“One obvious question for ‘the professor’ is why he told the [Washington] Post he had ‘absolutely’ no contacts with Russian officials when on-line material suggests he has.”
Mother Jones — October 30 2017
“Let me tell you, you take on the [US] Intelligence Community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, Trump is being really dumb to do this.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — January 3 2017
George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty. Will he help bring down more Trump Administration officials? Trump himself? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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George Papadopoulos is the first person — probably not the last– to face criminal charges related to “interactions during the 2016 campaign” between Trump campaign associates and people claiming to be Russian intermediaries .
Papadopoulos is described in court documents as a “proactive cooperator”. [What is a a “proactive cooperator” anyway? More about that soon…]
A London-based professor who touted his close ties to Russian officials told Papadopoulos — in late April 2016 — that he had learned on a trip to Moscow that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”
This was two months before the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee became public.
RELATED POST: Former Watergate Prosecutor Blasts Roger Stone
The statement made public by special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday morning does not name “The Professor”.
Who is “The Professor”?
However — according to the document — “The Professor” is based in London. He is a citizen of a Mediterranean country. Moreover, on April 18 2016, he flew to Moscow to attend a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, an academic forum in Russia known for connecting Russian officials with Western diplomats.
And that information — in the age of Internet — is plenty enough to identify him.
This mystery professor is likely Joseph Mifsud of the University of Stirling in Scotland.
According to a calendar entry on the Valdai club’s website, Mifsud spoke on a Valdai panel on April 19, 2016, titled, “World Energy: Key Trends and Political Risks.” [Mother Jones]
In August 2017, Mifsud told the Washington Post he had “absolutely no contact with the Russian government,” and he insisted his ties to Russia were purely academic.
The public record contains more than enough information to contradict Mifsud’s statement. There is clear evidence showing that he has had contacts with Russian government officials.
According to photos on the website of Russia’s embassy in the United Kingdom, Mifsud met with embassy representative Ernest Chernukhin in July of this year (weeks before he issued his denial to the Post).
A biography from a 2013 business conference says Mifsud “has advised Governments on international education issues in many countries including Morocco, Syria, Russia, Tunisia, and Italy.”
Mifsud also met with Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko in May of 2014, according to a 2014 Russian embassy press release.
Additionally, in early 2017, Mifsud invited Alexey Klishin, a department head and professor in the international law division of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a school run by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, to the London Academy of Diplomacy to present a lecture.
Klishin was a former member of the upper house of the Russian parliament.
I have no reason to doubt the work of the Wash Post and Mother Jones. Still do you remember this story which I posted on April 2017?
In February 2014, during a trip to Cambridge, Flynn met Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-British graduate student. At the time, Flynn was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Flynn and Lokhova were introduced to each other at the end of a dinner attended by 20 guests who included Sir Richard Dearlove – the former head of MI6 – and Professor Christopher Andrew, the official MI5 historian.
At a later time, Flynn invited Lokhova to accompany him on his next official visit to Moscow to help with simultaneous translation. Flynn never reported the discussion to US officials, as it would have been expected from him. A few weeks later, Flynn ‘resigned’ as Head of the DIA.
Flynn and Lokhova kept in contact through emails. On occasion, Flynn would signed “General Misha”. [NOTE: Misha is a Russian nick-name for Mikhail/Michael. But, it also means ‘Teddy Bear’. Actually, “Misha the Bear” was the official mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.]
This story is not over. That much is certain. My feeling is that — in the end — the case will be all about money. What else?
What Russia Says?
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that the Manafort indictment contained an error.
“The charge sheet wrongly stated that Julia Tymoshenko — the former Ukrainian prime minister — had served as president.”
Senator Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter:
“Neither Trump, nor his campaign or Russian officials are mentioned.
A ‘professor with ties to the Kremlin’? Ridiculous.”
What Trump Says/Tweets?
US President Donald Trump has played down the importance of Papadopoulos.
“Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar,” Trump posted on Twitter (shortly after 8am local time).
However, in March 2016, Trump referred to Papadopoulos as an “excellent guy” in an interview with the Washington Post.
Perhaps, Trump forgot that he posted a picture on Instagram captioned “meeting with my national security team” in which Papadopoulos can be seen four seats to his right.
All about George
“If you worked on Syria policy in DC during the time of the inauguration, you probably heard of this guy,” tweeted Johan Arterbury, a Syria expert who was then working at Georgetown University.
“His background was Cyprus and energy, his work experience minimal. Syria wonks (me included) were left confounded on how he got such connections.”
Papadopoulos was shortlisted to become a senior White House adviser on the Middle East and was due to be interviewed for the job in November – but then his star seemed to fade in the Trump camp.
“By February he’d dropped from the radar, Syria policy moved elsewhere, and he vanished from the scene.”
Syria policy moved elsewhere. We can all agree on that one…
Trump Adviser George Papadopoulos Pleads Guilty
Trump Adviser George Papadopoulos Pleads Guilty — Who Is “The Professor”?