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Former campaign adviser to Pres. Trump sentenced to 14 days in prison

08 September 2018

George Papadopoulos was the first to plead guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Papadopoulos, who was initially interrogated on January 27, 2017 by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding his work for the Trump campaign, was arrested at Washington-Dulles International Airport on July 27, 2017 and arraigned the following day.

Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy advisor to Mr Trump, relayed to the then Republican presidential candidate that he had been told by a Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud, that he had "dirt" on rival Hilary Clinton. He was the first to plead guilty in Mueller's probe and is now the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced.

Papadopolous will also have 12 months of supervised release, serve 200 hours of community service within about a year and will be fined $9,500.

US District Judge Randolph Moss on Friday sentenced Papadopoulos to 14 days, noting that he "lied in an investigation that was important to national security". He gave false statements about his contacts to the FBI, which the FBI said impeded their investigation into the extent that Russian meddling may have worked its way into the campaign.

As noted by USA Today, authorities thought that Papadopoulos could serve as a key informant, but it quickly became clear that was not the case.

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According to Politico's Kyle Cheney, the Papadapoulos' lawyer blamed Trump saying, "The president of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could", citing the president's attacks on the investigation as a "witch hunt" and "fake news".

George Papadopoulos, 31, pleaded guilty previous year to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the presidential campaign.

At the time, Trump and the White House sought to distance themselves from the former campaign foreign policy adviser, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claiming he'd had an "extremely limited" role on the campaign. The Justice Department has spent at least $17 million investigating Russian meddling, but government estimates have shown that Mueller's team specifically has only spent about $7.7 million.

While this chapter of the Mueller investigation concludes for Papadopoulos, his testimony and information he provided as part of his plea deal could mean trouble for others in Trump's circle, including Mr. Trump himself. Pinedo "made a mistake" but "had absolutely no knowledge" about who was buying the information or their motivations, his lawyer said. Jeff Sessions "appeared to also like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it".

In subsequent campaign communications, Papadopoulos was encouraged to pursue a Putin-Trump meeting.

"We don't talk politics", he said. Overall, they say Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance".

Former campaign adviser to Pres. Trump sentenced to 14 days in prison