The wife of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty last year of lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government, beseeched the president during a Fox News appearance on Monday night to pardon her husband.
When asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson whether she thought Papadopoulos was going to prison, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos said that her husband had been a “dedicated and committed” member of President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign who’d done an “excellent job.”
“Because of this incident, his freedom is challenged, so I trust and hope and ask that President Trump will pardon him,” she said.
George Papadopoulos was arrested last July and later pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about contacts he’d had with individuals with close ties to the Russian government. These included communications with Russian national Ivan Timofeev, director at the Russian International Affairs Council, and with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who’d told Papadapoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, reported The New York Times.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicated late last month that he was ready to proceed with Papadopoulos’ sentencing. The former campaign aide faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars. Prosecutors have agreed, however, to seek a lower sentence of zero to six months in return for his cooperation with the investigation.
On Monday, Papadopoulos’ wife said her husband had “never had any interactions with Russians” and had not actively sought out damaging information about Clinton.
“One of the reasons I am here tonight... is to set the record straight about George,” she told Carlson.
She conceded that Papadopoulos had met with the Maltese professor but said their interaction had merely been a “gossip conversation” about Clinton’s emails.
″[He] never colluded with the Russians. He didn’t do anything with Russia,” she said of her husband.
Earlier Monday, Trump boasted in a tweet that he had an “absolute right” to pardon himself in the Russia probe, though noting he would have no reason to do so since he’s “done nothing wrong.”
While the last three U.S. presidents hadn’t issued any pardons at this point in their presidency, Trump has shown a penchant for issuing pardons, particularly for his political friends. Since taking office, he’s already pardoned five people, including Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative provocateur who pleaded guilty in 2014 of violating federal campaign finance laws, and controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt last year for violating a federal judge’s order barring him and his office from detaining individuals solely based on suspicions about their immigration status.