DESPITE INCONSISTENCIES AND EMERGING EVIDENCE, GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ACCEPTED WITHOUT QUESTION
by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 18, 2019) — Page 89 of the much-anticipated “Mueller report” contains statements in direct contradiction with those made on-air by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, now the committee’s ranking member, and investigative reporter and executive vice president of video for The Hill John Solomon.
The page numbers refer to those printed at the bottom of each page rather than the number which appears as part of a total at the top-left of the PDF document as the reader scrolls through it.
At the top of page 89, Mueller related that in April 2016, then-Trump advisor George Papadopoulos was approached by one Joseph Mifsud with the claim that “he (Mifsud) learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on candidate Hillary Clinton,” which is consistent with Papadopoulos’s version of the events in a number of public interviews and his closed-door interview with members of Congress last year.
Papadopoulos and Mifsud met in London at Mifsud’s request on April 26, 2016 (p. 21 of transcript), Papadopoulos testified, after initially having been introduced to one another at the “Link Campus” in Rome (p. 14) one month prior.
Papadopoulos said he was officially announced as a member of the campaign on March 21 that year, and he appears in a much-circulated photo of campaign aides seated with Trump dated March 31, 2016.
Page 89 of the Mueller report begins:
“As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI,” the report continues, “Mifsud said that the ‘dirt’ was in the form of ’emails of Clinton,’ and that they ‘have thousands of emails.'” The statement was followed with a notation for footnote #464, which referred to paragraph 14 of Papadopoulos’s Statement of Offense generated by the U.S. Justice Department after the FBI alleged that Papadopoulos lied in response to some of its questions posed to him in the course of its Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation.
In September 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded “guilty” to the charge and was obligated to pay a $10,000 fine, complete 200 hours of community service, and spend 12 days in federal prison.
Mueller then continued, “On May 6, 2016, 10 days after that meeting with Mifsud, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton,” followed by a notation for footnote #465.
The “representative of a foreign government” is almost certainly Alexander Downer, who was then Australia’s ambassador to the UK, where Papadopoulos was living and working at the time.
In numerous interviews, Papadopoulos has acknowledged a meeting in early May with Downer at the Kensington Wine Rooms at Downer’s invitation but said he does not recall mentioning “emails” during the conversation. He described the exchange as “hostile” wherein Downer allegedly put his phone on the table with the apparent intent of demonstrating that he was recording the conversation.
According to a December 30, 2017 New York Times report, Papadopoulos’s conversation with Downer in May 2016 acted as the catalyst for the entire “collusion” investigation into the Trump campaign, which began as a counterintelligence probe but without the customary defensive briefing from the Bureau.
On Twitter Papadopoulos has said with certainty that, like Carter Page, he was the subject of a FISA warrant as a result of his work in the Israeli energy sector and that the surveillance began sometime in 2015.
In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, Papadopoulos wrote, “I never said the word ‘dirt’ to the FBI or Mueller. Where did they get this term? Downer is very exposed” [sic].
At approximately 1:45 p.m. EDT, Papadopoulos tweeted a section of page from the report confirming that “search warrants” were taken out on him to investigate whether or not he was
On Wednesday night, Solomon appeared on “Hannity” and declared, for the first time, that the Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation had its origins in the White House in early January 2016, before Trump won the Republican nomination.
Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph DiGenova, a contemporaneous guest on the program, stated, “…it all started in the White House. Barack Obama knew about this from Day One; he authorized it…” (18:37).
Footnote 465 contends that in following Papadopoulos’s interaction with the unnamed government representative at the Kensington Wine Rooms, “The foreign government conveyed this information to the U.S. government on July 26, 2016, a few days after WikiLeaks’s release of Clinton-related emails. The FBI opened its investigation of potential coordination between Russia and the Trump Campaign a few days later based on the information.”
In a “Hannity” interview on April 11, Nunes said that what the FBI considered “legal spying” began ““late 2015/early 2016,” adding, “Then you have the culmination of the ultimate spying where you have the FBI director spying on the president, taking notes, illegally leaking those notes of classified information…why? so they can appoint a special counsel to spy on an acting president again. So there’s a lot of spying and a lot of leaking…”
As head of the House Intel Committee in the 115th Congress, Nunes, other than when he was forced to recuse himself after then-ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) accused him of ethics violations, led the committee in its own investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election and any possible Trump-Russia ties. Early last year, Nunes generated a memo, which faced protests from committee Democrats, stating that after more than a year, no evidence of “collusion” or conspiracy was found.
Democrats vowed to continue their own investigation and, now that they lead all House committees, have said they are certain “collusion” occurred and vowed to identify other possible crimes allegedly committed by the president when he led the Trump Organization.
On Thursday evening, Papadopoulos tweeted, “The president should sanction Australia for interfering in our election. Clinton errand boy, Alexander Downer, was spying on me and recording our conversation. Congress has the transcripts. This meeting was about my ties to Israel, just like Halper wanted to meet about too.”
An editorial Papadopoulos wrote, published in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, is headlined, “The Russia Probe Started With the Spies Who Marked Me” and begins, “The attorney general should question the three men known to have snooped on the Trump campaign.”
An Australian report mentioning the meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer published Thursday reported, contradicting the Mueller report, that “Former high commissioner Alexander Downer reportedly met with Trump adviser George Papadopoulos in London in December 2017, which is when Mr Papadopoulos told Mr Downer he had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.”
The same article stated, “Mr Downer acknowledged in an interview with The Australian newspaper last year he met with Mr Papadopoulos at a London bar and said Mr Papadopoulos told him Russia had damaging material on Mr Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton.”
By December 2017, Papadopoulos had already taken a “guilty” plea, was living in the United States, and was awaiting sentencing. during his closed-door congressional interview, Rep. Mark Meadows appears to have suggested that “transcripts” of Papadopoulos’s conversations in Europe exist and were not disclosed to Papadopoulos before he accepted the plea (pp. 30, 219).
On October 23, 2018, two days before Papadopoulos’s interview, Solomon reported:
Just weeks after the FBI opened a dramatic counterintelligence probe into President Trump and Russia, one of his presidential campaign advisers emphatically told an undercover bureau source there was no election collusion occurring because such activity would be treasonous.
George Papadopoulos says his spontaneous admission to London-based professor Stefan Halper occurred in mid-September 2016 — well before FBI agents and the Obama Justice Department sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to collect Trump campaign communications in the final days before the election.
The Mueller report accepts the FBI’s claim that the Trump-Russia investigation was launched on July 31, 2016 as well as established truth the statements made by former FBI James Comey, whose firing on May 9, 2017 appears to have spurred the “obstruction of justice” allegation against Trump.
According to a memo Comey wrote after a meeting with Trump, he assured Trump he was not personally under investigation, a statement which proved untrue.
Pages 11 and 12 of the report appear to confirm Papadopoulos’s frequently-made claim that he, Trump’s first national-security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret); Paul Manafort and Carter Page were subjects of FISA warrants and that the information is contained in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s August 2 modified directive to Mueller as to the scope of the Russia investigation.
Parts of the August 2 memo have remained classified despite demands made to Rosenstein from Congress for its release.
Papadopoulos has also urged Trump to release the classified documents.
Updated, April 19, 2019, 7:46 a.m. EDT
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.