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'First Domino' in Mueller Probe Pleads for No Jail Time

George Papadopoulos also says Trump, Sessions seemed on board with his Putin idea
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2018 7:45 AM CDT
In this photo from President Trump's Twitter account, George Papadopoulos, third from left, sits at a table with then-candidate Trump and others at what is labeled at a national security meeting in March...   (Donald Trump's Twitter account via AP)

(Newser) – Lawyers for George Papadopoulos describe their client as the "first domino" to fall in the Robert Mueller investigation, but they say their client doesn't deserve to go to jail next week when he's sentenced for lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. The filing submitted by attorneys for the former Trump campaign adviser says he is "ashamed and remorseful," per CNN. The lawyers depict him as playing a minor role in the controversy and say he lied "to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master,” apparently referring to Trump. The Washington Post, meanwhile, notes that Papadopoulos is for the first time suggesting that Trump himself encouraged him to follow up on Papadopoulos' 2016 proposal to arrange a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

"While some in the room rebuffed George's offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it," the lawyers write. "George's giddiness over Mr. Trump's recognition was prominent during the days that followed." That contradicts Sessions' own testimony before Congress, in which he said he offered "push back" when the idea was first floated. The meeting never came to pass. As Politico notes, Papadopoulos seems to have been the first person in the Trump camp who learned that Russians had access to Democratic emails that might be useful to the campaign. He admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with a professor based in London who informed Papadopoulos about the emails, and he could get up to six months in jail. (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)

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