Judge Randolph D Moss said the sentence could have been higher but he sensed "genuine remorse" from Papadopolous. "I think the judge really took everything into consideration".
He admitted past year to lying to the FBI about those contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries, false statements that prosecutors say caused irreparable harm to the investigation during its early months.
The FBI began investigating Russian's election interference after a tip that Papadopoulos had dished about his Russian connections to an Australian diplomat during a night of heavy drinking. "I was not honest, and I might have hindered the investigation".
The operatives Papadopoulos met offered him "dirt" on Hillary Clinton and "off-the-record" meetings in overtures he discussed with leaders of Donald Trump's campaign.
The former aide was the first person to be arrested as part of the special counsel's investigation.
According to a sweeping indictment this summer, Russian intelligence had stolen emails from Clinton's campaign and other Democratic groups by April 2016, the same month Papadopoulos was told by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud that Russians had told him they had "dirt" on Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails".
When the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed him in January 2017, Papadopoulos falsely claimed he had met two individuals with Russian ties before he joined the president's team in March 2016. "I don't know him", Trump said.
United States 2+2 Talks: Egos Need to be Squashed to Strengthen Ties
Known as COMCASA, this deal will allow the two countries to exchange sensitive military information quickly and securely. Pompeo denied he had anything to do with the letter.
Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday ahead of the sentencing, Trump played down his relationship with Papadopoulos.
During his sentencing hearing Papadopoulos said his case should serve as a warning to others.
Papadopoulos lied to investigators because he was "caught off-guard by an impromptu investigation" and wanted to "save his professional aspirations", his lawyers said. And, the prosecutors add, Papadopoulos has been hard for them to handle since he was arrested in July 2017.
"The president of the United States, the commander in chief, had told the world that this was fake news and a witch hunt", Breen said. Because of his loyalty to Trump, "that's the mind set going in there".
In response, defense lawyer Thomas Breen said his client was "remorseful" that his lies impeded the investigation. His case was also the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing. Mifsud left the United States and not returned, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation found him in the US on February 11, 2017, about two weeks after Papadopoulos's first interview.
Far from cooperating to energize the special counsel probe, prosecutors Jeannie Rhee, Andrew Goldstein and Aaron Zelinsky argued, Papadopoulos and his wife gave life to a false narrative about them and the seriousness of his offense.
Not only that, Papadopoulos withheld a cellphone that he used during the campaign, prosecutors said, and provided it only when asked about the phone.
Papadopoulos also made a similar claim about Sessions last week in court.