Mueller: Papadopoulos could face brief prison time

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended in a court filing late on Friday that a judge sentence former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to federal agents investigating whether Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Papadopoulos reportedly bragged about that offer to an Australian diplomat, who then tipped off the FBI and launched that agency's counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

George Papadopoulos cooperated with the government, the recommendation filed in D.C. federal court said, but he did not provide "substantial assistance", and he was also interviewed by a news outlet before meeting with the government.

In a court filing on Friday, prosecutors say Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance" to the Russian Federation investigation.

Sentencing is due to take place on 7 September.

The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the USA during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.

But Papadopoulos, according to Mueller, repeatedly denied that he interacted with the professor before to joining the campaign team.

The recommended sentence of zero to six months matches what Mueller's team already agreed to suggest to the judge in this case. They reminded Papadopoulos several times in that interview that he should not lie and could be prosecuted if he did, the filing said.

The professor is alleged to have told Mr Papdopoulos that the Russians possessed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails, before those emails became public.

Mifsud was not named in the court filing Friday night, but CNN learned the name of the mysterious "Professor" after Papadopoulos' guilty plea became public a year ago.

One of the big mysteries is who in the Trump campaign Papadopoulos may have told about the Russians allegedly possessing Clinton-related emails.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last October to one count of making false statements, admitting in court papers that he lied about the nature of his interactions with "foreign nationals" he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials. The Australians passed the information to the United States and, in July 2016, the FBI opened its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. He exchanged emails with top officials during the campaign and presidential transition, including former top adviser Stephen Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The campaign aide, who the Trump team has tried to characterize as nothing more than a "coffee boy", had "lied in order to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign and made his false statements to investigators on January 27, 2017, early in the investigation, when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made".