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30 Oct, 2017 14:53

Former Trump campaign aide lied to FBI agents - DOJ

Former Trump campaign aide lied to FBI agents - DOJ

A former Trump campaign aide pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents during the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, the Department of Justice said Monday.

Attorney George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents in the probe examining allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 US presidential election.

Papadopoulos “made material false statements and material omissions during an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that took place on January 27, 2017,” said the complaint. He allegedly mislead the investigators “about the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”

According to the authorities, the campaign aide made numerous false statements and omitted material facts regarding the extent, timing, and nature of his communications with an “overseas professor” said to have “substantial connections” to Russian government officials; a female Russian national; and a man who “told defendant Papadopoulos he had connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).” The three individuals were not named.

Papadopoulos allegedly met the professor in London on April 26, 2016, where the professor said he had just met with high-level Russian government officials who told him that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails.”

Though the adviser continued to pitch meetings with Russian officials, the “trip proposed by defendant Papadopoulos did not take place,” the indictment says.

The charges against Papadopoulos were unsealed on Monday, after the announcement that a federal grand jury had indicted Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his former business associate, Richard Gates, on 12 counts over lobbying for the former government of Ukraine. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges. None of the charges touches on Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign or the 2016 presidential election.

The Washington Post had reported in August that Papadopoulos had offered to set up meetings between Russian officials and top Trump campaign officials. Manafort, co-chairman Sam Clovis, and campaign adviser Admiral Charles Kubic (USN, retired) all opposed the suggestions, according to the New York Daily News.