Russia inquiry charges: how close does this get to Trump?

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As the news of the indictments rolled in, Trump tried to play down their significance – but the details revealed in the charge sheet are damning

On the day that Donald Trump summoned James Comey to a one-on-one dinner and asked the then FBI director to pledge loyalty, a crucial interview was taking place at the bureau. George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, was questioned about contacts with a Russia-linked professor who had offered “dirt” on election rival Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos lied during that 27 January encounter, it transpired on Monday. He is the first person to face criminal charges linked to interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year’s presidential election.

How serious are the allegations?

Related: Trump-Russia inquiry heats up as three key aides indicted

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