Papadopoulos and His Bid For Political Stardom
George Demetrios Papadopoulos was born in August 1987 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
He graduated from DePaul University in 2009 with a degree in political science and government.
Richard Farkas, a Russian politics professor at DePaul University, on discovering that his former student was one of Trump’s few foreign policy advisers said:
“he studied for a bachelor’s degree in political science. All the classes I taught at DePaul during his tenure would’ve centred on Russia. His expertise was virtually non-existent. It was thin and embellished. Lots of young people, when they aspire to get close to a campaign, exaggerate their experience. George did that in spades and it was the talk of the department here. I’ve been really generally embarrassed by the fact that I don’t have a lot to share, my classes were 20 to 25 and he was invisible even in a class that size.”
As an undergraduate, he was involved in “The Hellenic Professional Society of Illinios” taking an academic interest in Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot politics.
After graduating, Papadopoulos enrolled at, “University College, London School of Public Policy” where in 2010 he gained a “Masters of Science” degree in security studies.
Returning to the US he was employed by the Hudson (right wing think tank) Institute, first as an unpaid intern then as a research assistant to a senior fellow at the institute from 2011-2014.
He left the Hudson Institute in 2014 to work for a small, oil and gas firm called Energy Stream in London, which lists only two employees.
Then his fortunes changed for the better.
In November 2015 there was a terrorist attack on Paris, France and in the days following every Republican presidential candidate began frantically scrambling to hire experts to bulk up their campaign’s foreign policy credentials. But all the of the Republican foreign policy establishment was working for the front runners, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Barry Bennett, Campaign Manager, for Republican candidate, Ben Carson recalled: “It was utter and total desperation to find people.”
So when a resume from an unknown young man named George Papadopoulos arrived, unsolicited, at the Carson campaign headquarters, Bennett gave it more attention than it may have deserved.
Bennett had never heard of Papadopoulos, who was in his late twenties at the time, nor did he recognize much on the young man’s resume.
But he did notice that between 2011 and 2014, Papadopoulos had worked at the Hudson Institute, a conservative, Washington, D.C.- based think tank, where Bennett’s friend, Kenneth Weinstein, was president. So he called Weinstein to check him out.
“I said, ‘Who’s this guy? Did you like him? Did you fire him?’” Bennett recalled, with a laugh. “Ken didn’t know him well, but said, basically, ‘He’s junior, he’s smart.’ So we hired him and that was it.”
Papadopoulos brief period as an advisor to the Carson campaign seems to have passed largely without note.
Armstrong Williams, who served in various roles in Carson’s campaign, said: “After the Paris terrorist attack, Barry Bennett and his deputy Lisa Coen thought we had to have substance so they had this hiring spree, employing all these people to show we had foreign policy experts, Papadopoulos was one of those people.”
He was paid $8,500 for his work in December 2015 and January 2016, and then received only a partial salary, $2,125, in February, when he left the campaign.
Bennett resigned from the campaign in December and within two months, most of those new people were let go due to restructuring and cuts.
No one in the Carson campaign remembers much about Papadopoulos, perhaps in part because he worked remotely from Chicago, Bennett said. “If there was any work output, I never saw it. It never ended up on my desk.”
Shermichael Singleton, Carson’s communications director said: “I don’t remember the guy. I recognised his name in emails, but I can’t recall ever meeting him.
George Papadopoulos Gets Trump in His Sights
Up to “Super Tuesday”, 1 March 2016, the Trump campaign had been a largely family affair with little external input or support from the Republican Party and he was lagging in the polls.
But when the swingometer shifted in Trump’s favour there was a realization that “Team Trump” was devoid of competent foreign policy advisors and this generated an urgent scramble to compile a legitimate list of experienced people as the media and those in political circles kept pressuring the campaign to release names.
According to a Trump campaign spokesman, Sam Clovis, then a Trump policy advisor, urgently put together a “team” (including Papadopoulos) so that Trump could release names in an attempt to “at least shut up” the critics.
During the campaign, Clovis defended the roster he had compiled for Trump, saying that “these are people who work for a living” who have “real world” experience, and that “if you’re looking for show ponies, you’re coming to the wrong stable.”
But to this day, some senior staffers in the Trump White House blame Clovis for recruiting staff without due diligence, saddling Trump with the incompetent Papadopoulos.
