Trump Mocks Light Sentence for Former Campaign Advisor George Papadopoulos

Sunday, 09 Sep, 2018

Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller said Mr. Papadopoulos lied to agents about his contacts with Russians during the campaign "to minimize both his own role as a witness and the extent of the campaign's knowledge of his contacts", according to the government's sentencing memorandum. "But there is no doubt in my mind that the judge issued what he thought was a very fair sentence".

Papadopoulos brought the idea up at a campaign meeting with Trump and future Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with Sessions later testifying before Congress that he had "pushed back" against the idea. I think the judge took everything into consideration.

He portrayed Papadopoulos as a naive young man who was "being worked by a pro", a reference to Professor Mifsud, whom he later said he believes was working for Russian Federation and trying to take advantage of his client.

Van der Zwaan had asked federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson for no jail time, and the government had asked for at least some imprisonment.

Mueller told Trump's attorneys in March he was continuing to investigate the Republican president but did not consider him a criminal target "at this point", the Washington Post reported in early April.

Thomas Breen, Papadopoulos's lawyer, admitted that his client had been "naive" and "a fool", but he also cast blame on President Trump.

By lying to investigators, Papadopoulos had made "a calculated exercise of self-interest over the national interest", said Moss. It was revealed in December that it was drunken comments by Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat that triggered the Russian Federation probe in the first place. Lawyers for Papadopoulos had requested probation, saying he lied not to impede investigation but "to preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master".

Moss noted that many similar cases resulted in probation but said he imposed a sentence of incarceration partly to send a message to the public that they can't lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the New York Times, George Papadopoulos played a key role in sparking the FBI's probe of Donald Trump's contacts with Russian Federation after he told a diplomat that Russian Federation had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Rick Gates, a former deputy campaign chairman for Trump, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators, and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

In the 16-page sentencing memo seeking leniency, his attorneys Breen, Robert W. Stanley, and Todd S. Pugh, wrote, "to say George was out of his depth would be a gross understatement". He received a sentence of 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine. They noted that he and his wife appeared frequently in the media to discuss the case.

Breen told reporters outside court, "I think we're all somewhat satisfied at this point in time that they know Russian Federation meddled in the election".

Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign, has been a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation dating back before Mueller's May 2017 appointment.

Papadopoulos said Trump gave "a sort of a nod" when he raised the idea of the meeting, but that Sessions was "actually enthusiastic" about it taking place.