George Papadopoulos, the one-time foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign caught up in the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, said he floated the idea of a meeting between the candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016 as an opportunity to get photos of Trump in a statesman-like role.
"I thought it would be a nice photo op," Papadopoulos said on ABC's "The View" Tuesday of the prospect of a Trump-Putin meeting.
"Obviously, Trump was very vocal [during the campaign] about wanting to work with Putin at some level, like at the geopolitical level," Papadopoulos said. Having Trump meet Putin "would be great for him to look like a statesman" as he ran for president.
Papadopoulos also said on "The View" that he is an energy specialist who, when he began working on the Trump campaign, had contacts in the Middle East, but not with Russia.
He said that shortly before he started with the campaign he took a business trip to Rome arranged by his then-employer. In Rome, he said he met Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who is believed to be an operative for the Russian government.
Mifsud told him he had a contact in Russia who could potentially host a summit between Trump and Putin, Papadopoulos said. He said he presented that possibility to the campaign at a national security meeting in March 2016. No meeting of Trump and Putin occurred during the 2016 campaign.
Papadopoulos was sentenced in federal court Friday to 14 days incarceration, one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine. He pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to FBI agents about his interactions with a Russian national and with Mifsud.