Enter Professor Mifsud – Conman Or Confidant?
Mifsud’s interest was sparked after being told by Papadopolous, who was then living in London, that he had been appointed to the Trump campaign team as an advisor.
The FBI claimed that they first met in Italy on 14 March 2016 and again in London 24 March 2017. (1)
At the second meeting Mifsud was accompanied by a woman who, according to Papadopolous, was introduced to him as a relative of Vladimir Putin. (2)
After the meeting Papadopolous emailed Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski advising that he had discussed with Olga Vinogradova the possibility of arranging: “a meeting between Trump’s campaign team and the Russian leadership to discuss US – Russia ties under President Trump.” The manager told him he had done “great work” and to keep him informed.
Around a week later he attended a campaign team meeting in Washington at which he touted his connections and proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Putin. Jeff Sessions (now Attorney General) dismissed the proposal “out of hand” declaring it to be a non-starter. (3)
But, by 11 April, 2016, ignoring the earlier directive, Mifsud and the Russian woman were on an email chain with Papadopolous in which the campaign adviser sought a meeting for himself in Russia to discuss foreign policy.
Mifsud replied: “This is already been agreed. I am flying to Moscow on the 18th for a Valdai meeting, plus other meetings at the Duma.”
Mifsud attended a Valdai summit in Sochi, Russia, on 19 April, 2016.
Papadopolous stated in the stipulation that he next had breakfast with the professor at a London hotel on 26 April, 2016.
Mifsud, recently returned from Moscow, told Papadopolous that he had learned the “Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton” in the form of “emails of Clinton… they have thousands of emails.”
It is not clear, at the meeting of 26 April 2016, which tranche of Clinton emails Mifsud was referring to the Russians possessing.
That same month, a hacker group known as “Fancy Bear” had breached the network defences of the “Democratic National Committee”. But the hack was not made public until 22 July 2016.
But, Wiki-Leaks, who denied any connection with the Russian government, had, by 16 March, 2016 already published a searchable archive of Clinton emails from her private server obtained, the group explained, through the “Freedom of Information Act”. (5)
But, according to the FBI, Papadopolous believed the information would still be valuable to the Trump campaign and according to the stipulation he circulated within the team the prospect of a meeting with the Russian government.
Olga Vinogradova later emailed Popadopoulos the message: “we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian federation would love to welcome him but only once his candidature is officially announced.”
Popadopoulos emailed Mifsud around 30 April 2016: “it’s history making if it happens,” thanking him for his: “critical help.”
A few weeks after, a contact, alleged to be Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation Council, spoke with Papadopoulos over Skype about laying the groundwork for a meeting between the Trump campaign team and officials in Moscow.
Papadopoulos was persistent throughout the summer of 2016, repeatedly emailing members of Team Trump seeking permission to establish contact with individuals whom he believed had high-level Russian government connections—and could supply the campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
In August 2016, at a meeting of Team Trump in Washington, DC, he told the group that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-presidential candidate Trump and President Putin.
Paul Manafort and Sam Clovis who were aware of Papadopoulos’ efforts to set up a high-level meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russians praised his work ethic.
But a wary Manafort advised it would be inappropriate for Trump to attend any meetings.
Manafort subsequently forwarded an email to his associate Rick Gates firmly rejecting the idea of Trump making a trip to Russia. It said: “We need someone to communicate forcefully that DT will not be doing any trips or meetings with Putin. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send the wrong signal.” (6)
Months passed but the “history making” meeting was never convened. Papadopoulos had clearly been catfished and conned.
1. The meeting in Italy was not the first time they had met (as claimed by the FBI). Mifsud served as convenor and Director for “International Strategic Development” in the London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) in 2016. The LCILP’s director for “International Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law” from February to April 2016 was George Papadopoulos.
2. Reference by Papadopolous to President Putin’s niece was spurious since he does not have one. Information that could have been confirmed in less than a minute through a “Google” enquiry.
The woman, later identified as, Olga Vinogradova, was described by Mifsud as “just a student, but a very good-looking one, and Papadopoulos’s interest in her was very different from an academic one.” Later revelations revealed “Olga Vinogradova,” to be a 32 year old graduate from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Now a wine company manager, (married name) Olga Polonskaya, lives in St Petersburg and is one of a dozen Russian women listed as friends on Facebook with Mifsud.
