One of the central figures to the Russian-collusion narrative is Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud. He is the man that helped allegedly jumpstart the counterintelligence investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign when he allegedly told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, including her emails.
In Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the investigation, Mifsud is portrayed as being intimately connected to the Putin regime in Russia. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have similarly portrayed Mifsud as a “cutout” who gave Papadopoulos information on behalf of the Russians in order to influence the 2016 election.
But as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote in a letter sent to the U.S. State Department and the CIA last Friday, if Mifsud is the dangerous liaison Mueller made him out to be, then many more Western politicians have been compromised, as many have had their own contact with the professor.
“Alternatively, if Mifsud is not in fact a counterintelligence threat, then that would cast doubt on the Special Counsel’s fundamental depiction of him and his activities, and raise questions about the veracity of the Special Counsel’s statements and affirmations,” Nunes wrote.
“It should be noted that the Special Counsel declined to charge Mifsud with any crime even though, to justify seeking a prison sentence for Papadopoulos, the Special Counsel claimed Papadopoulos’ untruthful testimony ‘undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor [Mifsud] or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States,’” Nunes continued. “Furthermore, it’s still a mystery how the FBI knew to ask Papadopoulos specifically about Hillary Clinton’s emails, on multiple occasions throughout 2016-17 before having interviewed Mifsud, if the FBI hadn’t already somehow received this information directly or indirectly from Mifsud himself.”
Nunes included in his letter photos of Mifsud with British politician Boris Johnson, member of the Italian military, and a former member of the United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee. Mueller’s report also explains that Mifsud met Papadopoulos at Link Campus University, described as “a for-profit institution headed by a former Italian government official.” As Nunes wrote, the report “omits” additional information about the university, which a Guardian report cited by Mueller’s team claimed the school “had a reputation for being closely connected to some elements within the Italian intelligence services.” Mifsud, the article quoted someone saying, collaborated regularly with the university.
This contradiction in Mueller’s report should remind us of another problem with the final report, as described by The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland (full disclosure: I also have a byline at The Federalist). Cleveland pointed out that “Not once in the 448-page tome does Mueller mention an investigation into whether Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele misinformation.” That dossier has been the “evidence” for many of the media and Democrats’ claims of collusion between Trump and Russia.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI when he told him in January 2017 that he had the meeting with Mifsud before he joined the Trump campaign. It was Papadopoulos’ April 26, 2016 meeting with Mifsud – which he told FBI agents about – where he learned the Russians allegedly had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Weeks later, Papadopoulos would tell Australian diplomate Alexander Downer about this gossip, which has been reported as the event that sparked the investigation into the campaign.
The Daily Caller reported that Papadopoulos has said he never told anyone on Trump’s campaign about what Mifsud told him, and Mueller’s report makes clear there’s no evidence to contradict those claims.