Posted by Curt on 6 May, 2019 at 10:51 am. 5 comments already!


Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

That is what we learn from the saga of George Papadopoulos, as fleshed out by the Mueller report.

The investigative theory on which the FBI formally opened the foreign-counterintelligence probe code-named “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31, 2016, held that the Trump campaign knew about, and was potentially complicit in, Russia’s possession of hacked emails that would compromise Hillary Clinton; and that, in order to help Donald Trump, the Kremlin planned to disseminate these emails anonymously (through a third party) at a time maximally damaging to Clinton’s campaign.

There are thus two components to this theory: the emails and Russia’s intentions.

I. Papadopoulos Knew Nothing about the DNC Emails — and Probably Nothing about Any Emails

The one and only source for the email component of the story is George Papadopoulos. He, of course, is a convicted liar — convicted, in fact, of lying to the FBI during the very same interviews in which he related the detail about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report confirms that he is simply unreliable: To inflate his importance, he overhyped his credentials and repeatedly misled his Trump-campaign superiors regarding his discussions with people be believed had connections to the Russian regime — who they were and what they were in a position to promise.

Other than Papadopoulos’s own word, there is no evidence — none — that he was told about emails by Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic whom the FBI and the Mueller investigation deceptively portrayed as a Russian agent. As I’ve previously detailed, because the investigation could not establish that Mifsud was a Russian agent, Mueller’s charge against Papadopoulos is artfully framed to obscure this weakness. Carefully parsed, Mueller allegation is that Papadopoulos had reason to believe Mifsud was a Russian agent — not that Mifsud actually was one.

If Mifsud is the asset of any foreign intelligence service, it is Britain’s — but that is a story for another day.

We learn from the Mueller report (Volume I, p. 193) that Mifsud was interviewed by the FBI on February 10, 2017, a couple of weeks after the bureau started interviewing Papadopoulos. Mifsud denied that, when he met Papadopoulos in London on April 26, 2016, he either knew about or said anything about Russia’s possession of Clinton-related emails.

The Trump-Russia investigation continued for over two years after the FBI’s interview of Mifsud. Mueller took over the probe in May 2017. During his 22 months running the investigation, Mueller charged many people (including Papadopoulos) with lying to the FBI. But he never charged Mifsud. The government has never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

There appear to be very good reasons for that.

First, there is no evidence in Mueller’s report that Mifsud had any reason to know the operations of Russia’s intelligence services.

Second, prior to being interviewed by the FBI in January 2017, Papadopoulos never reported anything about Russia having emails — neither to his Trump-campaign superiors, to whom he was constantly reporting on his conversations with Mifsud; nor to Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat whose conversation with Papadopoulos was the proximate cause for the formal opening of the FBI probe. (As further detailed below, Papadopoulos told Downer the Russians had damaging information; he did not say emails.)

It was only when he was interviewed by the FBI in late January 2017, nine months after his conversation with Mifsud, that Papadopoulos is alleged to have claimed that Mifsud said the Russians had “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.” There is no known recording of this FBI interview, so there is no way of knowing whether (a) Papadopoulos volunteered this claim that Mifsud mentioned emails or (b) this claim was suggested to Papadopoulos by his interrogators’ questions. We have no way of knowing whether Papadopoulos is telling the truth (which, for no good reason, he kept hidden from his Trump-campaign superiors) or if he was telling the FBI agents what he thought they wanted to hear (which is what he often did when reporting to the Trump campaign).

But the email component is only half the concocted story.

II. Papadopoulos Had No Knowledge of Russia’s Intentions

There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.

The claim that Papadopoulos made such a statement is a fabrication, initially founded on what, at best, was a deeply flawed assumption by Downer, the Australian diplomat.

On July 22, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention and two months after Downer met with Papadopoulos, WikiLeaks began disseminating to the press the hacked DNC emails. From this fact, Downer drew the unfounded inference that the hacked emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about when he said Russia had damaging information about Clinton.

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