- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2018

President Trump’s former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos deserves to spend up to six months in prison for lying to FBI agents investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 race, special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Friday.

Filed ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 7, the special counsel said that Mr. Papadopoulos should be incarcerated in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines when he learns his fate next month before District Judge Randolph Moss in D.C. federal court.

“The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable Guidelines range of 0 to 6 months’ imprisonment, is appropriate and warranted,” Mr. Mueller wrote in a 10-page sentencing memorandum.

“The defendant’s crime was serious and caused damage to the government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the special counsel continued, adding that Mr. Papadopoulos repeatedly lied to FBI agents about his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the presidential campaign.

Attorneys representing Mr. Papadopoulos declined to comment on the filing when reached by The Washington Times and said they would respond in court.

Brought aboard the Trump campaign in March 2016, Mr. Papadopoulos landed on the FBI’s radar as a result of his contacts with a London-based professor, Joseph Mifsud, weeks after joining as a foreign policy adviser. The professor told Mr. Papadopoulos that Russians had amassed “dirt” on Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails,” and Mr. Papadopoulos later lied to FBI agents about the “timing, extent and nature” of his subsequent conversations on the subject, Mr. Mueller wrote in the court filing.

Russian hackers stole thousands of emails from the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign, according to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, and Mr. Mueller is leaving the FBI’s investigation into Moscow’s alleged election meddling, including any possible ties between Russia and Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

By misleading investigators, Mr. Papadopoulos “negatively affected the FBI’s Russia investigation, and prevented the FBI from effectively identifying and confronting witnesses in a timely fashion,” Mr. Mueller added.

“The sentence imposed here should reflect the fact that lying to federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance, after having been explicitly warned that lying to the FBI was a federal offense. The nature and circumstances of the offense warrant a sentence of incarceration.”

Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to one count of making false statements. He turns 31 this weekend, he tweeted Friday.

Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 race.


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