The date of a meeting, that’s all the lie was about.
George Papadopoulos claimed that a meeting he’d had with the mysterious Maltese professor, Josef Mifsud, happened slightly before the green-as-grass 28-year-old was recruited into the Trump campaign. In reality, it was slightly after.
It wasn’t a very important lie. It was of no consequence to the FBI or the special counsel’s investigation. Papadopoulos was such an afterthought that the Bureau did not bother to interview him until late January 2017 — about 10 months after he met Mifsud. By the time Papadopoulos was charged, the Trump-Russia investigation had been ongoing for well over a year — it was already clear that there was no conspiracy.
Yet that didn’t stop Mueller’s staff and Rod Rosenstein, their Justice Department superior, from indicting Papadopoulos on a felony charge. Nor did it stop them from exhorting a federal court to impose a sentence of incarceration. (The judge thought so little of the case, a prison term of 14 days was imposed.)
It wasn’t enough that prosecutors and agents had scared the bejesus out Papadopoulos by scheming to arrest him as he disembarked from a flight in the early evening – after the court was closed, ensuring that young George would spend the night in jail. The fact that he had voluntarily spoken to the feds, that he had counsel who’d made themselves and him available to Mueller’s prosecutors, that he was no flight risk – none of that counted for anything. After all, what fun would it be to call his lawyers and arrange his surrender for processing and quick release on bail? Not when government officials could flex their muscles and show him who’s boss, right?