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Steve Bannon has told associates that George Papadopoulos is a "nobody" whom he's never met. Many top figures on the campaign genuinely had no idea who he was. Some White House officials had to resort to Google when the news broke this morning that this former volunteer foreign policy adviser on the campaign, Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during the campaign.

Our thought bubble: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were clearly important figures in the Trump campaign, but Papadopoulos didn't feature prominently and was paid little attention by Trump or other senior advisers. Trump did mention Papadopoulos by name in a meeting with the Washington Post, but he was boasting about a foreign policy team that was hastily assembled, inexperienced and to which he paid almost no attention. None of this exonerates Papadopoulos, though, and it's clear some of his superiors knew about some of his efforts because he prodded them.

A former campaign official told me shortly after the news broke:

"To be honest... I thought they were talking about George Gigicos (advance man on campaign) ... not because he could've possibly been involved with Russia but because he's the only guy with a Greek name that anyone knew on the campaign."

J.D. Gordon, who supervised Papadopoulos in his capacity as a Trump campaign national security adviser, said he was "surprised to learn today what George Papadopoulos was up to during the campaign.

"[Papadopoulos] obviously went to great lengths to go around me and Senator Sessions," Gordon told me in a text message.

"Presidential campaigns are like that," Gordon continued. "Very hard to know what every single person is doing, especially since some folks deliberately go around the chain of command or circumvent it."

"George Papadopoulos obviously represents an extreme case."

Go deeper

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Updated 5 hours ago - World

China's COVID vaccines have low efficacy rates, official says

China Centers for Disease Control director Gao Fu at a March event in Beijing, China. Photo: Han Haidan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director said Saturday authorities are considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines because the country's domestically made doses "don't have very high protection rates," per AP.

Why it matters: The remarks by the Gao Fu at a news conference in the southwestern city of Chengdumark mark the first time a Chinese health official has spoken publicly about the low efficacy of vaccines made in China.