The mysterious professor who launched Mueller's investigation has gone missing

The mysterious professor who launched Mueller's investigation has gone missing
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the FBI Budget, on Capitol Hill on March 19, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (UPI/Kevin Dietsch via Creative Commons)

According to a report in the Washington Post, a Maltese professor with mysterious ties to the Russians — and who precipitated special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Donald Trump — is still missing and everyone wants to talk to him.

Joseph Mifsud, who was identified in the Mueller report as the person who offered to serve up emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has fallen off the map since an October 2017 interview where he insisted “I never got any money from the Russians: my conscience is clear, I am not a secret agent.”

Mifsud, who has had extensive contacts with the Russians — including a meeting with President Vladimir Putin according to a former aide to the academic — reportedly met with George Papadopoulos, an aide to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

According to the report, “The conversation between Mifsud and Papadopoulos, eventually relayed by an Australian diplomat to U.S. government officials, was cited by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as the event that set in motion the FBI probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Now that Mifsud is missing and only speaking through an attorney, both Trump’s defenders in the Republican Party and Democratic investigators want to talk to him — but he is not making himself available.

According to some of Trump’s most avid defenders, they believe Mifsud is working both sides and is also connected to the CIA or the FBI — which they hope to use as evidence of a plot against Trump.

“Seizing on the vacuum of information about him [Mifsud], they have promoted the idea that he was working for the FBI, CIA or possibly British or Italian intelligence, citing exaggerated and at times distorted details about his life,” the Post reports. “Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani told Fox News in April that Mifsud was a ‘counterintelligence operative, either Maltese or Italian,’ who took part in what sounded to him like a ‘counterintelligence trap’ against Papadopoulos.”

Of interest to Democrats who are holding public hearings with Mueller, are his Russian contacts.

“An examination of Mifsud’s activities also shows that he began forging ties in Russia years earlier — and that he was working to expand his network in that country around the same time he met Papadopoulos in 2016, including by trying to broker new academic deals with a powerful Russian state university,” the report states. “Mifsud visited Moscow just weeks before the U.S. presidential election to mark the signing of the deal, according to Russian media reports at the time. In a previously unreported episode, he welcomed a Kremlin-linked academic to speak at Rome’s Link Campus University in December 2016, shortly after Trump’s election.”

The report notes that “the Mueller report … states Mifsud ‘had connections to Russia’ and ‘maintained various Russian contacts,’ including a former employee of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian organization that carried out a social media disinformation campaign in 2016,” while also pointing out that former FBI Director James Comey publically identified the professor as “a Russian agent.”

You can read more here.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.