Mueller Moves Toward Sentencing George Papadopoulos

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving closer to sentencing George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian nationals and a mysterious Maltese professor.

Mueller filed notice in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday asking for the preparation of a pre-sentence investigation report, a standard document that judges use to determine criminal sentences.

The report will be provided by June 22, Mueller said.

The filing suggests that Mueller is finished using Papadopoulos as a cooperating witness. Papadopoulos, 30, agreed to cooperate with the investigation as part of an Oct. 5, 2017 plea deal.

In the plea, Papadopoulos acknowledged that he lied to FBI agents during a Jan. 27, 2017 interview about his contacts with Joseph Mifsud, a professor who may have links to the Russian government.

Papadopoulos lied when he told agents that he was in contact with Mifsud and two Russian nationals prior to joining the campaign in March 2016. The Trump aide actually met Mifsud on March 14, 2016, just a week before President Trump identified Papadopoulos as a member of his national security advisory team.

Papadopoulos and Mifsud attempted to arrange meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russian government officials. Those meetings never materialized.

Papadopoulos acknowledged in his initial FBI interview that Mifsud brought up the topic of Hillary Clinton emails during an April 26, 2016 meeting in London. Mifsud said that he had learned from people in the Russian government that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails.

It is still unclear whether Papadopoulos told others on the Trump campaign about his conversation with Mifsud. But sources familiar with his private conversations say that he denies seeing, handling or disseminating pilfered Clinton documents. He has also privately denied taking part in any collusion scheme with the Russian government. (RELATED: In Private, Trump Aide George Papadopoulos Denies Collusion)

Papadopoulos’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment about Mueller’s new filing.

All eyes will be on Mueller’s investigative report and his sentencing recommendation, which could range from a suggestion of between zero and six months’ jail time.

Papadopoulos will be the second target of the Mueller probe to face sentencing. Alex van der Zwaan, a former associate of Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, was sentenced to 30 days in jail on April 3 for lying to the FBI. Van der Zwaan acknowledged lying about his contacts with Gates about work he did on a Ukrainian consulting project. (RELATED: Dutch Lawyer Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail For Lying To Mueller)

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