Short sentence recommended for former Trump campaign adviser

Blanche Robertson
August 18, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended in a court filing on Friday that a judge sentence former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

"The defendant's lies to the FBI in January 2017 impeded the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election".

A government sentencing memorandum revealed that recommendation along with several other new details about how the DePaul University alumnus became an early focus of the Russian Federation investigation.

In the court filing, Mueller wrote that Papadopoulos' "lies negatively affected the FBI's Russian Federation investigation" and his "lies were not momentarily lapses".

"Much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history, and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas well after the defendant's FBI interview as the government continued its investigation", prosecutors said in the filing. "He also" hindered the government's ability to discover who else may have known or been told about the Russians possessing "dirt" on Clinton" - as in who else on the Trump campaign.

Mueller's sentencing memo also noted that although Papadopoulos "agreed to meet with the government to answer questions" before he pleaded guilty, he did not offer "substantial assistance" to the Russian Federation investigation.

Papadopoulos eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and agreed to cooperate in the Russian Federation probe.

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Mueller's team says in a new court filing that George Papadopoulos should spend at least some time incarcerated and pay a almost $10,000 fine. His recommended sentence under federal guidelines is zero to six months, but prosecutors note another defendant in the case spent 30 days in jail for lying to the FBI.

With the intent of harming the investigation, Papadopoulos "repeatedly lied throughout the interview in order to hide the timing and significance of information the defendant had received regarding the Russians possessing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, as well as his own outreach to Russia on behalf of the campaign", they explained.

In the memo, the USA government claims that Papadopoulos' lies and obstruction helped Joseph Mifsud escape the country without being detained. The operation was taken over by Mueller.

Papadopoulos unwittingly played a key role in triggering the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign in Russian Federation, which the president repeatedly has denounced as a "witch hunt". Since then, Mueller has returned two sweeping indictments that detail a Russian campaign to undermine the United States election, hurt Clinton and help Trump.

Thirteen Russian nationals and three companies are charged with participating in a conspiracy to sow discord in the USA political system primarily by manipulating social media platforms.

While drinking at a London bar in May 2016, he told the Australian ambassador to Great Britain that the Russians had hacked thousands of emails that could damage Clinton's presidential campaign.

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