," she told CNN. "He didn't take any initiative on his own without campaign approval."
In one email from March 2016, Papadopoulos called for the setting up of a meeting "between us (the Trump campaign) and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump."
Flynn, who was fired as Trump's national security adviser less than a month after Trump took office on Jan. 20, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Dec. 1. He was forced out over contacts he had with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December 2016.
In one conversation that allegedly took place on Dec. 29, 2016, Flynn asked Kislyak "not to escalate the situation" after President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for allegedly interfering in the presidential election.
Mueller is reportedly considering whether Flynn could be charged under the Logan Act. The measure, adopted in 1799, prohibits private citizens from engaging in diplomacy for the U.S. without government approval.
"If the president-elect was involved in authorizing, instructing or encouraging Flynn to engage in a conversation with the Russians that violates the Logan Act, then Trump himself would be liable under federal law as an aider, abettor or co-conspirator," Ryan Goodman, a law professor at New York University, told The Washington Post.
Sources: CNN, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: FBI and DHS/City of Alexandria via Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons