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Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos pleads guilty in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — A former campaign aide to President Donald Trump has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to one count of lying to FBI agents about the nature of his interactions with “foreign nationals” who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials. The plea was unsealed Monday.

Papadopoulos is the first person to face criminal charges that cite interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Papadopoulos was a member of the campaign’s foreign policy team. But Trump aides have said he played a limited role in the campaign and no access to Trump.

President Donald Trump says alleged misdeeds by his former campaign chairman were “years ago” and insists there was “NO COLLUSION” between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted Friday on money laundering and conspiracy charges. The indictment says money laundering occurred through “at least 2016.”

Trump reacted on Twitter Monday. He says “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”

He then added: “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

The indictments are the first arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election effort.