Rome

September 18, 2019 – Judicial Watch files a FOIA lawsuit for the records of FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records about FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta, who was the Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the Steele dossier (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02722)).

The suit was filed after the Justice Department and FBI failed to respond to an August 10, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:

  • All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms “Trump”, “Clinton”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and/or “conservatives.”
  • All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
  • All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.

On August 28, 2018, Bruce Ohr testified before a joint task force of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that Christopher Steele, author of the Clinton funded dossier, gave two reports from the dossier to Gaeta.

In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping — you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe — and, again, this is based on my review of my notes — that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports…”

The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.

Gaeta reportedly was authorized by then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his office in London to receive reports from the dossier

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

“The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI ‘tooth and nail’ for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump.” (Read more: September 18, 2019)

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)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testifies she was unaware of Brennan’s role in helping establish the FBI counterintelligence investigation

(…) “Page staunchly maintained that any briefings given to the White House were always about the “Russian active-measures effort” and were not in relation to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI’s name for its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump–Russia allegations.

Brennan admitted during congressional testimony that his intelligence helped establish the FBI counterintelligence investigation:

“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred.”

This admission is important, particularly since Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had previously disclosed that no official intelligence was used to open the FBI’s investigation.

Brennan’s role was highlighted again during testimony, as one representative questioning Page questioned her in relation to an Aug. 25, 2016, text message: “What are you doing after the CH brief?” CH almost certainly referred to “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Page was asked specifically about an event that occurred on the same day:

John Brennan (l) and Harry Reid (Credit: public domain)

“It’s the same day that Director Brennan is briefing Harry Reid, is why I ask. And so what you’re saying is you were unaware that Director Brennan was briefing Harry Reid that same day?”

Page said she was unaware of Brennan’s briefing to Reid. She was then asked the following:

“You give a brief on August the 25th. Director Brennan is giving a brief. It’s not a Gang of Eight brief. It is a one-on-one, from what we can tell, a one-on-one briefing with Harry Reid at that point. And it becomes apparent, based on your text messages and based on Director Comey’s emails, that you all are aware that that conversation took place. Were you aware that Director Brennan had a briefing with Harry Reid and that you expected a letter from Harry Reid?”

Page noted that she remembered the letter sent by Reid, but seemed confused as to Brennan’s involvement and possible knowledge of the Steele dossier. Worth noting is that while some within the FBI likely had parts of the dossier in July, the counterintelligence investigative team didn’t receive it until mid-September during a trip to Rome, where they met personally with Steele.

The representative, who was clearly aware of the disparity in timing, focused on precisely how Brennan might have been aware of the dossier in August:

Unidentified Representative: “So what you’re saying is, is that you had no knowledge of these potential unverified memos prior to the middle part of September in your investigation?”

Page: “That is correct, sir.”

Rep.: “OK. So on Aug. 30, you and Peter are going back and forth, and you go, ‘Here we go.’ If you’ll look at 9:44:50 on August the 30th, you go, ‘Here we go.’ And it’s referencing [the New York Times report] ‘Harry Reid Cites Evidence of Russian Tampering in the U.S. Vote and Seeks FBI Inquiry.’ Now, what happens is, and what I guess gives me a little bit of concern is, if you drop down, that if you drop down to the same day, August 30th, 9:45, it says, ‘The D’—which I assume means director—’said at the a.m. brief that Reid had called him and told him that he would be sending the letter.’

Page: “OK.”

Rep.: “So you get a brief that says, well, we got the letter, but it’s almost like it’s a coordinated effort between Harry Reid and the FBI director, because obviously, he’s briefing you.”

After a bit of back and forth, Page responded, “I don’t know what Harry Reid was told or why or what the purpose of Brennan [was.]”

The representative pressed on:

“Why would Director Brennan be aware of things that the FBI was not aware of at this particular point, when it actually would potentially involve, according to Peter Strzok’s word on January 10th of 2017, an unverified salacious set of memos?”

And then the big reveal:

Unidentified Representative: “We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid and then, obviously, we’re going to have to have conversations. Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware [of the dossier]?”

Page: “Yes, sir. Because with all due honesty, if Director Brennan—so we got that information from our source, right? The FBI got this information from our source. If the CIA had another source of that information, I am neither aware of that nor did the CIA provide it to us if they did, because the first time we—”

Rep.: “We do know there are multiple sources.”

