'The President of the United States Hindered This Investigation': George Papadopoulos' Lawyer Lays into Trump at Sentencing
George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, was sentenced to 14 in prison Friday for lying to federal investigators as a part of the ongoing Russia investigation carried out by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Having previously pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI about his contacts with Russia agents offering dirt on Hillary Clinton to the campaign, Papadopoulos expressed remorse for his actions and received a more lenient sentence as a result.
At one point, Thomas Breen, Papadopoulos' lawyer, presented a curious line of argument for leniency during the sentencing. While his client had misled the FBI, he argued, he did so in an environment where Trump himself was casting doubt on the investigation.
"The president of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could," Breen said.
It's stunning enough to have a former campaign aide to the president of the United States sentenced as part of a foreign counterintelligence investigation. For the aide's own lawyer to essentially accuse the president of a greater effort to obstruct justice was astounding.
Papadopoulos has said that it was his loyalty to Trump, his career ambitions and his efforts to distance the campaign from any Russian associations that led him to lie to the FBI.
“He was seeking to assist himself in a way that placed his own personal interest above the interest of the United States,” the judge said at the sentencing, as quoted by lawyer and reporter Luppe Luppen. “He was riding very high, as Mr. Papadopoulos said to me himself, he had just come from the inauguration of the president of the United States.”