Ivan Timofeev

July 23, 2019 – Durham’s team reaches out to Mifsud to review a deposition he gave last year that suggests he was instructed to put Papadopoulos in touch with Russians

United States attorney for Connecticut, John H. Durham (Credit: Bob Child/The Associated Press)

“While most of the political world focused its attention elsewhere, special prosecutor John Durham’s team quietly reached out this summer to a lawyer representing European academic Joseph Mifsud, one of the earliest and most mysterious figures in the now closed Russia-collusion case.

An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.

(…) For those who don’t remember, Mifsud is a Maltese-born academic with a VIP Rolodex who frequented Rome and London for years and engaged at the highest levels of Western diplomatic and intelligence circles.

Mueller’s team alleges that Mifsud is the person who fed a story in spring 2016 to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos about Moscow possessing purloined emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the earliest known contact in the now-debunked collusion narrative and the seminal event that the FBI says prompted it on July 31, 2016, to open its probe into the Trump campaign.

Joseph Mifsud is introduced as the Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, by Dr. Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation in May, 2016. (Credi: Valdai Club/YouTube)

Mueller concluded that Mifsud was a person with extensive Russia ties who planted the story about the Clinton emails in Moscow and then lied about his dealings with Papadopoulos when interviewed by the FBI in 2017. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud.

(…) Conservative defenders of President Trump, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have raised recent concerns that Mueller’s portrayal of the Mifsud-Papadopoulos contacts doesn’t add up.

Roh told me the information he is preparing to share with Durham’s team from his client will accentuate those concerns.

Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016, Roh told me.

May 2019 letter from Nunes to U.S. intelligence officials corroborates some of Roh’s account, revealing photos showing that the FBI conducted training at Link in fall 2016 and that Mifsud and other Link officials met regularly with world leaders, including Boris Johnson, elected today as Britain’s new prime minister.

A few days after the March dinner, Roh added, Mifsud received instructions from Link superiors to “put Papadopoulos in contact with Russians,” including a think tank figure named Ivan Timofeev and a woman he was instructed to identify to Papadopoulos as Vladimir Putin’s niece.

Mifsud knew the woman was not the Russian president’s niece but, rather, a student who was involved with both the Link and LCILP campuses, and the professor believed there was an effort underway to determine whether Papadopoulos was an “agent provocateur” seeking foreign contacts, Roh said.

The evidence, he told me, “clearly indicates that this was not only a surveillance op but a more sophisticated intel operation” in which Mifsud became involved.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/23/2019)

November 1, 2017 – In an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, Mifsud says he “acted as a mediator but I am Clinton and left”

From the Italian newspaper, la Repubblica, and translated:

The article is titled: The Russian-Trump contact prof: “It is true, I acted as a mediator but I am Clinton and left”

Joseph Mifsud (Credit: The Associated Press)

(…) “Joseph Mifsud is the Maltese lecturer – who according to the Russiagate inquiry – would have approached George Papadopoulos, Trump’s advisor during the electoral campaign, opening the doors of the Kremlin for a meeting between Trump himself and Putin; and offering him the “dirt”, the infamous information, collected by the Russians in the account of Hillary. “Nonsense. Friendship is friendship, but what Papadopoulos said is not true,” says Mifsud. “All I’ve done is foster relationships between unofficial sources, and between official and non-official sources, to resolve a crisis. It is done all over the world. I have put think-tanks in contact with think-tanks”, expert groups with other experts, he says.

Every ten words he mentions an international body to which he belongs, an institution he runs, a congress that they asked him to chair. He collaborates openly with Russian and American, Iranian and Saudi experts and institutions. “I am a member of the European council on foreign relations”, and was among the executives of the London center for international law practice.

