Mueller's claims about Papadopoulos and Professor Mifsud look suspect

John Solomon:
If one reads special counsel Robert Mueller’s court filings against George Papadopoulos, it’s hard not to conclude that the former Trump campaign aide lied to FBI agents to hide some sinister plot with Russia.

Now, let me be clear: I don’t condone lying to anyone, especially the FBI. But there is a much different version of events than the one spun by prosecutors in court filings, Democrats in Congress, or most reporters. An account kept from the public for more than 18 months.

It comes from one of the FBI’s primary sources in the Papadopoulos case, European professor Joseph Mifsud.

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.”

Geez, sounds more like a topic for a Miss Universe contestant’s essay on world peace than the opener of a James Bond movie.

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.

“Dr. Timofeev and I have been collaborating for a number of years on a number of geo-strategic issues, mainly pertaining to publications/training for diplomats/international experts on energy security and their implications on international relations,” Mifsud told the FBI. “After speaking to both individuals, I put them in contact with each other.”

“The intent of that ‘bridging’ was specifically of a geo-political nature and not tied in any way or form to cybersecurity,” Mifsud insisted to the FBI. “It was to create a mutual understanding on world affairs and how we can contribute to peace and stability.”

The mere fact Mifsud felt compelled, after his FBI interview, to write a follow-up email — repeatedly insisting that his contacts with Papadopoulos were innocuous — is an indication he didn’t like the way the FBI portrayed events.

In fact, at one point in his email, he bold-faced a single sentence for emphasis: “Cybersecurity was never the direct object of any of our communications.”
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There is more.

This also raises questions about the Mueller teams' claim that Papadoupolos had somehow made it difficult for them to talk to Mifsud.  For some time, I have had the impression that the case against Papadoupolos was a setup by the US involving Halper and some of the US's close allies.  Solomon also points out that Mifsud was not that hard to get a hold of even after he left the US.  They could still talk to him.  I think their biggest problem would have been getting him extradited based on such a weak fact situation.

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