Well this is kind of sad and a bit scary. From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:
So much news emerged overnight that I’m not sure how much attention will get focused on this odd development in the George Papadopoulos case. Let me address it briefly. We knew little about George Papadopoulos until last October when his plea deal with the Special Counsel’s office revealed that he was a key point of contact with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign. Later we learned that his inebriated discussion with an Australian diplomat was the trigger that launched the Russia probe in July of 2016. He made a deal, has been cooperating and recently the Special Counsel’s office filed court papers signaling he’s likely completed his cooperation and is ready for sentencing. All of this is what you’d expect for a cooperating witness. But last night, Papadopoulos’s wife was on Fox asking President Trump for a pardon and seemingly claiming that George had been set up.
Now, it goes without saying that these are two different people, George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos. In practice though it’s hard to believe she’d go public with something so dramatically different from what he’s saying and what would seem to be his legal interests. Remember, the Special Counsel’s office still has the hammer of sentencing hanging over him. By any normal logic, he’s in no position to antagonize them.
What got attention last night was Mangiante basically begging for a pardon for her husband. But what got my attention was a bit different. Far from the posture one normally expects from a cooperating witness, Mangiante was essentially claiming her husband had been set up by the FBI and indeed that more evidence of FBI “spying” on her husband and the campaign was still to emerge. In the past, Mangiante had gone so far as to claim her husband would emerge as the “John Dean” of the Russia scandal, basically implying that he was the inside player whose testimony would prove the undoing of the President. In this video, before she asks Trump for a pardon, she rather unconvincingly explains that she never meant “John Dean” in the sense that the President had done anything wrong.
Ugh. I remember when she was almost heroic in interviews about her husband. One can’t help but think that Russia is somehow behind her wild change in position. Maybe her family was threatened. Between Trump’s goons and Putin’s goons, it might be hard to discern who pressured her.
Oh well. At least she likely spoke to Mueller long before this unconvincing flip-flop.