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Drinks with Downer set Papadopoulos towards jail

10 September 2018

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to 14 days in jail Friday for lying to the FBI in its Russian Federation probe.

On Aug. 21, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in NY to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office. The judge had planned a harsher sentence but said he was moved by Papadopolous' words of contrition.

"In some ways it constitutes a calculated exercise of self-interest over the national interest", the judge said.

Before the sentence was imposed, the former Trump aide told the court he was a "patriotic American" who made a mistake by lying. "I was not honest, and I might have hindered the investigation".

Papadopoulos tried futilely for months to arrange a meeting between top campaign aides and Russian officials.

It's all a part of Robert Mueller's investigation.

Papadopoulos has said that it was his loyalty to Trump, his career ambitions and his efforts to distance the campaign from any Russian associations that led him to lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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"He struck me as someone who was validating rumors", Papadopoulos said of his April 2016 meeting with Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who told him that Russian Federation had a cache of Hillary Clinton's emails. Mifsud left the United States and not returned, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation found him in the USA on February 11, 2017, about two weeks after Papadopoulos' first interview. Mifsud's current whereabouts are unknown, and Papadopoulos has denied telling anyone else from the president's campaign about Mifsud's claims.

In addition, they said Mr. Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance" and only came clean after he was confronted with his own e-mails, texts and other evidence. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday afternoon, Trump distanced himself from Papadopoulos.

But in a court filing last month, prosecutors said Papadopoulos ultimately did little to aid their work.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying about his communication with Kremlin-connected individuals regarding "dirt" on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Mueller's probe, but it remains unknown whether he has provided the probe with any information supporting allegations of collusion with Russian Federation. In a court filing last month, they described Papadopoulos as "ashamed and remorseful" but said he never derailed the Russian Federation investigation.

Thomas Breen, Papadopoulos's lawyer, admitted that his client had been "naive" and "a fool", but he also cast blame on President Trump. Because of his loyalty to Trump, "that's the mind set going in there".

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.

Drinks with Downer set Papadopoulos towards jail