Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi has threatened to sue a former aide of Donald Trump over allegations that he tried to sabotage the US president’s 2016 election campaign.
George Papadopoulos, who worked on the Trump campaign, told the Italian newspaper, La Verita, that Renzi had been used by former US president, Barack Obama, to strike a “low blow” against Trump.
Sharing the interview on Twitter, Papadopoulos added that “the Italian Spygate story will cost Matteo Renzi his political career”.
Renzi, who left the centre-left Democratic party to form a new group in September, wrote on Facebook that the allegation of having participated in “an international conspiracy hatched by Obama against Trump” was “seriously damaging” to his reputation.
“Those who make a mistake, pay. The same for those who slander. See you in court,” he wrote.
Papadopoulos was last year found guilty of lying to federal agents investigating ties between Russian operatives and the campaign. He was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
The accusation comes a week after US attorney general, William Barr, met Italian intelligence officials in Rome as he reviews the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.
The meetings reportedly homed in on Jospeh Mifsud, a Maltese professor who allegedly told Papadopoulos in 2016 that the Kremlin was in possession of thousands of emails that revealed “dirt” about Hillary Clinton.
Mifsud, who taught at Link Campus University in Rome, has been missing since October 2017.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has come under fire following reports that he authorised the meetings. Conte is expected to address a secret services parliamentary commission on the matter. A spokesperson said on Friday that a date is yet to be set, but that Conte saw no anomaly in the behaviour of the intelligence officials.