According to the US Justice Department, the former US President Donald Trump's campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to FBI agents in the Russia probe.
"George Papadopoulos, of Chicago, Illinois, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, to making false statements to FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The case was unsealed on Oct. 30, 2017," the Justice Department statement says.
The indictment reads that Papadopoulos, who was part of Trump's advisory team during the presidential campaign, allegedly lied "about the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials."
There hasn't so far been any comment from Moscow on the issue.
According to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Papadopoulos told the FBI that he had been in contact with an unnamed London-based "professor," who allegedly had claimed to have damaging information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos told FBI investigators that his contacts with the professor occurred before he had joined Trump's campaign team, when in truth the communications had occurred afterward, according to the documents.
According to the court documents released by the US Justice Department on Monday, Papadopolous allegedly wanted to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian authorities in 2016.
"On or about March 24, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met with the Professor [individual who claimed to have substantial connections with Russian government officials] in London. The Professor brought with him a female Russian national, introduced to defendant PAPADOPOULOS as a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin with connections to senior Russian government officials," the documents read.
Following the meeting, Papadopolous emailed the Trump campaign team, saying that he had a meeting with the above mentioned individuals and stated that the topic of their discussion was "to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump."
Attorneys of George Papadopoulos have refused to speak about the existing case related to US Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"It is in the best interest of our client, George Papadopoulos, that we refrain from commenting on George's case," the statement said, adding that the lawyers would provide a comment at a later date when called by the court.
In its turn, the White House has commented on Papadopoulos' indictment yet, which comes just hours after another former member of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort was charged on 12 counts, including "conspiracy against the US" and money laundering.
Papadopoulos' role in the Trump campaign "was extremely limited," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Manafort, who worked as an advisor to Ukrainian former President, Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted during violent Maidan protests resulting in a coup in February 2014, has been charged over being engaged in a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign in the US on behalf of Kiev.
US President Donald Trump has already commented on the first charges as part of the so-called Russia probe by saying that Manafort was accused with regard to dealings he had made "years ago", prior to becoming part of his election team. He has also yet again stated that there was no collusion between his election campaign team and the Kremlin, a claim repeatedly denied by both the US president and Moscow. Russian officials have strongly refuted allegations of Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential vote, calling them "absurd."
The Russian alleged interference described by the US president as a "witch hunt" is being separately investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate.