George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide, could get prison time under a sentencing recommendation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller filed a recommendation with a federal judge on Friday that did not advocate a particular sentence, but noted the guidelines in the law give a range of no time to six months in prison.
Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor to Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.
As NPR's Miles Parks noted, it was the first guilty plea of the Russia probe.
"[Papadopoulos] was a 30-year-old energy lawyer best known in D.C. for getting name-dropped by Donald Trump and for reportedly embellishing his resume. ...
"The White House immediately sought to distance itself from Papadopoulos. ... Trump himself tweeted ... calling Papadopoulos a 'young, low level volunteer named George.' ...
"[But court documents] show Papadopoulos in touch with multiple 'high-ranking' campaign officials once he was brought on board, and that he met with a professor with Russian ties who had promised to provide 'dirt' on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton."
Mueller's sentencing memo says that Papadopoulos' crime was serious, and that his lies damaged the government's investigation. The document also says that, although prosecutors believed he could help the investigation and Papadopoulos "agreed to meet with the government and answer questions" before entering his guilty plea, "the defendant did not provide 'substantial assistance.' "
Papadopoulos is due to be sentenced on Sept. 7.