“The recently released transcript of George Papadopoulos’s congressional testimony reveals a significant fact: Papadopoulos’s introduction to Joseph Mifsud—the source of the “Russia has Hillary’s emails” tip that purportedly prompted the FBI to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign—was arranged mere days after Papadopoulos announced he was joining the Trump campaign.
Saturday evening, Papadopoulos rocked Twitter with claims that “a woman in London, who was the FBI’s legal attaché in the U.K.” encouraged him “to meet Joseph Mifsud in Rome in March 2016.” These new revelations raise fresh concerns that, with the approval of the FBI, foreign governments were meddling in the 2016 election.
Mifsud has long been a focal point of those on the right attempting to disembowel the Russia collusion hoax. The basics have been known for some time.
From court documents filed in connection to Papadopoulos’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI and from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s (HPSCI) report on “Russian Active Measures,” we know that “on March 14, 2016, George met London-based college Professor Joseph Mifsud while traveling in Italy.” During that meeting, “Mifsud, then director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, claimed connections to the Russian Government.”
A week later, on March 21, 2016, Trump publicly identified Papadopoulos as one of his foreign policy advisors. Then on March 24, 2016, Mifsud traveled to London, “where he introduced George to a young woman named Olga,” telling the newly named Trump advisor that Olga was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s niece and suggesting they could arrange meetings with high-level Russian officials.
Then, continuing throughout the summer of 2016, Papadopoulos attempted “to arrange meetings between the Russian government and campaign officials,” working with Mifsud and Mifsud’s supposed Russian connections.
On April 26, 2016, Mifsud also shared a tip with Papadopoulos over a breakfast meeting in London: Mifsud told Papadopoulos “that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian government officials,” and had learned that “the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on candidate Clinton,” namely thousands of Clinton’s emails.
Papadopoulos would later repeat this conversation to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer over drinks in a London bar in May. In late July, after WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen Democratic National Committee emails, agents at the FBI’s D.C. headquarters supposedly first learned of Papadopoulos’s statement to Downer, although it remains unclear how details of the conversation made it from Downer to the FBI.
Then, on July 31, 2016, purportedly on the basis of Papadopoulos’s advanced knowledge of Russia’s possession of the stolen emails, Peter Strzok initiated the Crossfire Hurricane federal investigation of the Trump campaign. The DOJ and FBI would later seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order to surveil another Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, and the FISA application reiterated the FBI’s claim that it had launched a counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, after learning of Papadopoulos’s conversation with Downer. (Read more: The Federalist, 4/01/2019)