The Mysterious Mister Mifsud And Why No One Wants To Discuss Him

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the name that came up repeatedly in the Mueller hearings to the surprise of many viewers. The name is Joseph Mifsud and we still know little about him because Mueller, like so many others, refuses to discuss him. It is an example of how much of the origins of the Russian investigation remain largely walled off from public discussion.

More of such information arose this week after former Trump Adviser George Papadopoulos announced that he is heading back to Greece to retrieve $10,000 that “he suspects was dropped in his lap as part of an entrapment scheme by the CIA or FBI.” Once again, few people have heard of this money or the underlying allegation.

Here is the column:

Joseph Mifsud: The name of the generally unknown character in the Russia investigation came up, over and over, in the long-awaited House committee hearings with former special counsel Robert Mueller. Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio invoked the name as if it legally required the accompaniment of horror movie theme music; Mueller immediately snapped back that he would not discuss that man. Yet that did not deter Republicans. “Joseph Mifsud,” “Joseph Mifsud” — the mantra continued until the shadowy professor had emerged as the Keyser Söze of the Mueller hearings.

Söze was the mysterious figure in the film “The Usual Suspects.” Another of the film’s characters, “Verbal” Kint, explained to an FBI agent that Söze was a criminal mastermind who committed horrible acts and then disappeared: “Nobody has ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night. Rat on your pop, and Keyser Söze will get you.”

Mifsud appears to be the story that Republicans tell their kids at night. However, it is a new story for most of us. Political analyst David Gergen acknowledged as much during CNN’s live coverage of hearings, saying that Republicans “presented things, frankly, we haven’t talked about much on CNN, aspects of this that are on the right but we don’t — you know — we haven’t visited because we don’t put much stock in a lot of what they’re arguing.”

Indeed, despite the nonstop coverage of the Russia investigation, most news shows have rarely “visited” the allegations linked to Mifsud. Certain subjects are rarely visited by CNN or other networks, at least not substantively. Media largely dismisses the fact that the Clinton campaign also solicited political dirt from foreign intelligence sources, including Russian intelligence, through investigator and British ex-spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS. Few programs mention that Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, had dinner with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya both the day before and the day after she met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.

Many figures are now household names, such as resigned Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But not Mifsud, despite his central role as a catalyst of the original investigation. For Republicans, it is like what  Kint said about Söze: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Two years ago, I wrote about Mifsud and his curious role in the unfolding scandal. He was variously described as a “Russian stooge,” a “KGB cutout” or an intelligence handler. Mifsud had worked as a “full-time professorial teaching fellow” at the University of Stirling in Scotland and was a professor at the London Academy of Diplomacy. He had a degree from the University of Malta and ran in diplomatic circles as a type of dealmaker for grants and conferences. He was said to be a fan and claimed acquaintance of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For Republicans, if there was a Garden of Eden in the Trump campaign, Mifsud was the snake. It was Mifsud who, in a 2016 meeting in London with then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, suddenly broached the possibility that the Russians might have emails and dirt on Hillary Clinton. Notably, he had that meeting just after returning from Moscow and allegedly referred to “thousands of emails.” Papadopoulos later repeated what he had been told to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in a London pub, and Downer reported that to the U.S. government.

Ultimately, Mueller concluded there was no evidence supporting a conspiracy theory against the Trump campaign, and he found no evidence that any Trump official knowingly worked with Russian hackers or trolls. Yet Mifsud appears to be there at the genesis. What remains a curiosity is that Mueller indicted various people for false statements. Most were relatively minor criminal cases in terms of sentencing, leading to a few weeks in jail for people like Papadopoulos. The Mueller report indicates Mifsud lied repeatedly to investigators on sensitive national security issues — and yet Mueller did not charge him with a single count. Cooperating witnesses were sentenced for lying but not Mifsud. Conversely, if Mifsud acted on behalf of U.S. officials to create the foundation for the Russia investigation, then that raises a host of other questions. For example, if Mifsud was an American agent (which he denies), why would he allegedly lie to the United States government?