Polonskaya’s brother, Sergei Vinogradov, told the press that she had never worked for the Russian government, and had been introduced to Papadopoulos having previously met with Mifsud to discuss a promised internship. Her english was poor and at the meeting on 24 March 2016, she was not able to fully follow the conversation between Papadopoulos and Mifsud. He added: “it’s totally ridiculous, She’s not interested in politics. She can barely tell the difference between Lenin and Stalin.”
But the affidavit filed together with Papadopoulos’ guilty plea indicates Polonskaya continued with her catfishing, allegedly emailing Papadopolous: “I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request for a foreign policy trip to Russia.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Papadopoulos hoped that Putin’s “niece” would introduce him to the Russian ambassador in London.
Papadopoulos was likewise interested in Mifsud: “because, among other reasons, the professor claimed to have substantial connections with Russian government officials, which he thought would increase his importance as a policy advisor to the campaign.”
3. Press leak identified Trump’s National campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis.
4. A carefully phrased message giving no indication she knew President Putin
5. Rubbish. The alleged offer, from the Russian’s on 26 April, 2016, to “dish the dirt” on Clinton through the provision of emails was useless since Wikipedia had already published the information 16 March 2016.
6. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and his long-time assistant, Rick Gates, have subsequently been indicted by the FBI on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, making false statements to federal officials and committing financial crimes, including laundering more than $18 million in cash.
Papadopoulos Arrested by the FBI
In late January 2017, FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos about his interactions with Russian officials. Papadopoulos initially claimed there had been none.
When questioned about his relationship with Mifsud he told investigators he first met Mifsud over a year previous and well before he joined the Trump team.
Papadopoulos downplayed Mifsud’s Kremlin ties, calling the man “a nothing” and “just a guy bigging up connections or something.”
Papadopoulos also minimized his interactions with the woman he had described as “Putin’s niece,” telling FBI investigators that he had no relationship with her, other than sending emails that amounted to “hi, how are you?” But it transpired his assertions were untrue. He was aware he had been catfished but maintained a relationship with her.
Papadopoulos knowingly connected with the Kremlin-linked professor after he joined the Trump team and had met Olga Vinogradova in person, and Skyped with her multiple times.
FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos again on February 2017.
The following day, he deleted his Facebook account, where he had been communicating with the Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation Council and created a new account, scrubbed of all the old messages. Days later, Papadopoulos ditched his phone and started using a new number.
He was arrested on 27 July 2017, in Dulles International Airport. His arrest, was kept secret, providing opportunity for Papadopoulos to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of alleged Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election and alleged ties between Trump Tower and the Kremlin.
Papadopolous struck a deal with special prosecutor Robert Mueller investigating the possible influence of Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The FBI affidavit for Papadopolous’ plea deal indicated that London-based, Professor of Diplomacy, Professor Mifsud had been instrumental in arranging connections between Papadopoulos and supposedly Kremlin-tied Russians – one of whom had pretended to be Vladimir Putin’s niece.
The full FBI Affidavits:
The White House Response
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, described Papadopolous as a low-level campaign: “volunteer on a council that met once” whose attempts to interest the campaign in a Moscow meeting were greeted with disinterest.
The Fall of George Papadopoulos – The Trump Adviser Who May Kill Trump’s Presidency
The most remarkable thing about George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the course of the 2016 campaign, is that he managed to get to this point at all.
Former high school classmates failed to recall him. College professors said he was a below-average student. Peers in Washington, D.C., described him as unremarkable, and many senior colleagues on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign thought he was a hanger-on.
And yet Papadopoulos found himself squarely in the middle of the most remarkable political scandal of a generation.
A nonentity who rose to unfathomable heights through self-promotion and opportunistic timing. Only this particular bit character may now bring down a president.
But Who the Hell Is Professor Joseph Mifsud?
People who know him say Mifsud is a “Walter Mitty” character who was always networking and constantly exaggerated his access to decision-makers. The content of his stories was frequently contradictory.
1960: Born in Malta
1982: Gained BAed. University of Malta.
1989: Obtained the Laurea in Pedagogia (Dott. Ped.) from the University of Padua.
1993: Obtained his Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at the Queen’s University in Belfast.
1997-1999: Head of Department in the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.
2000 -2005: Head of the European Unit at the University of Malta, later director of the international office and professor of international relations in Malta, Perugia, London and Rome.
Malta representative on the Board of the Bologna Follow up Group, on the Erasmus Mundus Committee and on the Tempus Committee.
Malta representative on the Socrates Committee, on the Socrates Sub-Committee for Higher Education and on the Joint Research Centre (European Commission).
Programme Committee Member for the 6th Framework Programme on Research & Infrastructure and Mobility.
Representative on the Executive Board of the Compostela Group of Universities, Utrecht Network and Santander Group.
2006-2007: Chef de cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta and adviser to the centre EMUNI on EuroMed higher education during the Slovenian EU Presidency.
2008-2012: Elected President of Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in Slovenia. left in haste, in 2012, owing the university a significant amount of money
2013: Ineligible’ Expenses – Professor Joseph Mifsud In Trouble
Expense claims and high mobile phone usage have landed a Maltese academic in trouble with the Slovenian Government.
Joseph Mifsud, the former Director of the University of Malta’s international office, allegedly owes at least €39,000 to Slovenian-based EMUNI University for an excess of expenses claimed during his tenure as president.
According to an audit report commissioned by EMUNI, his mobile phone usage last year cost €13,767, when he was only eligible for €3,600.
“The Slovenian Government is awaiting documentation from EMUNI in relation to this matter and shall consider whether to pursue judicial proceedings, be they civil and/or criminal, against Dr Mifsud,” a spokesman for the Slovenian Minister of Higher Education said.
The spokesman added that action was being considered in liaison with OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud agency.
Dr Mifsud owes a total of €39,332 in wrongly-claimed expenses, mobile phone “over-sage” and penalties regarding “non-compliance” with his handover of business duties, according to the same report.
For failing to comply with the stipulated handover, Dr Mifsud was also penalised €9,600. In addition, the audit report found €15,377 in “ineligible expenses” taken without providing the necessary documentation and €14,024 in mobile expenses exceeding his annual allowance of €3,600.
This emerged from a review of EMUNI’s accounts, which took place after Dr Mifsud resigned from his role as president in July 2012.
The Mysterious Work of the Maltese Professor Identified in the FBI’s Russia Probe
Joseph Mifsud is an enigma. The Maltese academic admitted that he is the mysterious professor at the centre of Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s attempts to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
But he insists he has a “clear conscience” and fervently denies Papdopolous’s claim that he knew the “Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.”
Mifsud said that he’d had “absolutely no contact with the Russian government,” and reiterated that, “I do not know anybody from the Russian government…I am an academic.”
But hold on, that’s not quite true. Mifsud has had contact with multiple Russian officials.
He met the Russian ambassador to the UK, greeted a counsellor from the Russian embassy, invited a former Russian senator to his academy, and was listed at a conference as having advised the Russian government on “international education issues.”
A Closer Look at The London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP)
The LCILP is a curious law firm. A former employee said that: “there was a lot of secrecy going on about what they do.” After several months there, the same person said, “I hardly know what kind of business they do.”
The source described the firm, which was founded in 2014, as constantly in search of, and seemingly never obtaining, big contracts.
Mifsud’s role at LCILP was to bring in potential clients—ideally governments whom the company could advise on international law, the former employee said.
Papadopoulos and LCILP director Nagi Idris are friends on Facebook. Idris is a British national, originally from Sudan, and has been director of 18 companies at various times since 2001, according to Companies House filings.
A reporter visited LCILP’s headquarters inside a handsome Georgian building and found that the office amounted to four people working in an undecorated backroom, all of whom declined to comment.
LCILP has paid rent in a series of highly prestigious locations in London’s legal district, despite ending 2016 with debts of £329,000—a considerable sum for a company with just a handful of employees.
Shortly after rumours about Mifsud’s connection to Russia and the Trump campaign began circulating on 30 October 2017, his profile was removed from the website, along with those of all other members of staff.
And What About The London Academy of Diplomacy
Mifsud was listed as both a director and honorary director at the Academy but his role and the function of the Academy is unclear.
Indeed, an enquiry on Loughborough University London asked whether Mifsud was employed at its Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance and was told there was no record of him in the university’s files.
