Cooperating Witness In Russia Probe Was Unexceptional Scholar, DePaul Professor Says

(CBS) — A DePaul University political science professor who taught George Papadopoulos – one of three individuals accused this week of wrongdoing in connection with the Russia probe – recalls him as “nondescript.”

Professor Richard Farkas has taught political science at DePaul for decades. Papadopoulos was in two of his classes on Russia, he says.

“I don’t have any memory of George picking up on any of the complexities,” Farkas tells WBBM’s Steve Miller.

Farkas says he was surprised when he found out Papadopoulos was an advisor to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I thought that the campaign must’ve been inclined to embrace his credentials on face value because I think George’s enthusiasm for becoming a part of the political environment caused him to exaggerate a bit about his experience,” the professor says.

Theirs is a strained relationship. Farkas gave an interview and said some unflattering things about Papadopoulos, and the comment ended up in a Kiev newspaper. Later, he says, Papadopoulos confronted him.

“It was just awkward more than anything else,” Farkas says. “To my memory, he told me he was disappointed in me, and I told him I was disappointed in him.”

Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contact with Russian representatives and is now believed to be cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller’s team is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“I think he’ll land on his feet,” the professor says of his former student. “I think he probably is reasoning — or someone is suggesting to him that he reason — that Donald Trump will take care of him in the end if he’s loyal.”

“And I think even if there are some penalties that come down the road, I think he’s likely to, in the end, feel like it was worth the sacrifice.”

Papadopoulos graduated from DePaul in 2009. He has declined comment through a lawyer.

More from Steve Miller

Watch & Listen LIVE