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Papadopoulos Case Ends in 2-Week Sentence

2018-09-10 16:12
A two-week prison sentence was the conclusion of the criminal case against the man who allegedly prompted the launch of an FBI investigation into the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. George Papadopoulos, once a campaign advisor to Trump, was sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $9,500 fine, and community service, for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charge almost a year ago but agreed to have his sentencing postponed multiple times. Papadopoulos lied about the timing and extent of his contacts with Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud and two Russians that Mifsud introduced him to. Mifsud had told Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016, that certain “Russians” have in their possession thousands of emails of former State Secretary Hillary Clinton, according to Papadopoulos’s guilty plea as well as the sentencing memos from both the prosecution and the defense, and Papadopoulos’s recent CNN interview. Mifsud’s claim led to the launch of the FBI counterintelligence probe of supposed Trump-Russia connections, according to the official FBI narrative. The investigation was the bureau’s justification for an extensive spying operation against the Trump campaign. Young Man in Politics In the summer of 2015, Papadopoulos, barely 28 then, tried to secure a post with the Trump campaign, but failed. He instead joined the team of Ben Carson who is now Housing Secretary. As Carson was wrapping up his failed presidential bid in January 2016, Papadopoulos landed a job that would significantly boost his resumé—director of the Centre For International Energy and Natural Resources, Law and Security at the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP). Mifsud was listed as the center’s board adviser and, since July 2016, its director of international strategic development. LCILP appears to have since removed its staff page from its website. Papadopoulos tried again to join the Trump campaign and, after an early March 2016 interview, landed the position of an advisor. On March 14, 2016, Papadopoulos was on a trip to Rome with the LCILP. There he met Mifsud, who expressed an interest in his joining the Trump team. Mifsud later told La Repubblica that he offered to provide contacts in the Arabian Gulf, in Latin America, in Russia, and in the European Council. Papadopoulos knew Trump wanted to improve relations with Russia, just as Obama and Clinton had before him. He wanted to boost his profile with the campaign by setting up a meeting with some high-level Russian officials, “mostly for a photo-op,” he told CNN. Mifsud promised to help. Empty Promises On March 24, 2016, Papadopoulos met with Mifsud in London and Mifsud introduced him to Olga Polonskaya. Mifsud claimed she was a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Papadopoulos said. The young woman used to work for a liquor wholesaler in St. Petersburg and later studied at the Link Campus University in Rome, according to Russian journalist Alexander Kalinin, who dug into her background. Mifsud taught at Link and in a 2013 mini bio was called its director of international relations. “Mifsud and Olga led George to believe that they had the wherewithal to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials,” Papadopoulos's defense team stated. On March 31, 2016, Papadopoulos attended the “National Security Meeting” at the Trump Hotel. There he pitched to Trump, then-Senator Jeff Sessions, and other campaign officials Mifsud’s offer. Some opposed the idea. Trump gave him a nod and deferred to Sessions. Sessions “appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it,” the defense stated. Sessions testified to Congress on Nov. 14 that he pushed back on Papadopoulos' proposal and told him he's not authorized to represent the campaign with any foreign government. In mid-April, Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to Ivan Timofeev, a PR man of sorts in the academic world for the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry. “George pressed [Timofeev] through emails and Skype calls about setting up a potential meeting,” the