George Papadopoulos, the Trump presidential campaign’s foreign policy adviser in 2016 and a central player in the investigation of Russian election interference led by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, will be the keynote speaker at the Scott County Republican Party’s upcoming fall fundraiser dinner.
Papadopoulos was sentenced to spend two weeks in a minimum-security federal prison last year after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian government officials. The federal inquiry centered on whether Papadopoulos conspired with Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign to spread emails damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
Since his brief stint behind bars, Papadopoulos authored a memoir called “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.”
In the book, Papadopoulos contradicts his guilty plea and the remorseful statements he made during his sentencing hearing last year, saying he never actually lied to the FBI but buckled under intense pressure amid a conspiracy led by U.S. and allied intelligence to destroy President Donald Trump’s political image.
The book came out in March. Trump promoted it on Twitter in late July.
“Good luck with the book George, should do well!” Trump wrote.
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Scott County Republican Party Chairman David Millage, who took over the party leadership role earlier this year, said Monday that Papadopoulos’s speaking slot is already generating high interest for the fundraiser. He said Scott County Republicans touched base with a number of people while organizing the dinner and Papadopoulos happened to be available on that date.
“We’re happy to have him,” Millage said, adding that Papadopoulos could provide some insight into the workings of the Trump administration and on foreign policy.
The Scott County Republican Party’s annual Ronald Reagan Dinner began in 2009 and has featured several high-profile speaking guests over the years ranging from presidential candidates to statewide office-seekers. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered the keynote speech last year as she campaigned against Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell, a Des Moines businessman.
Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, and Republican U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa have also been invited to speak this year, Millage said.
Doors open at 5 p.m. on Oct. 1 for a silent auction and cocktail hour in the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf. Dinner is scheduled to be served at 6 p.m.