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In hindsight, he said in court, he recognizes that was wrong and "might have harmed the investigation".

Trump "hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did", Breen said.

Papadopoulos admitted previous year that he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about interactions in which people he thought were linked to the Russian government described Moscow having "thousands of emails" containing damaging information about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He emphasized that Papadopoulos' lies to investigators came a week after Trump's inauguration, at a time when the onetime policy aide was seeking a senior role in the administration and the president had begun dismissing the Russian Federation investigation as a lie.

Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the USA presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The sentencing judge, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss, agreed to allow Papadopoulos to surrender at a future date and to travel between now and then to NY and California, where his lawyer said he is considering relocating. "The message for all of us is to check our loyalty, to tell the truth, to help the good guys".

A federal court kept his July 2017 arrest secret for more than two months after Mueller's office argued that making it public would "significantly undermine his ability to serve as a proactive cooperator".

"I see Papadopoulos today, I don't know Papadopoulos, I don't know". Mueller's team had pushed for a six-month prison sentence, while Papadopoulos' defense had requested probation.

Moss said he gave Papadopoulos 14 days because he researched how many defendants with this type of charge resulted in prison time - and it was fewer than half.

Moss also said he thought it was important that his sentence send the public a message about the gravity of misleading and, "telling lies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on matters of grave importance to the nation". In part because Papadopoulos misled the authorities, prosecutors said in court papers, they failed to arrest a London-based professor - suspected of being a Russian operative - before he left the United States in February 2017, never to return.

More news: Ex-Trump campaign aide jailed in Russian Federation probe

But his mother Kiki Papadopoulos told reporters she believed the sentence was "very fair".

The Greek government confirmed to CNN that the meeting happened but declined to say what was discussed. "I think about it still".

Three other campaign officials - chairman Paul Manafort, deputy campaign manager Rick Gates and national security adviser Michael Flynn - either have pleaded guilty or been convicted of various crimes but none of the trio has yet been sentenced.

Trump sought to ridicule the sentence, suggesting that it was trivial accomplishment for an investigation that has cost millions since it began in May 2017 - while ignoring the 35 indictments, five guilty pleas and one trial conviction Mueller has racked up so far. Papadopoulos admitted that he lied to FBI investigators when they interviewed him. That probe was later taken over by Mueller.

Thomas Breen, an attorney representing Papadopoulos, told the court that his client made a "stupid mistake" and that his actions were "unsophisticated" and those of "a fool".

He ultimately cooperated but, Goldstein added, he "didn't come close to the standard of substantial assistance".

He said he lied not to impede investigation but "to preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master".

Within weeks, he made contact with a mysterious professor, Joseph Mifsud, who touted links to the Kremlin and introduced him to others who ostensibly had connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin - including a woman who claimed to be Putin's niece.

A pre-sentencing statement last week read: "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". Sessions' attorney Chuck Cooper said the attorney general "stands by his testimony" about his recollection of the meeting with Trump's foreign policy team. A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment after Papadopoulos' filing last week.


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