Special counsel Robert Mueller is recommending a judge sentence one-time Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in jail for lying to the FBI, a request that factors in his pledge to cooperate with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, according to documents filed with the court.
The sentencing memorandum also reveals Papadopoulos said he received roughly $10,000 in cash "from a foreign national whom he believed was likely an intelligence officer of a foreign country (other than Russia)".
Papadopoulos - a Chicago-based global energy lawyer - is one of three ex-Trump campaign officials who have admitted lying to investigators, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and businessman Richard Gates, who served as deputy campaign chairman.
They said Papadopoulos" initial lies hindered investigators' ability to effectively question, challenge or detain a London professor who Papadopoulos said first told him that Russians had "dirt " on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails.
But according to Mueller in the court document, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation sat Papadopoulos down for a two-hour interrogation on January 27, 2017, the former Trump adviser "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", according to a report by Politico. He tried "to minimize the extent and importance of his communications" and lied about when they started - after he joined the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser.
Now, Mueller has recommended that Papadopoulos see some time in prison. Most immediately, those statements substantially hindered investigators' ability to effectively question the Professor when the Federal Bureau of Investigation located him in Washington, D.C. approximately two weeks after the defendant's January 27, 2017 interview.
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But Papadopoulos knew he had a role in the campaign when he started conversing with Mifsud in March 2016 - and the professor "showed interest in the defendant only after learning of his role on the campaign", the filing said.
The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the USA during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.
One of the big mysteries is who in the Trump campaign Papadopoulos may have told about the Russians allegedly possessing Clinton-related emails.
The diplomat passed along the information to USA officials, setting the investigation into motion.
The prosecutors' filing came after an unusual public campaign in conservative media this week by Papadopoulos' wife in which she asked for new attorneys and suggested he tear up his plea deal and face trial.