Page: “I do know that. I do know that the information ultimately found its way lots of different places, certainly in October of 2016.  But if the CIA as early as August, in fact, had those same reports, I am not aware of—I’m not aware of that and nor do I believe they provided them to us, and that would be unusual.”

Rep.: “Were you aware that Christopher Steele had conversations or multiple conversations with Fusion GPS and others outside of just working special intel for you?”

Page: “As of August of 2016, I don’t know who Christopher Steele is. I don’t know that he’s an FBI source. I don’t know what he does. I have never heard of him in all of my life. So let me just sort of be clear. When the FBI first receives the reports that are known as the dossier from an FBI agent who is Christopher Steele’s handler in September of 2016 at that time, we do not know who—we don’t know why these reports have been generated.  We don’t know for what purpose.”

A bit later in the discussion, the representative asked another question:

Rep.: “So you don’t know whether it’s a coordinated effort to get you those documents or not at that point in September?”

Page responds, “Coordinated by whom, sir?

Rep.: “Anybody, other than a confidential human source saying, ‘Listen, I’ve got reason to be concerned and bring it to you.’ It could be coordinated by the CIA. It could have been coordinated by Fusion GPS. You don’t know.”

Page: “At the time that we received the documentation, no. What we have is the preexisting relationship with the source and the reliability of his prior reporting.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

December 20, 2017 – The transcript of FBI’s Michael Gaeta is central to Russiagate

The U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy (Credit: Department of State)

(…) “While the public has heard the story of many of the interviewees before, one of the transcripts may be the most complete account yet from a key figure in what has come to be known as “Russiagate.” Specifically, his role in allowing the now infamous Steele dossier to become the cornerstone in the FBI obtaining a FISA spy warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and by extension—under the NSA’s so-called two-hop rule—other members of the Trump campaign. That figure is FBI agent Michael Gaeta.

Gaeta was, and possibly still is, the assistant legal attaché at the United States Embassy in Rome. Until 2014, he headed the FBI Eurasian Organized Crime unit.

It was Gaeta who, reportedly on July 5, 2016, traveled to London to meet with former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier. The trip was reportedly authorized by Victoria Nuland, then-assistant state secretary for Eurasian affairs.

(…) Mifsud was regularly rubbing shoulders with heavyweights of U.S. and European intelligence and security. He taught at the Link Campus University in Rome, which, among others, taught courses on intelligence and was frequented by U.S. and European defense, law enforcement, and intelligence officials—both current and former.

As a veteran professional of his stature, Gaeta must have been familiar with Link, which is headed by former Italian interior minister Vincenzo Scotti. Gaeta’s colleague from the embassy in Rome, FBI Special Agent Preston Ackerman, even gave a presentation at Link in September 2016, according to UK political analyst Chris Blackburn, who backed up the claim with a screen shot of a Sept. 9, 2016, Facebook post about the presentation, which appears to show Ackerman as the author of the presentation.

A Sep. 9, 2016, Facebook post by Link Campus University shared by its affiliated Facebook page Scientific Intelligence. The bottom photo appears to show the author of the presentation as Preston Ackerman of the Office of the Legal Attaché in Rome

A Sep. 9, 2016, Facebook post by Link Campus University shared by its affiliated Facebook page Scientific Intelligence. The bottom photo appears to show the author of the presentation as Preston Ackerman of the Office of the Legal Attaché in Rome. (Screenshot courtesy of Chris Blackburn)

(…) A number of questions remain about Gaeta’s involvement with the dossier and the Russia investigation: What exactly did he do with the initial information from Steele in June 2016? How often was he in contact with Steele? Did he know Mifsud? The House Intelligence Committee interviewed Gaeta on Dec. 20, 2017. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/05/2018)

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)

October 2016 – Christopher Steele meets with four American officials in Rome, who raise the prospect of paying Steele to continue gathering intelligence after Election Day

Christopher Steele (Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)

“In the fall of 2016, a little more than a month before Donald Trump was elected president, Christopher Steele had the undivided attention of the FBI.

For months, the British former spy had been working to alert the Americans to what he believed were disturbing ties Trump had to Russia. He had grown so worried about what he had learned from his Russia network about the Kremlin’s plans that he told colleagues it was like “sitting on a nuclear weapon.”

He was now being summoned to Rome, where he spent hours in a discreet location telling four American officials — some of whom had flown in from the United States — about his findings.

