Ex White House Ethics Chief Calls Democrats 'Sanctimonious' for Abandoning Katie Hill, Leaving Disgraced Trump Aide to Contest Seat

A former adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about ties to Russia is running for Congress.

According to documents filed with the Federal Electoral Commission on Tuesday, George Papadopoulos will contest California's 25th District as a Republican—the seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill after allegations of improper relationships with staffers and illegal revenge porn photos were released.

The photos that ultimately led to Hill's resignation were published in the right-leaning Red State website and in the right-wing British tabloid, the Daily Mail.

"California's 25th congressional district looks like it's for the taking," Papadopoulos tweeted before allegations of impropriety surfaced and before the photos in question were released.

The tweet raised speculation that the release of information was part of an orchestrated attempt to remove Hill who, as a freshman congresswoman, was considered a rising star in the Democratic party.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Jennifer Van Laar, who authored both stories in Red State and in the Daily Mail, is a longtime GOP consultant who at one point was the campaign manager for a California Republican that contested Hill's seat.

Hill criticized the "hateful political operatives" who assisted in the "smear campaign built around cyber exploitation," in her resignation letter. Capitol Police confirmed to Newsweek they are investigating.

Upon her resignation, Papadopoulos tweeted: "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."

A later tweet said that Papadopoulos was to make his formal announcement about running for the seat shortly.

Richard Painter, a chief ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, labelled the 32-year-old's intentions of being a congressman "ridiculous".

"Rep. Katie Hill makes a silly mistake, sanctimonious Democrats abandon her and now they have to spend time and money defending her seat against the 'Coffee Boy'—a Russian stooge who just got out of the slammer," Painter said.

"The 'Coffee Boy' could win. It's a swing district. Some Hill supporters are furious and could stay home. The GOP has money to spend.

"The Professor—Coffee Boy's Russian handler—will do his part. Hill should change her mind, finish her term. This is a waste."

Painter's reference to a professor comes from an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election conducted by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

In relation to the professor, Mueller concluded Papadopoulos "falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed 'dirt' [which] related to emails" about former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison by a federal judge for lying to the FBI and was released in December 2018.

A number of other candidates will also contest Hill's former seat.

Steve Knight, the Republican who formerly held the 25th District until Hill defeated him 2018, confirmed his intention to contest the seat again in a statement released on Facebook.

Van Laar, the author of the two articles on Hill, tweeted on Monday to announce that Mike Garcia would also enter the race as a GOP candidate.

Christy Smith, a Democrat who was elected to the California State Assembly in 2018, also announced her intention to contest.

George Papadopoulos
Foreign policy advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, George Papadopoulos goes through security at the US District Court for his sentencing in Washington, DC on September 7, 2018. Getty
Ex White House Ethics Chief Calls Democrats 'Sanctimonious' for Abandoning Katie Hill, Leaving Disgraced Trump Aide to Contest Seat | U.S.