Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking a September sentencing for former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, according to a Politico report.
In a court filing obtained by Politico, Mueller asked U.S. District Court Judge Randy Moss to set Papadopoulos’ sentencing for early September. Papadopoulos faces up to five years of prison after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with foreign officials close to Russia.
Once Papadopoulos is sentenced, he can no longer be compelled to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia, which signals the counsel’s office may not need him to serve as a potential witness.
The news of a potential sentencing date for Papadopoulos comes on the heels of his wife’s appearance on Fox News begging the president to pardon him. The president has a track record of using pardons as apparent signals to communicate that his associates don’t necessarily need to cooperate with Mueller because they’ll be taken care of through Trump’s pardoning power.
Mueller’s office first began making moves toward sentencing Papadopoulos back in May, when it launched the process of preparing a pre-sentencing report. At the time, Trump associates — including loudmouth Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — downplayed the news as a sign that Mueller’s investigation was winding down.
President Trump has been unrelenting in his efforts to dismiss and discredit Mueller’s ongoing investigation, frequently tweeting about his unhappiness with the “Russian Witch Hunt.”
.@FoxNews Poll numbers plummet on the Democrat inspired and paid for Russian Witch Hunt. With all of the bias, lying and hate by the investigators, people want the investigators investigated. Much more will come out. A total scam and excuse for the Dems losing the Election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2018
“A total scam,” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.
Papadopoulos, who was the first person to plead guilty during the course of the special counsel investigation, also provided the impetus to launch the probe in the first place. During a drunken conversation with an Australian diplomat in May 2016, Papadopoulos allegedly said that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, sparking the FBI’s interest into confirming whether any Trump officials conspired with Russia. The Trump administration has since tried to downplay Papdopoulos’ role in the campaign, claiming he was little more than a “coffee boy.”