Robert Mueller recommends prison sentence for ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos

Now, Mueller has recommended that Papadopoulos see some time in prison.

The filing recommends that Papadopoulos spend at least some time in jail and pay a almost $10,000 fine.

In a signed plea agreement October 5, Papadopoulos, 31, and prosecutors agreed he faced zero to six months under federal guidelines if he cooperated, committed no further crimes and had no other criminal history.

Federal authorities had cornered the man they suspected could be part of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election - and they might have been more successful in their investigation in early 2017 if it had not been for George Papadopoulos, the special counsel alleged on Friday.

According to Mueller's sentencing memorandum to the judge, Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with people who claimed to have ties to top Russian officials, including his meeting with a professor who said Russia had "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

She later explained that the couple reassessed his role after learning that his contacts with the London professor Joseph Mifsud led the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

There were also specific details in the court filing about what damage Papadopoulos caused. The defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.

Prosecutors note that investigators also missed an opportunity to interview others about the professor's comments or anyone else at that time who might have known about Russian efforts to obtain derogatory information on Clinton during the campaign.

"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.

That's despite the fact prosecutors said Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance" after his guilty plea.

As NPR's Miles Parks noted, it was the first guilty plea of the Russian Federation probe.

The filing recommends that Papadopoulos spend at least some time incarcerated and pay a almost $10,000 fine. He was questioned for several days and eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Papadopoulos unwittingly played a key role in triggering the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign in Russian Federation, which the president repeatedly has denounced as a "witch hunt". In fact, information the US government received about Papadopoulos was what triggered the counterintelligence investigation in the first place. The probe was later taken over by Mueller. 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. Papadopoulos learned about the "dirt" the Russians had on Clinton the following month, after he began working for Trump, the filing said.

  • Jon Douglas