The Academy, closed in the Autumn of 2016, has at various points, over the year’s also been associated with the University of East Anglia.
Most recently a Stirling University spokesman confirmed Mifsud has been employed as a professorial teaching fellow since May 2017. But no-one can recall ever being taught by him.
The University magazine The Brig is investigating the scandal and it’s published articles reveal a catalogue of intrigue worthy of a Jmaes Bond movie.
More here: https://brignews.com/2017/10/31/professor-at-heart-of-trump-russia-scandal-is-from-university-of-stirling/
Keep digging guys. It is incredible that this shadowy character has been moving through respectable academic institutions as well as dubious front organisations with so little known about his qualifications, experience and actual achievements.
Most of what is known is – either untrue, dubious or mysterious. You need to explore who appointed him at Stirling and why. I suspect that this story leads to more hidden depths of dodgy dealing in academia.
Who is covering up their involvement with him and why?
Mifsud and the Russian Think Tank – Vavaldi Club
In a 2014 conversation at the Valdai Club, a Russian think tank with close ties to the Russian government, at which Putin speaks every year, Mifsud suggested that the US would soon tire of its role as global policeman.
He reportedly said, (at the time the Ukraine war was raging) that: “global security and economy needs partners and who is better in this than the Russian Federation.”
In 2015, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, (who had ruled the country since the fall of the Soviet Union) was re-elected gathering 98% of the vote.
Mifsud, acting as an observer reported that it had “actively corresponded to all norms.”
In contrast, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described Kazakhstan’s election as having “limited voter choice,” “stifled public debate” due to a “restricted media environment,” and “serious procedural deficiencies and irregularities.” (QZ.com)
Professor Mifsud and His Recruiting Visit to Washington DC in 2014
Speaking at the American University, Mifsud expounded on the London Academy for Diplomacy (LAD) and encouraged students to join it.
Early into his address, Mifsud asked the audience whether they had heard of the “Valdai Group” (a Russian discussion forum). No one had.
Mifsud then praised the increasing role of social media in diplomatic messaging. Mifsud described a recent meeting “with 45 ambassadors in London,” suggesting he was an effective mover on the diplomatic circuit.
Another interesting comment came when Mifsud described discussing the then-upcoming Brexit vote with a Member of Parliament (MP). The MP, Mifsud said, was from an ethnic minority but strongly opposed to immigration.
A telling part of Mifsud’s speech came at the end, when he asked if there were any students “interested in diplomacy.”
For those that were, Mifsud said, “we have some funds for scholarships as well, so people who are interested… you can send me an email, I’d be very, very happy to do that… Or else if people are passing through London who would like to come spend some time with us…”
During a question-and-answer session, Mifsud also indicated that he offered paid internships.
Indicating that he had brought brochures for students to peruse, the American University representative helpfully held some up in the air.
The offer of “scholarships” to the American University students “interested in diplomacy” is significant.
The American University attracts top students from all across the world, many of who will pursue careers in government.
Mifsud’s offer fitted the commonly used intelligence recruitment pattern, namely: target government career focused students, get them abroad and then recruit them.
It would be of informative if the “scholarships” money trail could be traced identifying any students who took Mifsud up on his offer.
Asked to comment former NSA counter-intelligence officer, John Schindler said: “I’d like to know who was paying for all this travel and activities by a semi-academic. Any counter-intelligence investigator would have questions here.”
Yet, Mifsud’s Washington visit didn’t end at the American University. He also spoke with The Washington Diplomat magazine about his London Academy.
Describing Mifsud as a former Maltese diplomat and cutting edge foreign policy thinker, the Diplomat noted that “The London Academy of Diplomacy arranges visits to the Houses of Parliament, the Commonwealth Secretariat and business organizations in London.”
The Diplomat further explained that the Academy also takes “students to The Hague, the European Parliament, NATO, EU headquarters and the United Nations.”
He also claimed the Academy to be: “a foundation funded from tuition fees. We do not accept any corporate funds. We don’t even accept national grants.”
The Diplomat was sold the package, proudly noting that it had previously awarded the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) its “diplomat of the year” award in 2012 “for distinguished contributions to diplomacy in London.”
