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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller at the Justice Department headquarters in 2013. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos pleads guilty in Russia probe

After the first indictments from the Russia investigations were unsealed Monday, leading to the surrender of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a top aide Rick Gates, to the authorities, a third charge emerged amid today’s news.

In documents provided by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, the indictments revealed that George Papadopoulos, an early foreign policy adviser to candidate Trump’s 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of lying to FBI agents about a connection to a Russian professor believed to have ties with top Russian government officials.

According to court documents, the 30-year-old lower-level defendant made a false statement to the FBI in January, when he said that a conversation with the unnamed professor took place before he joined Trump’s campaign team as an adviser.

“In truth and in fact, however, defendant Papadopoulos learned he would be an advisor to the Campaign in early March,” and met with the professor days after joining the presidential campaign, the court document said.

The professor “only took interest in defendant Papadopoulos because of his status with the Campaign,” the documents added.

The guilty plea, unsealed Monday, means that Papadopoulos is the first individual to face criminal charges in the ongoing investigations into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election.