The Russians had damaging information about Trump’s personal behavior and finances that could be used to pressure the GOP nominee. What’s more, the Kremlin was now carrying out an operation with the Trump campaign’s help to tilt the U.S. election — a plot Steele had been told was ordered by President Vladi­mir Putin.

The FBI investigators treated Steele as a peer, a Russia expert so well-trusted that he had assisted the Justice Department on past cases and provided briefing material for British prime ministers and at least one U.S. president. During intense questioning that day in Rome, they alluded to some of their own findings of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and raised the prospect of paying Steele to continue gathering intelligence after Election Day, according to people familiar with the discussion.” (Read more: Washington Post, 2/06/2018)

September 19, 2016 – Fusion GPS founder has contact with State Department official during 2016 Campaign

Glenn Simpson (Credit: Getty Images)

“One of the co-founders of the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier was in contact with a State Department official in the days before a news article was published laying out allegations contained in the salacious anti-Trump report.

Emails obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show that Glenn Simpson, an executive at Fusion GPS, contacted Jonathan Winer, who then served as State’s special envoy for Libya, on Sept. 19 and Sept. 22, 2016. That was days ahead of the publication of a Yahoo! News article that was the first story to cite information gathered by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the dossier.

Winer, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry, was a source for that article, which laid out Steele’s allegations about Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who would become the target of FBI surveillance.

The emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on TheDCNF’s behalf by Judicial Watch, show for the first time that Simpson had direct contact with a State Department official.

The emails do not mention the dossier or Steele, but they do show that Simpson was desperate to speak with Winer, a Democratic attorney who also served in the State Department during the Clinton administration.

Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, sent an email on Sept. 19, 2016 asking Winer if he was in town.

Former assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, April 27, 2016. (Credit: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

(…) Congressional investigators have looked into Winer and the State Department’s role in handling the Steele information and other intelligence used in the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign. Republicans have long been puzzled over information that flowed through Foggy Bottom prior to making its way to FBI investigators.

Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, approved a July 5, 2016, meeting between FBI Agent Michael Gaeta and Steele in Rome. Fusion GPS had hired Steele just weeks earlier to investigate President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia. The ex-MI6 officer wrote his first of 17 dossier memos on June 20, 2016. That document alleged that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/04/2019)

June 20, 2016 – Michael Gaeta, former member of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit, becomes Christopher Steele’s dossier handler

Franco Roberti, (l) Italy’s chief anti-mafia and anti-terrorism prosecutor, and Michael Gaeta, (r) an FBI agent and current Assistant Legal Attaché at the US Embassy, for “A Roundtable Discussion: The Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime Today” on October 25, 2016. (Credit: John Cabot.edu)

“A little-known FBI unit played an outsized role in allowing controversial claims by a former British MI6 spy about Donald Trump to reach the highest levels of the FBI and State Department.

The Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which was headed by Michael Gaeta at the time, specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former spy, Christopher Steele—who authored the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump—since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal, over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.

(…) Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.

It is at this point that Steele reportedly began to reconnect with his old FBI contacts from the Eurasian serious-crime division:

“In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA,” The Guardian reported. “His information started to reach the bureau in Washington.”

It’s not entirely clear if Steele met with the head of the Eurasian division, Gaeta, or another FBI agent. Either way, Steele met with Gaeta shortly thereafter in London.

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

Victoria Nuland (Credit: CBS, Face the Nation)

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the office’s of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018appearance on Face the Nation:

“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”

In September 2016, Steel would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad once again. It’s likely that the meeting contained several other FBI officials as well:

“In September, Steele went back to Rome. There, he met with an FBI team. Their response was one of ‘shock and horror,’ Steele said,” according to The Guardian. “The bureau asked him to explain how he had compiled his reports, and to give background on his sources. It asked him to send future copies.”

According to a House Intelligence Committee minority memo, Steele’s reporting didn’t reach the FBI counterintelligence team until mid-September 2016—the same time as Steele’s September trip to Rome.

There’s one other central figure in the Trump–Russia investigation who had meaningful overlap with the FBI’s Eurasian squad: former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe:

“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”

McCabe remained with the Eurasian squad until 2006, when he was moved to FBI headquarters in Washington.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/29/2018)

March 14, 2016 – George Papadopoulos is introduced to Joseph Mifsud and becomes the flashpoint of Spygate and Russiagate

“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)