Papadopoulos and Mifsud’s Tory Party Network
We now know that Papadopoulos is connected to a number of Tory MPs, the first of whom was Tobias Ellwood, MP a senior minister at the Foreign Office when Papadopoulos met him at the UN in September 2016, in the run-up to the Presidential Election.
Papadopoulos’ network expanded further through his relationship with the Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud who met with … Alok Sharma, MP , at the time a Foreign Office minister for Asia
And when Mifsud attended Sharma’s constituency dinner in October, who should be there, but London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Mifsud is reported to have bragged that he’d be “meeting Boris Johnson for dinner Re: Brexit”.
Bozza claimed he didn’t know Mifsud and had no recollection of having met him.
It is reasonably certain that the UKIP contingent and their hangers-on will be the subject of some of those still sealed indictments; the inability of Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore to keep schtum is the dead giveaway.
Boris Johnson – Trump – The Tory party
Three senior past and present Foreign Office ministers, including the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, were targeted by individuals identified by the FBI as central to their investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.
Alok Sharma MP said: “I did not introduce Mifsud to Boris Johnson and I don’t think anyone else did either.”
But indications of Russian efforts to make contacts with British officials could prove embarrassing for Johnson, who was asked about possible foreign interference in Britain last week and replied: “I haven’t seen a sausage.”
But there were meetings and encounters between British ministers and two individuals named in FBI indictments unsealed last week – George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump’s campaign, and a “London professor” with high-level connections to the Russian state, subsequently identified as a Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud.
Alok Sharma, a Foreign Office minister until June this year and MP for Reading West, confirmed he had met Mifsud “a couple of times” and he had attended a fundraising dinner in his constituency on 19 October this year, where he had “briefly greeted” him.
An email from Mifsud to a colleague, uncovered by Byline, the crowdfunded independent journalism site, revealed Mifsud had told a colleague he would be “meeting Boris Johnson for dinner re Brexit” on that date. Sharma confirmed Johnson was the guest speaker at the event.
The revelation comes as an investigation into foreign influence places him in a web of relationships between a known Russian spy, Sergey Nalobin, expelled from Britain in 2015, and Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of Vote Leave, the official Leave campaign headed by Johnson.
A witness said: “We’re starting to have a much clearer picture from America of how the Russian state sought to influence the US election and I think there are multiple questions to be asked about how and in what ways the Russian state may have been exerting influence in British politics.
Given the gravity of the allegations against Mr Papadopoulos, the government should make public any meetings these two individuals had with British officials and what was discussed.”
Even more questions are raised by a meeting between Papadopoulos and Tobias Ellwood, then a senior minister in the Foreign Office, at the UN general assembly in New York in September 2016.
This was when Papadopoulos was still working for the Trump campaign and, according to the FBI’s documents, had made multiple contacts through his intermediary – the “London professor” – with “high-level Russian officials”.
Ellwood’s meeting occurred after Papadopoulos had discovered in April that the Russians had “dirt on Hillary Clinton” in the form of “thousands of emails” but before WikiLeaks started publishing her emails in October.
Ben Bradshaw, the MP who has been one of the few voices asking questions about possible Russian interference in British democracy, said the Foreign Office’s explanation that such a meeting was “routine” was implausible. “In my experience, it is not normal for a minister to meet party campaign operatives while on official government business.” He added: “If Mr Papadopoulos’s role was as junior as Trump has been claiming, I would be surprised that a minister as senior and experienced as Mr Ellwood would agree to meet him.”
September 2015: Senior Republican Opposed to Trump Nomination – Commissioned a Damaging Dossier From Fushion GPS
In September 2015, a wealthy Republican donor who strongly opposed Trump put up the money to hire a Washington research firm run by former journalists, Fusion GPS, to compile a dossier about the real estate magnate’s past scandals and weaknesses.
Fusion GPS, headed by a former Wall Street Journal journalist known for his dogged reporting, Glenn Simpson, most often works for business clients.
But in presidential elections, the firm is sometimes hired by candidates, party organizations or donors to do political “oppo” work — shorthand for opposition research — on the side.
It is routine work and ordinarily involves creating a big, searchable database of public information: past news reports, documents from lawsuits and other relevant data.
For months, Fusion GPS gathered the documents and put together the files from Trump’s past in business and entertainment, a rich target.