As acknowledged by CNN’s Gergen, this is all very interesting — and it was not (as widely treated by the media) ridiculous for Republicans to raise with Mueller. The most credible point about Mifsud is that his relative anonymity in news coverage reflects a broader problem: There is a consistent effort to preserve a narrative that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump. That was demonstrably true. However, it is not the only story. The Russians also had contacts and shared information with the Clinton campaign.

While Democrats have been highly emotive in demanding answers to the “full” story about Russian efforts, they have consistently opposed any effort to investigate such contacts within their own party or associates, dismissing that as a distraction. Likewise, documented anti-Trump bias by key players in the Russia investigation is treated as “unfortunate” or “not relevant.” There is every reason to be concerned that these same key players used people such as Mifsud to launch an investigation during the Obama administration against figures in the opposing party. If the Bush administration had launched secret surveillance of Clinton’s campaign staff, the media would hardly have been so cavalier.

That is how we end up with the mysterious Mr. Mifsud. He is unknown precisely because he is unwelcome in mainstream stories. The “usual suspects” do not “visit” that part of the story, particularly the absence of any criminal charge in a sea of indictments of Russian trolls and hackers. Even Mueller walled off that story. Mueller was supposed to investigate all Russian interference in the elections, and his inquiry took him to bank fraud and tax violations entirely unrelated to the election or to Russians. Yet there is no evidence that he ever investigated Russian intelligence efforts directed at Clinton campaign officials and associates.

While Mueller would say there is an ongoing investigation into such matters, that investigation did not start until long after Mueller’s appointment. The question is, what will happen when that investigation is completed? Will Democrats demand the same full disclosure of the facts, to get to the bottom of those contacts and efforts to influence our elections? In “The Usual Suspects,” Kint told the FBI agent that another character “always said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him.’ Well, I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze.” Söze feared precisely because he was so obscure.

Democrats have made Joseph Mifsud scary in the same way. He could just be a rumor-spreading, Putin-loving professor from Malta. Or he could be a master spy working for the Russians — or for Western intelligence. What makes him so scary is not what we know but what we don’t know … that and the fact that no one on Mueller’s team or in the political establishment wants to talk about him

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

185 thoughts on “The Mysterious Mister Mifsud And Why No One Wants To Discuss Him”

  1. For those on the left that may not get the news real quick and for Peter who might not see it even after 3 months Comey was referred for prosecution but it was declined by AG Barr at this time. Bigger things are on the horizon. When Comey testified revealing he had released information to the press he had a reason to do so. The night before the FBI interrogated him and took illegally stored documents from his home some of it labelled top secret. Damaging stuff on FISA coming shortly and likely to demonstrate very bad actions.

    The Washington Post lied so I wonder how they are going to handle this. The New York Times has already started to reveal things they kept hidden from their readership so the stark contrast of the truth and their lies would appear lessened.

    1. I was a bit ahead of the game, serendipitously that is. Last year I bought a lifetime supply of Mach3 razors online after getting an exceptionally good price. Had I saw that ad campaign earlier, I would have never bought Gillette again.

      I also strop the disposable razors and use each blade cartridge for fourteen weeks and then replace it.

      Here’s a video on how cheap a man can get by stropping the razors with jeans.

      1. Darren, If only….. I had been told earlier. But, I just bought that 20 pack of razors from Costco. The guy on the video has already gotton 2 months with jeans and the additional sharpener idea probably will make it last at least 6 months.

        That means I have 10 years worth of razors enough to take me to the point where some nuts believe we will all burn to death due to climate change. I’ll wait out the remaining time growing a beard.

      2. I wish razors did not have that lubricating strip. I can’t find one without it. I prefer to choose a shaving cream, and don’t see the need for that strip. Why bother to get a more natural shaving creme if every single razor has that chemical lubricating strip?

