George Papadopoulos, the Trump aide who helped set in motion the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and later served time for making false statements to the FBI, has filed to run for the Southern California House seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Katie Hill as she faces allegations of sexual improprieties.
Papadopoulos was first legal casualty of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and the 2016 election.
The FBI probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign began after revelations that Papadopoulos had learned Russia had thousands of stolen emails related to Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and cooperated in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation.
He was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
An energy lawyer best known in D.C. for getting name-dropped by Donald Trump, Papadopoulos also has a habit of embellishing his resume.
Papadopoulos tweeted this week his intention to win back the seat for the Republican Party: “I’m smelling blood in the water now that Katie Hill has resigned. California’s 25th congressional district is wide open for the taking. Someone has to step up. I love my state too much to see it run down by candidates like Hill. All talk, no action, and a bunch of sell outs.”
He joins several Republicans already lining up to vie for the seat, including Mike Garcia, a Marine who has been endorsed by former Gov. Pete Wilson.
Other Republicans include Lancaster City Councilwoman Angela Underwood-Jacobs, former Buck McKeon aide Suzette Martinez Valladares, Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Sgt. Mark Cripe and Santa Clarita resident Charlies Patron.
Assemblywoman Christy Smith of Santa Clarita, the first major Democrat to jump into the race, reacted to the Papadopoulos announcement in a tweet Tuesday: “Wow! @GeorgePapa19 is running in #CA25! If he pled guilty to lying to the FBI – how do we know he’ll tell us the truth? We deserve someone from our community serving as our voice – not @realDonaldTrump ‘s wannabe political hack! #CA25 belongs to #CA25.’’
Smith portrayed herself Tuesday as the key ally and successor to Hill.
“I know Katie, she’s a good friend, we fought the good fight,’’ Smith said.
Appearing to seize the mantle of Hill, who hasn’t yet endorsed anyone in the race, Smith added: “She’s handing this over to me now because the issues we fought for in this country are so important.’’