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Short jail sentence recommended for George Papadopoulos

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George Papadopoulos is the first person to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Donald Trump's presidential campaign

Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended that a federal judge to sentence George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide of US President Donald Trump, to up to six months in prison for lying to investigators in relation to the ongoing Russian Federation meddling probe.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating links between Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, has detailed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation missed a chance to question a London-based professor caught up in the inquiry.

"Mueller's sentencing memo says that Papadopoulos" crime was serious, and that his lies damaged the government's investigation.

His filing did not specify a particular sentence for Papadopoulos, but noted that under legal guidelines his sentence could range from no time in prison to up to six months.

In a court filing on Friday, prosecutors say Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance" to the Russian Federation investigation. Papadopoulos is set to be sentenced on September 7.

Papadopoulos never signed a formal cooperation agreement, and no promise was made to recommend a break on a sentencing. In April, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison.

The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the US during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.

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.

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Papadopoulos pleaded guilty October 5 to one count of making false statements.

It also reveals Federal Bureau of Investigation agents first interviewed Papadopoulos at the Chicago field office on January 27, 2017. "The defendant's false statements were meant to harm the investigation, and did so".

To make matters worse for Papadopoulos, the prosecutors say he has not provided significant help in their investigation.

"Instead of telling the truth, however, the defendant 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", Mueller said in the filing.

Papadopoulos' attorneys, Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley, have until August 31 to file a sentencing recommendation of their own.

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.

One of the big mysteries is who in the Trump campaign Papadopoulos may have told about the Russians allegedly possessing Clinton-related emails.

Thirty-two people have been charged by Mueller's office since it took over the investigation in May 2017.

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