Papadopoulos faces jail over lies to Federal Bureau of Investigation

In a document filed late Friday, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, said the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, misled investigators about the "timing, extent and nature" of the meetings. Mifsud had told Papadopoulos the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

"The defendant lied in order to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign", the filing said.

It happened early in the investigation "when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made".

The FBI would have arrested or at least questioned an elusive Maltese professor who claimed to know in April of 2016 that Russian Federation had "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the form of "thousands" of stolen emails, but the investigators missed the professor because George Papadopoulos lied to them repeatedly.

"The defendant lied in order to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign and made his false statements to investigators on January 27, 2017, early in the investigation, when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made", Mueller said. Mifsud, who "has not returned to the United States" since February 2017, has not been publicly charged with a crime.

Papadopoulos will be sentenced on September 7.

Papadopoulos never signed a formal cooperation agreement, and no promise was made to recommend a break on a sentencing.

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Papadopoulos, who had served as a volunteer to the Trump team, traveled as an emissary from the campaign to foreign leaders in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

According to that indictment, by April 2016, the Russian intelligence operatives had already stolen emails from several Democratic groups including the Clinton campaign and were beginning to plan how they were going to release the documents.

He had also triggered the initial counterintelligence probe into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election by revealing to an Australian diplomat, during a night of heavy drinking at a London bar in May 2016, that Russian Federation had political dirt on Clinton. The Australians passed the information to the United States and, in July 2016, the FBI opened its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Papadopoulos was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he arrived at Dulles International Airport in July 2017 and charged under seal.

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.

"Had the defendant told the Federal Bureau of Investigation the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the Professor obtained the information, why the Professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it", the document says. The only defendant to be sentenced is lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to making false statements about his conversations with a former Trump campaign official. He received 30 days in prison.

  • Sonia Alvarado