The Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in a court filing Friday that the London-based Maltese professor who told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton may be dead. Joseph Mifsud vanished from the public eye late last year after his name surfaced in stories about the Russia investigation.
The DNC, which is suing Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for interfering in the 2016 election, said that it believes that all the defendants in the case had been served with the complaint, “with the exception of Mifsud (who is missing and may be deceased).” The lawyers apparently didn’t elaborate.
The DNC indicated that an investigator had been hired to locate Mifsud, and was told he may be dead.
“The DNC’s counsel has attempted to serve Mifsud for months and has been unable to locate or contact him. In addition, public reports have said he has disappeared and hasn’t been seen for months,” DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told The Hill.
This news came on the same day President Trump’s former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to a grand total of two weeks in jail for lying to investigators about the timing and scope of his contacts with the Maltese academic. Mifsud allegedly told Papadopoulos that the Kremlin had “dirt” on the Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.”
The FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane, its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, in July 2016 after learning that Papadopoulos had repeated Mifsud’s claim to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in London over drinks.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, Downer gave this information directly to the Obama State Department, not the FBI as had been previously reported.
One of the biggest mysteries in the whole Russia collusion investigation is who the Maltese professor was working for.
Mifsud reportedly surfaced briefly at a conference in Washington, D.C., in February 2017, and at the time told the FBI that he never said anything to Papadopoulos about Clinton’s emails, that he didn’t even know about the emails, and that he wasn’t a Russian operative.
Yet in their April report on Russian interference in the election, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee described Mifsud as “Kremlin-linked.”
According to Fox News, the professor also “had Western ties at academic institutions like the Link Campus University in Rome, the University of Stirling in Scotland, the London Academy of Diplomacy and the London Center for International Law Practice.”
“The most fishy parts of the story are: Is Mifsud really a Russian agent?” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy mused on “Fox and Friends” back in June.
Investigative journalist Lee Smith reported at RealClearInvestigations that there is no evidence to support the claim that Mifsud is/was a Russian spy. “Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services,” he wrote.
Smith suggested that Mifsud may have actually been working with Western intelligence.
“While most media accounts have simply repeated official claims that Mifsud is a sketchy character whose visits to Russia and academic contacts suggest he is working for Russian intelligence, a look at the available evidence challenges that narrative,” Smith wrote. “It also raises the possibility that Mifsud [may]…have actually been working for Western intelligence agencies.”
The professor was last seen at the Global Ties national conference on February 8, 2017, where he was featured as a speaker. The Global Ties national conference was run by the State Department’s Office of International Visitors.
The Independent in July reported that Mifsud was a “ghost on the run from Americans, Russians, and Italians.”
Mifsud “is not only on the run from the Americans, Russians and the press, but also from the Italian judicial authorities, who have been unable to track down the wayward academic,” the paper reported.