Joseph Mifsud, the guy who told former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that he had some “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, linked to Russian sources through emails, has supposedly vanished after he died he ever “spoke of secrets regarding Hillary Clinton.”
“Last Thursday [Mifsud] disappeared from the private university in Rome where he teaches,” CNN reports. “Repeated attempts to reach him since have been unsuccessful, though he appears to have read some messages from CNN.”
In its report, CNN details Mifsud’s sketchy dealings, which include several false and exaggerated claims about his own status and connections, and warnings from his associate “about the danger of being played by the Russians.”
Mifsud became a central figure in the Russia investigation after being identified by Papadopoulos as “Foreign Contact 1,” the man with Russian connections that enticed him with offers of damaging information on Clinton. CNN reports:
“In the US affidavit, Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him in April 2016 that the Russians had “thousands of emails” relating to Hillary Clinton.”
“Joseph Mifsud met with the Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko in May 2014.”
“An associate also told CNN that he repeatedly bragged about how Moscow had “compromising material” on the Clinton campaign in spring 2016, contradicting Mifsud’s assertion that he never talked about Russian “dirt” on the Democratic presidential bid.”
When Papadopoulos’ claim about his role in the Clinton “dirt” story became public, Mifsud refuted it, telling Italian outlet La Repubblica that the allegation was nonsense.
More from the CNN report:
Mifsud first met Papadopoulos in March 2016 in Rome, according to his own account. They met again shortly after Papadopoulos was first publicly named as an adviser to the Trump team around March 21. Days later, Papadopoulos wrote to colleagues on the Trump team that he “had just finished a very productive lunch with a good friend of mine… who introduced me to both Putin’s niece and the Russian ambassador,” according to court filings.
The “good friend” was Mifsud. After discovering Papadopoulos’ elevation to the Trump campaign, he moved swiftly to put the two sides in contact. (It has since become clear that the woman attending the lunch was not Putin’s niece.)
The following month, Mifsud traveled to Moscow to give a talk at the Valdai Club, a think-tank with close connections to the Kremlin. “We have to open up trade to the Russian Federation,” he said at the event, on April 19. “Imposing sanctions, for example, is suicidal in our case — and because of the pressure… from the United States.”
The FBI affidavit implies Mifsud may have been “played” by the Russians.
“The Russian government and its security and intelligence services frequently make use of non-governmental intermediaries to achieve their foreign policy objectives,” it said. “The Russian government has used individuals associated with academia and think-tanks in such a capacity.”
Mifsud’s associate told CNN that seemed very plausible. Anything he was told would soon be repeated to others, the associate said.