WAS MIFSUD PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL PLOT TO FRAME THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 12, 2019) — On Saturday evening, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos tweeted that an Australian intelligence official met with the mysterious Maltese professor who told Papadopoulos in April 2016 that Russians had possession of Hillary Clinton’s emails, a key event in what became the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign.
The professor, Joseph Mifsud, was reported by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team to have ties to Russia, but several Republican congressmen have strongly suggested that he has been a Western intelligence asset for some time.
In his book, Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump published last year, Papadopoulos described more than a half-dozen unsolicited overtures made to him by Mifsud, then-Australian ambassador to the UK Alexander Downer, two FBI agents stationed in London, CIA-linked Cambridge University Prof. Stefan Halper, and Halper’s purported assistant, “Azra Turk,” who reportedly made romantic gestures in what Papadopoulos believed was an effort to glean information from him about the Trump campaign.
Turk has more recently been described as an “undercover” FBI asset, although Papadopoulos has said he believes she was working for the CIA at the time.
Downer, who met with Papadopoulos in early May 2016 in a London bar, reportedly shared with the FBI that the then-28-year-old volunteer Trump foreign-policy adviser and professional European energy consultant had told him that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton, who would be Trump’s Democratic presidential opponent in the presidential election.
Papadopoulos has claimed in several interviews that he does not recall mentioning Clinton’s “emails” to Downer, but Downer’s report to the FBI reportedly gave rise to “Crossfire” based on the premise that the Trump campaign was “colluding” with Russian-government operatives to win the election.
The FBI claims the investigation began on July 31, 2016, but former House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes has said he believes it was launched in late 2015 or early 2016, supported by reporting by investigative journalist John Solomon.
On Saturday Papadopoulos first tweeted:
Breaking: Mark Ryan, exDirector of Australia’s Underwater Acoustic Intelligence Agency, and Alexander Downer’s former chief of staff, was meeting with Joseph Mifsud a couple weeks before he drops the “info” on me! Looks like Mifsud was in on it with Aust. Bad news for Australia!“
In tweets over approximately the last year, Papadopoulos has urged the Trump administration to investigate the intelligence agencies of Italy, the UK, Australia and the Ukraine for their alleged involvement in spying on the campaign and to release classified documents stemming from the FBI’s probe, which later was handed to Mueller for another 22 months.
Mueller’s team concluded that there was insufficient evidence that anyone from the campaign, or any American, for that matter, coordinated with Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
About an hour after his first tweet, Papadopoulos wrote, invoking the name of former FBI Director James Comey in what he said was a “groundbreaking” announcement, “Jim Comey and Joseph Mifsud were meeting the same Australian intel officials days before I was introduced to Joseph Mifsud in Rome…”
Approximately an hour after that, Papadopoulos added:
As of press time, Papadopoulos has not elucidated on the “evidence” he claims to have of the alleged meeting(s) in Australia. In previous tweets, he claimed that his closed-door testimony to members of Congress last year acted as a catalyst for the launch of an “investigation of the investigators” by the Trump Justice Department earlier this year.
Papadopoulos’s claim is supported by a foreword in his book by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC11), who wrote:
“George Papadopoulos was the whole reason for the Trump Russia investigation.”