Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who has famously alleged he was targeted in the FBI’s Russia probe as part of a scheme to take down his boss, announced Monday morning on "Fox & Friends" that he is running for the California congressional seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill.
“This is a state with tremendous potential. Unfortunately, the governing apparatus and the party in this state has driven it right into the ground,” Papadopoulos said. “I have been living here for over a year and a half, and people every single day, when I go and talk around the districts, the state, the country, they tell me we need a candidate to represent the community that has an America First agenda at heart, that supports the president, and if elected to Congress, would propose and enact legislation that would advance this agenda.”
Papadopoulos had been teasing his candidacy for months, tweeting about it and filing paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission in October.
Papadopoulos was a key figure in the FBI’s Russia probe into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. That investigation began after revelations that Papadopoulos had learned in 2016 from Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud that Russia had “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.
He then used that connection to try to set up a meeting between Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and cooperated in Mueller’s investigation. He was sentenced in fall 2018 to 14 days in prison.
Despite his plea, Papadopoulos has suggested he was connected with Mifsud as part of a setup orchestrated by intelligence agencies. His candidacy comes on the heels of the release of his book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump."
Hill, whose district covers Los Angeles County, announced her resignation in October amid an ethics probe into allegations she had an inappropriate relationship with a congressional staffer and the emergence of embarrassing personal photos.
She’s admitted to a consensual relationship with a campaign staff member, but denied one with her legislative director, which would violate U.S. House rules. She’s also called herself the victim of revenge porn by an abusive husband she's divorcing.
Fox News' Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.