Some thoughts from Dan McLaughlin:
The overall picture here looks similar to what we saw with the Trump jr. story: people in the Trump campaign were desperate for dirt on Hillary, they were willing to work with anyone to get it, and Russian interests used this desperation to play them for suckers. Papadopoulos was frequently promised things, and promising things in turn to the campaign, that never got delivered. This is a running theme of Trump’s amateur-hour foreign policy campaign team (in contrast, one would note, to the professionals now running his foreign policy shop).
Where things get dicier for Trump is that the investigation and the Papadopoulos plea both focus on how this can all be tied back to Trump and his senior campaign staff. Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying about when he went to work for Trump relative to when he started talking to the professor; he tried to convince the FBI that he already knew about the professor’s dirt on Hillary before he joined the campaign. And on March 31, 2016, well before Trump had even locked up the Republican nomination, Papadopoulos told Trump and a roomful of Trump’s foreign policy advisers “in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.” The meeting, like many such things, never happened, but he kept the campaign (including an unnamed “senior policy advisor for the Campaign”) apprised that he was trying to arrange one, and the plea is mostly silent on what he was told by the campaign in return. Then, in late April – still well before the June meeting at Trump Tower – the professor began dangling “dirt” on Hillary: “They [the Russians] have dirt on her”; “the Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.”
Let us pause here to note that this is precisely the situation that many of us warned was a grave risk to national security with Hillary’s insecure email server, and which Hillary and her camp loudly denied to be a possibility while basically admitting it when they started complaining during the campaign (let alone after) about Trump publicly seeking leaks of her emails. This entire story is the perfect storm of an aggressive and devious foreign regime, a Republican nominee of low character surrounded by inept and naively cynical amateur advisers, and a Democratic nominee who was heedlessly reckless with national security out of partisan paranoia. Secretary Clinton exposed herself to what amounted to easy Russian blackmail, and everything else that happened followed from that.
Yup. Worst political class in history, and worst candidates in history.
[Update a few minutes later]
Andy McCarthy: Not much there, and a boon for Trump.
But the media will continue to have their hair on fire over it.
Popehat lawsplains the Manafort/Gates indictments, and the Papadopoulos guilty plea.