        What’s in those razor lubricating strips:

        “A lubricating strip for use in a wet shaving system which comprises a biodegradable polymer, wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyanhydrides, and the co-polymers thereof, polycarboxylic acids, and the co-polymers thereof, and polyorthoesters, and the co-polymers thereof, and wherein said polyanhydride polymer is selected from the group consisting of poly [bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)propane anhydride], poly-bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)methane, poly[bis(p-carboxyphenoxy)methane anhydride], and poly(p-carboxyphenoxy)hexane anhydride, and the co-polymers thereof.
        2. A lubricating strip according to claim 1, wherein said biodegradable polymer comprises a non-bulk eroding biodegradable polymer.
        3. A lubricating strip according to claim 1, wherein said biodegradable polymer comprises a surface-eroding non bulk-eroding biodegradable polymer.
        4. A lubricating strip according to claim 1, which further comprises a lubricant.
        5. A lubricating strip according to claim 4, wherein said lubricant is incorporated into a monomer, or monomers, comprising said biodegradable polymer.
        6. A lubricating strip according to claim 4, wherein said lubricant is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene oxide and cyclomethacone.
        7. A lubricating strip according to claim 6, wherein said lubricant comprises polyethylene oxide.
        8. A lubricating strip according to claim 4, wherein said polyanhydride co-polymer with sebacic acid is poly[1,3-bis(carboxyphenoxy)propane-co-sebacic acid].
        9. A lubricating strip for use in a wet shaving system which comprises a biodegradable polymer, wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyanhydrides, and the co-polymers thereof, polycarboxylic acids, and the co-polymers thereof, and polyorthoesters, and the co-polymers thereof, and wherein said polyanhydride co-polymer comprises a polyanhydride co-polymer with sebacic acid or a fatty acid dimer.”

        1. Good catch Karen

          I had not noted the scaries the lube-strip contained. I found a video on YouTube showing how to easily remove these from men’s razors and tried this on mine. I am half-way though the razors useful life so the strip did not remove as easily but it however only was a thirty second endeavor.

          I compared it to having the strip and there was a noticeable difference but it was not significant enough to prefer suffering the chemicals.

    1. I’m sure it’s all benign. Just two professionals sharing opinions on the state of their one world government. Or something like that.

    1. Joe deGenoa says we’ll finally see some declassification by tomorrow? I sure hope so. Good post even though, yes, it’s speculative.

    2. There you are, thanks Ivan.

      It certainly sheds a different light on what qualifications may have been considered most important when nominating Ratcliffe.

      We may soon see rats of a different sort coming out of the woodwork.

      1. I hope Wray gets fired soon and replaced with another Ratcliffe. These rats are much bigger in size.

    3. Tabby, is American Thinker your main source? I glanced at this article only to be confronted by a crappy pop-up ads. How odd you would think the Times and Post are ‘birdcage liners’.

      You remind me of a man I met who had toured Europe on a Euro-Rail pass. His big complaint was the ‘lack of good restaurants France’!

    4. It isn’t all that speculative. Ralph Peters is an establishment idiot who’s bought and paid for. He is not someone to admire.

  2. “Fake news” is no news about Joseph Mifsud and the Obama Coup D’etat in America.

    Fake news is no news about Hillary’s corrupt FBI/Comey exoneration and the absence of a reversal by the corrupt judicial branch.

    Fake news is burying Julian Assange’s truth in a prison cell.

    Fake news is a blackout of the assassinations of Seth Rich and Joseph Rago (even the WSJ dropped coverage of its star journalist).

    The mainstream media keep the truth out of the news.

    The mainstream media continue the barrage of lies, strategic omissions, communist propaganda and relentless indoctrination.

    Competition is always the answer.

    In a free America, there should be competition among the free press outlets.

    There are only communist “fake news” outlets.

    The solution is competition by conservative, actual American news outlets.

    When will actual Americans grasp that they need to compete in the arena of mainstream news?

    They need to compete in the areas of propaganda and indoctrination with huuge doses of truth.

    At some point, the communist “deep deep state” and its operating units, the mainstream media and democrat party,

    the Up-is-down-down-is-up-Newspeak-Cultural Revolution-Jim Jones-Lemonade-Serving Church of Scientology of American politics,

    will come a-tumblin’ down when actual Americans start receiving and assimilating the truth.

    What will Americans do when presented with the truth of the machinations and intrigue of Mr. Mifsud, Clapper, Brennan, Haspel, Strzok,

    Ohr, Downer, Dearlove, Halper, Azra Turk, Rice, Obama et al.?

    The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    The co-conspirators are:

    Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann, Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page,

    Laycock, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove,

    Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry,

    Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder,

    Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Obama et al.

  3. Very funny from SNL. Even a Liberal might smile. Slow start until the 1 minute mark.

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