Ex-Trump campaign aide jailed in Russia probe

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Washington, Sep 8 (UNI) The former Trump adviser whose remarks in a London pub sparked the USA inquiry into possible collusion with Russian Federation has been sentenced to 14 days in jail, said a BBC News report.

Memos authored by House Republicans and Democrats, now declassified, show that information about Papadopoulos' contacts with Russian intermediaries triggered the FBI's counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos was the first former Trump aide to be sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. A lawyer by training, she had become his public spokeswoman during the long months between his arrest and his sentencing.

For months, his significance in the special counsel's investigation was unclear.

Papadopoulos' attorney, Thomas Breen, went further, saying "the President of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could", by calling the investigation fake news and a witch hunt.

"I can only speak for myself, and I'm paying the price for my mistakes", he said, adding that he was not expecting a pardon and would not seek one. In the interview with The Times, Papadopoulos said he had "no recollection" of telling any Trump advisers about the emails supposedly in Russia's hands.

Kiki Papadopoulos (left), mother of former Donald Trump presidential campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, talks to reporters outside federal court Friday in Washington. He admitted to lying about those contacts to Mueller's team, which investigators said led them to miss a chance to interview the professor, Joseph Mifsud.

His attorney and the judge both emphasized how Papadopoulos had put his own ambition and the interests of Trump ahead of the needs of an investigation of national importance. The professor told Papadopoulos the Russians had "dirt" on Trump's Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails".

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said that Papadopoulos' deception was "not a noble lie" and that he had lied because he wanted a job in the Trump administration and didn't want to jeopardize that possibility by being tied to the Russian Federation investigation. But when pressed, Papadopoulos refused to completely shut the door on the possibility that the information made its way to other people on the campaign.

"14 days for $28 MILLION - $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion".

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"We were hoping for no jail time but two weeks is OK", Maria Stamatopoulos said.

Asked if Papadopoulos still remained loyal to Trump, Breen smiled wryly and paused for a beat.

"The message is for all of us to check our loyalty, to tell the truth, to help the good guys", Breen said.

Papadopoulos has asked the judge for extreme leniency.

Papadopoulos didn't have any comment after the sentencing, but had an orange "team Putin" shirt thrown at him when leaving the courthouse.

While Papadopoulos still must surrender himself and serve the two-week prison stint, he is already looking beyond it and planning a move to California to begin his new life supporting his wife's fledgling acting career. Told the campaign's priority was to improve relations with Russian Federation, within weeks Papadopoulos made contact with a mysterious professor, Joseph Mifsud, who touted links to the Kremlin. And, the prosecutors add, Papadopoulos has been hard for them to handle since he was arrested in July 2017.

Prosecutors argued that Papadopoulos' repeated lies during a January 2017 interview with investigators hampered the Russian Federation investigation at a critical moment.

A week before his sentencing, Papadopoulos' legal team took a final swipe at the administration.

Only one other criminal defendant in the Russian Federation probe has been sentenced.

Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Mueller's probe, but it remains unknown whether he has provided the probe with any information supporting allegations of collusion with Russian Federation. Van der Zwaan, who served a 30-day prison sentence, expressed little remorse during his sentencing.

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