On Fox News Sunday, former House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy told host Maria Bartiromo that an unreleased FBI transcript of a conversation withTrump campaign associate George Papadopoulos could prove to be a "game-changer" for public perception about the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Gowdy made the comments during a conversation about the ongoing investigations into how the Trump-Russia probe first started, including the securing of FISA warrants and the intelligence community's contact with Trump associates. Gowdy explained that the FBI creates transcripts of conversations it monitors. One particular transcript, he told Bartiromo, "has the potential to actually persuade people."
The conversation in question involves Papadopoulos, whose attempt to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton was one of the pretexts for the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign. During Robert Mueller's investigation, which found no collusion, the Trump associate pleaded guilty to lying about a conversation about trying to get damaging information on Trump's opponent.
Gowdy said it's time for congressional investigators to start asking some questions about what exactly went down in conversations with Papadopoulos. They should ask for "the transcripts, if any exist, between the informants and the telephone calls to George Papadopoulos," he said, adding, suggestively, "some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist."
"Republican lawmakers who have seen the relevant documents believe exculpatory evidence related to Papadopoulos was not included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page," the Washington Examiner reports. (Read the full report here.)
Among the recently revealed details about the problematic origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign is some new information about agents' contact with Papadopoulos. On May 2, The New York Times reported that the FBI used a female undercover investigator, going by the fake name of Azra Turk, in what proved to be a failed attempt to draw out "collusion"-related information from the Trump associate.
"The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?" the Times reported. "The woman had set up the meeting to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The F.B.I. sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia."
"The day after meeting Ms. Turk, Mr. Papadopoulos met briefly with Mr. Halper at a private London club, and Ms. Turk joined them," the Times reported. "The two men agreed to meet again, arranging a drink at the Sofitel hotel in London’s posh West End. During that conversation, Mr. Halper immediately asked about hacked emails and whether Russia was helping the campaign, according to Mr. Papadopoulos’s book. Angry over the accusatory questions, Mr. Papadopoulos ended the meeting."