After Mr. Trump emerged as the presumptive nominee in the spring, the Republican interest in financing the effort ended.
But Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton were very interested, and Fusion GPS kept doing the same deep dives, but on behalf of new clients.
Simpson hired Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with whom he had worked before.
Steele, in his early 50s, had served undercover in Moscow in the early 1990s and later was the top expert on Russia at the London headquarters of Britain’s spy service, MI6.
When he stepped down in 2009, he started his own commercial intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
As a former spy who had carried out espionage inside Russia, Steele was in no position to travel to Moscow to study Trump’s connections there.
But instead he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country as well.
Steele wrote up his findings in a series of memos, each a few pages long, that he began to deliver to Fusion GPS in June and continued at least until December.
By then, the election was over, and neither Steele nor Simpson was being paid by a client, but they did not stop what they believed to be very important work.
The memos described two different Russian operations. The first was a years long effort to find a way to influence Mr. Trump, perhaps because he had contacts with Russian oligarchs whom Mr. Putin wanted to keep track of.
According to Steele’s memos, he used an array of familiar tactics: the gathering of “kompromat,” compromising material such as alleged tapes of Mr. Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, and proposals for business deals attractive to Mr. Trump.
Word of the dossier reached Capitol Hill and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, obtained a copy from David J. Kramer, a former top State Department official who works for the McCain Institute at Arizona State University.
McCain then passed the information to James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director. who decided to sit on it until after the Presidential election.
September 2016: Unverified Dossier Creates a Crisis For Trump
Recently retired British spy, Christopher Steele, was tasked to build a file on Donald J Trump’s ties to Russia.
This week, explosive details — unsubstantiated accounts of frolics with prostitutes, real estate deals that were intended as bribes and coordination with Russian intelligence of the hacking of Democrats — were summarized in a top secret intelligence report.
Trump denounced the unproven claims as a fabrication, a Nazi-style smear concocted by “sick people.”
It further undermined his relationship with the intelligence agencies and cast a shadow over the new administration.
James R. Clapper Jr., director of national intelligence, issued a statement decrying leaks about the matter and saying of the Steele dossier that the intelligence agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
Much of the report remained out of reach — most critically the basic question of how much, if anything, in the dossier was true.
But the debacle offered a glimpse of the hidden side of US presidential campaigns, involving private sleuths-for-hire and secret agents of foreign countries looking for the worst they can find about the next American leader.
Early April 2016: Dirty Tricks Campaign Orchestrated by the Clinton Team, Hakluyt & Co (UK-Spymasters), MI6, Papadopoulos and Mifsud -Discrediting Trump in Favour of Clinton
Categorised as a nonentity by Trump’s campaign team Papadopoulis wielded a powerful fist in London as Trump’s foreign policy advisor.
Undoubtably the Daniel Defoe of the Trump presidential campaign he nearly achieved his mission to get Hilary Clinton into office.
4 May 2016: Prime Minister Cameron told by George Papadopoulos to Say Sorry to Trump or the Risk Special Relationship
Early May 2016: Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK- Alexander Downer Provides Key Information to the FBI & Clinton Team
Russia-Gate was triggered by a reported conversations in a swanky bar in London, between Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, who was based in London, and a drunk junior Trump foreign policy adviser George Papodopoulous.
The pair reportedly discussed the alleged Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton while they were drinking in a bar in London.
According to Lifezette, Downer is closely tied with The Clinton Foundation via his role in securing $25 million in aid from his country to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS.
But he is also a member of the advisory board of the secretive London Based Hakluyt & Co., an intelligence firm set up in 1995 by three former UK intelligence officials and described as “a retirement home for ex-MI6 (British foreign Service Intelligence) officers”
In recent times the company extended it’s operational base and actively recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking.
And whereas research group Fusion GPS received all the media attention, so far, Lifezette stated that Hakluyt was “an even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm… with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign”.
When the information Papadopoulos had disclosed to the Australian diplomat reached the F.B.I., the bureau opened an investigation that soon became one of its most closely guarded secrets.
It had not been prompted by the dossier compiled by former British spy’s, but by Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos boasting to a top Australian diplomat about Russia’s dirt on then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump and Russia-Gate- All Roads Lead to London and MI6
https://archive.fo/6jtGe (Trump Dossier)