Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been accused of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in violation of his plea agreement, Manafort refutes the allegation, and elusive "Russian collusion" still nowhere in sight.
One way of looking at the Manafort news is that it presents a major opportunity for the special counsel to speak on a number of aspects of the investigation through a court filing - something that Mueller has already been doing.
"The government will file a detailed sentencing submission ... that sets forth the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement herein", Mueller's team said in a court filing late Monday.
"A breach relieves the government of any obligations it has under the agreement".
Manafort's lawyers say they believe he provided truthful information.
Manafort's attorneys said in the same filing submitted to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington that Manafort had met with the government on several occasions and made "an effort to live up to his cooperation obligations".
Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy and witness tampering on September 14, nearly a year after he was first charged and following his conviction by a jury in a separate but related case on eight tax and banking crimes. Monday's filing in Washington federal court was eagerly anticipated after the sides sought a 10-day extension to report on Manafort's cooperation - a tight window that led some observers to speculate that Manafort had delivered information that could lead to charges against others in Trump's circle.
Papadopoulos was an obscure oil industry analyst when he joined the Trump campaign's foreign policy advisory team in March 2016.
The conventional wisdom among legal experts seems to be that Manafort did not care about telling the truth because he's going all in on President Donald Trump pardoning him.
One, a mysterious professor by the name of Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos that Moscow had dirt on Trump's election rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump denies any campaign collusion and calls the investigation a political witch hunt. In return, prosecutors agreed to not bring additional charges against him and to ask a judge for a reduction of his sentence if he provided "substantial assistance".
But immediately after that, Papadopoulos declared he had been entrapped by U.S. and foreign intelligence services and alleged that Mifsud was a CIA operative who was part of a broader campaign to damage Trump.
Manafort, 69, was thought to be a star witness in the probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation, given his knowledge of President Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
Because of this reported breach, Mueller is prepared to move on to the sentencing phase of the case against Manafort, who has been found guilty on multiple financial crimes and pleaded guilty to others, which involve his work for a Ukrainian politician with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As part of his plea agreement, Manafort also agreed to forfeit five properties he owned in NY, including his apartment at Trump Tower and his sprawling estate in the Hamptons.