New report on how US authorities may have learned about Russia's election meddling

According to the New York Times, former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos boasted to an Australian ambassador that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
2:30 | 12/30/17

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Transcript for New report on how US authorities may have learned about Russia's election meddling
To politics and he is the young man whose name many of us never heard before. Now George pop papadoulos is at the red, hot center of the Russia investigation, and tonight, a new report as to how he first came onto the FBI's radar. Here's ABC's David Wright. Reporter: Tonight, new reporting about how us authorities may have first learned about Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 election. Reportedly because of what a former trump campaign adviser told an Australian diplomat at this London wine bar in may of 2016. According to "The New York Times," trump adviser George papadopoulos boasted to Australia's ambassador to the uk Alexander downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Australians eventually passed that tip on to U.S. Authorities. According to the paper, that was reportedly two months later, about the time that hacked DNC e-mails started appearing online. Papadopoulos, who recently pled guilty to lying to the FBI, was part of the trump campaign's national security and foreign policy team seen here at a meeting with candidate trump. The president posted a picture of that meeting at the time. But later, disavowed it. I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Reporter: As for papadopoulos, trump insisted, few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar. But papadopoulos' fiancee told George Stephanopoulos all of his work on behalf of the trump campaign was coordinated with top levels of the campaign. As far as I know, absolutely, yes. And he never took an initiative without the blessing of the campaign. Reporter: Tonight, the president's lawyer declined to comment to ABC news about "The times" story, out of respect for the special counsel and his process. David Wright joins us now from Florida. Part of the significance of the story in "The times," it may clear up what exactly sparked this Russia investigation. If it's true. Reporter: Exactly so, Dan. Assuming this story checks out, that means that back in July of 2016, the FBI started its investigation, not as a result of the so-called dossier comp compiled by a former British spy and Russian sources, and paid for by Democrats, but rather because of credible intelligence from a trusted foreign ally. Dan? David Wright in west palm beach. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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