On Oct. 28, 2013, President Barack Obama and James Comey participate in the installation ceremony for Mr. Comey as FBI director at the bureau’s Washington headquarters. PHOTO: CHARLES DHARAPAK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
George Papadopoulos is an interesting character. After the Steele dossier started to fall apart, he was immediately latched onto as the real reason the investigation into the Trump campaign started. We heard this claim as recently as this past week by Fox News’ Chris Wallace in what was a desperate attempt to deflect from the reality of the Mueller report.
That claim is problematic for a lot of reasons, namely the timeline in question. Margot Cleveland over at The Federalist has a new article laying out that series of events, as well as a new bombshell claim by Papadopoulos.
First, let’s start with the initial timeline, which centers around a meeting with a man named Joseph Mifsud.
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.
It was that meeting with Joseph Mifsud that would eventually be used as the excuse for why it was proper to investigate the Trump campaign during 2016. That’s all very convenient and the fact that Papadopoulos was encouraged to have that meeting points to him being set up.
In April of 2016, Mifsud would tell Papadopoulos that the Russians had obtained dirt on Hillary Clinton via her emails. From there, that conversation was shared with an Australian diplomat. That was the hook Peter Strzok needed.
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.
As Margot explains in her piece, critics of the investigation have long suspected Mifsud was a plant. In fact, Papadopoulos wouldn’t have even been in Italy for Mifsud to run into him if not for an invitation to something called the “Link Campus.” That invitation was extended by people who knew he was going to join the Trump campaign. To this point, we’ve had lots of dots but still a few connections to make.
That may have changed with a new assertion by Papadopoulos, which has him now pointing directly back at the FBI as the catalyst for his meeting with Mifsud.
To be clear: a woman in London, who was the FBI’s legal attaché in the U.K., and had a personal relationship to Bob Mueller after 9/11, encouraged me to meet Joseph Mifsud in Rome in March 2016 and introduced Bruce Ohr to the top U.K. prosecutor 4 days before the Trump tower mtg.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 30, 2019
Per Margot’s article, this starts to drop the final pieces into place regarding exactly what happened here.
Mifsud has long been suspected of holding the key to efforts to target the Trump campaign. But Papadopoulos’s testimony and his tweet now implicate the amorphous London Centre for International Law Practice and the FBI in the plot to put Papadopoulos in contact with Mifsud. From there, Mifsud had but to groom Papadopoulos with promises of Russia connections that would allow him to shine in his new role as a foreign policy advisor to Trump.
It worked, and Mifsud’s supposed tip about the Russian hacking provided the FBI the pretext necessary to launch a full investigation into the Trump campaign for supposedly colluding with Russia.
To be frank, there’s no way this is all a coincidence. All roads lead back to the FBI setting up Papadopoulos because they were looking for any way to investigate the Trump campaign. It’s also improbable that the Obama administration was in the dark about this.
Now, Papadopoulos is going public and is vowing to fight what happened to him.
After sending informants, wire taping me, issuing a FISA on me, sending honey pots, arresting me in a savage like manner, had the British and Australians spy on me, I FINALLY got charged because I forgot when I met someone a year before the Comey FBI came knocking. Time to fight.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) April 1, 2019
Full disclosure, he’s got a new book coming out. That adds a level of skepticism here, but we will find out just how serious he is soon enough. If he truly believes he was set up, it’s time to put out every piece of evidence he has. He’s also making claims that he was originally targeted for ties to Israel, leading to the contacts with characters like Halper and Mifsud. Given the Obama administration’s hostile nature to Israel, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they were used a pretext to first target Papadopoulos.
There was a separate investigation on me that predates the Carter Page FISA that involves my ties to Israel. I explain in my book how that target on me attracted assets like Halper, Downer, Mifsud, CIA and DIA officials stationed in London and Athens. This is a big reveal coming.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 31, 2019
Papadopoulos as the catalyst for the Trump investigation never made any sense and always seemed like a convenient excuse to do what the FBI already wanted to do. He was a low-level player. He was clearly trying to raise his profile in political circles by dealing with Mifsud, not acting as a foreign asset. Worse, the FBI thought so little of Papadopoulos that they didn’t even bother to interview him until over a year later, well after Trump’s election. That’s not how you handle someone who’s supposedly at the center of your investigation.
The media, including hosts like Chris Wallace, who continue to peddle this nonsense do their viewers a disservice. Their reflexive response to always defend the FBI and ignore the mountain of evidence that misconduct went on only further hurts their credibility.
We still have a coming IG report on all this that may reveal more. We also have new probes going on with the goal of getting to the bottom of exactly what happened here. It’s time the public were made aware of just how far the FBI were willing to go in 2016 to handicap Donald Trump.