President Donald Trump's former foreign policy campaign aide George Papadopoulos said he lied to the FBI in an attempt to remain loyal to Trump, according to a source close to the investigation surrounding alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The former aide reportedly did not want to say anything that went against Trump and his campaign's official stance that the team had absolutely no contact with Russian officials, the source told ABC News.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to misleading the FBI "about the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials," state court documents, according to CNN.
In one instance, Papadopoulos said he incorrectly recounted the interactions he had with a professor with close ties to Russia, notes ABC News. The former aide told investigators that he spoke to the educator before becoming involved in Trump's campaign, when in reality he did so afterward.
"In truth and in fact, the professor only took interest in defendant Papadopoulos because of his status with the Campaign," read the court filings.
Since the alleged campaign connection to Russia surfaced, Trump has dismissed them as "all fake news" and "phony stuff" that "didn't happen," as he said in January.
"Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar," Trump said on social media after the allegations surrounding Papadopoulos went public.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Papadopoulos was on a "volunteer advisory council that met one time over the course of a year," and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo referred to the former aide as nothing more than a "coffee boy," reports CNN.
Despite this, Papadopoulos reportedly represented Trump's team at at least two international meetings: one with a British government official in August 2016 and another with Israeli settlers in mid to late January.
"As you would expect in the run-up to an election, we seek to build links with figures in both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns," a British foreign office spokesperson explained in a statement regarding the former meeting. "This type of outreach is normal diplomatic business ... Representatives of presidential campaigns are treated as private citizens and we would not share confidential information with them."
Papadopoulos also spoke at the American Jewish Committee's foreign policy panel during the summer of 2016. The committee stated that Papadopoulos' appearance was part of an effort on their end to stay connected to campaign advisors to both the Democrat and Republican presidential nominees.