“But do you know which is the only foundation of which I am a member? The Clinton Foundation, think a little. Between us, my thoughts are on the left. But I had expected Trump to win as I had foreseen Brexit, and in the I keep my work equidistant. I don’t understand this fury, these stupid accusations: we all want peace. When governments don’t talk, we citizens must keep talking. ”

Well. But the emails stolen from Hillary Clinton? The “dirt” offered to Papadopoulos? “I don’t know anything about it. I absolutely exclude having talked about secrets about Hillary. I swear on my daughter. I don’t know anyone from the Russian government apparatus: I knew only Russian Ivan Timofeev, director of a Moscow think-tank (the Russian International affairs) council) “. Which has its seat in the Russian Foreign Ministry, yes, but this, says the professor, “means nothing”.

Mifsud claims that he and Papadopoulos saw each other three or four times. “He came here to Italy, to Rome, with seven other international relations experts from the London Center of International Law Practice. We were at dinner, and I don’t remember if it was on that occasion that he told me he would enter Trump’s electoral campaign. to converse, by e-mail and on subsequent occasions when we met. But let me be clear: it was not the Russians who asked me for a meeting with Papadopoulos, he asked me for contacts in various areas, I proposed him the Gulf, an afterthought for the cracks that now I am in front of everyone: many diplomats from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Oman are my students, then I offer them Latin America, a topic of great interest to Trump who spoke of a wall with Mexico. And I offered him Russia and the European Council. Their choice was Russia. They were interested in sanctions, NATO, Ukraine and the stabilization of the relationship with Russia, a subject on which even the Russians were very sensitive.

The professor says that he understood what the Russians thought of the imminent future while he was in Moscow, during a meeting: “I don’t speak Russian, but the translator helped me and during a break, at the bar where the real themes are usually faced, he realized that they were very skeptical about the possibility of a change, with both Hillary and Trump, and I also talked to the Russian foreign minister, Lavrov, when the EU changed presidency: the new group of commissioners would reopen a window of opportunity that was close with Barroso. I suggested to the Foundations to keep talking, and the way was always Timofeev. He is a friend, he writes books, he is relatively young, I have also invited him to Italy. I have no qualms about speaking well of him. secret agent, eh! Never took a penny from the Russians: my conscience is clean “.

Great. But then he presented to Timofeev “Putin’s niece”, which Putin’s nephew was not. “She is a simple student, very beautiful. As with many other students, I introduced her to the London Center where Papadopoulos was, and I learned that he showed her a very different interest from the academic one. He suggested that she go with him on America. Putin had nothing to do with it, a beautiful and good invention. ” A bit like Mubarak’s niece? Mifsud laughs: “What nonsense, yes. I put my hand on the fire that this girl has nothing to do with the Kremlin or the services. Anyway, I’ve already talked to the FBI, when the State Department invited me to a congress on Capitol Hill ” (la Repubblica, 11/01/2017)

February 11, 2017 – Professor Joseph Mifsud tells the FBI his contacts with Papadopoulos were mostly innocuous

George Papadopoulos (l) and Professor Joseph Mifsud meet in Rome, March 14, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

(…) “Documents I obtained from sources show Mifsud told the FBI in February 2017 that his contacts with Papadopoulos a year earlier, during the 2016 presidential campaign, were mostly innocuous. He made that point both in an FBI interview and a follow-up email to agents.

He described the contacts as an academic exercise in pursuit of peace, not a global plot to hijack the election. And he went out of his way to say there was no talk of sinister cybersecurity intentions such as a plot to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“I reaffirm that the content of our conversations was always on wide geo-strategic issues,” he wrote FBI agents on Feb. 11, in an email that was quickly sent to the very top of the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Mifsud sent the email just hours after agents interviewed him

He said the conversations mostly centered around “how the Trump then-campaign team looked to develop a conversation on Europe/UK … and with Russia” and “the fallout in policy in the deteriorating relationship between the major countries in the world today.”

(…) “Mifsud acknowledged he introduced Papadopoulos to a contact in Russia, whom he identified as Dr. Ivan N. Timofeev, who he described as “a director of a think tank in Moscow with strong links with a number of U.S. institutions.”

But, again, he stressed the contacts were mostly academic in nature.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/29/2018)