Former Trump campaign adviser may have sparked the Russia Investigation

George Papadopoulus reportedly told an Australian diplomat that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
3:00 | 12/31/17

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Transcript for Former Trump campaign adviser may have sparked the Russia Investigation
might have sparked the FBI's investigation into Russia. It's fascinating. What a former campaign adviser is alleged to have told an Australian diplomat during a night of heavy drinking. How significant is this reporting, David? Reporter: Good morning, Paula and Dan. This "Times" or the si is potentially significant. It suggests what launched the FBI probe into Russian meddling was credible evidence from a trusted foreign ally. It was at this London wine bar, according to "The times," that a former trump campaign adviser first told a top Australian diplomat that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. May of 2016. Two months before hacked DNC e-mails started to emerge online. Former trump adviser George papadopoulos made the accusation during a night of heavy drinking. The Australians supposedly passed that tip along to U.S. Authorities. That piece of intelligence prompted the FBI to launch its investigation. 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 meeting with candidate trump. The president posted a picture of that meeting at the time. But later, disavoid 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. He was trusted enough to edit an early draft of the candidate's first foreign policy speech. I believe an easing of tensions, an improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only is possible. Absolutely possible. Reporter: Papadopoulos's fiance told George Stephanopoulos all of the work he did on behalf of the trump campaign was coordinated with top campaign officials. Never took an initiative without the blessing of the campaign. And, you believe that he can demonstrate that? Absolutely, yes. Reporter: The president's lawyer declined to comment to ABC news about "The times" story out of respect for the special counsel and his process. Now assuming that "The times" story is correct, it would mean that the match that lit the fluz of the Russia prouz wut noz the dodgy dossier compiled by aj exbritish spy and paid for by the Democrats. But rather was a source inside the trump campaign itself. Dan and Paula? According to "The New York Times" reporting papadopoulos fell out of favor with the campaign shortly after that meeting with the diplomat. What can you tell us? No question he was a a small player in the trump campaign. Just how small is matter of question at this point. The trump campaign, since he pled guilty, has been eager to portray him as a coffee boy. But his wife, as you heard talk to George Stephanopoulos and suggested that he was in touch with stevebannon and Michael Flynn, all the way throughout the campaign. Paula? A lot to flesh out. David, thank you. For more from the political sphere, let's bring in chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz. Happy new year to you, Martha. I would be remiss if -- Same to all of you. So much focus on the the question of whether there was collusion between team trump and Russia. It's often overlooked that Russia continues to indiscriminately target American elections. How serious is the threat? It remains a very, very serious threat. It's something the FBI looks at. Others look at. They want to know what Russia is up to. Whether they're trying to influence people. People who may not know they're trying to be influenced. Whether they're trying to hit social media and whether they continue the try to hack. I'm pretty sure that is something the Russians will continue to try to do with the midterms coming up. A lot of people worried about that. As you point out, not enough focus on it. You're going to focus this morning on foreign policy. One of the huge issue, north Korea. The president has been accusing China of secretly shipping oil to the north Koreans. How do you see this crisis unfolding in the coming year? Paula and Dan, this will be the single biggest year with the north Korean conflict. Because, I think, there is no doubt that this year, you will see North Korea perfect an icbm capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. This is what they have been trying to do for decades. And this will probably be the year that president trump has to make decisions about what to do about that. Whether North Korea tests or does an atmospheric nuclear test is something we have to watch. We have seen, all kinds of threats from both sides. This is the year, I believe, that president trump will have to make Dae six about what to do. This thing could be M dog head. The stakes could not be higher. Martha, thank you. Happy new year. Thank you. Coming up on the show this morning, "This week," mar that

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