Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) spoke to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday morning. He confirmed the identity of the informants to whom former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos had given “exculpatory evidence.” The information can be found on a transcript of a meeting between he and FBI informants Stefan Halper, then a professor at Cambridge University, and Azra Turk, whom Halper introduced as his assistant, in London in September 2016.
Halper had previously met with Carter Page in July 2016 and used his acquaintance with Page as an introduction to Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016. The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports that Halper contacted Papadopoulos and offered him $3,000 plus expenses to come to London “under the guise of providing research about energy security issues.”
Papadopoulos told Ross that, when he met with Halper and Turk in London, they both asked him about the Trump campaign’s involvement in “Russia’s hacking of Democrats’ emails.” He said he had “rejected the question out of hand, saying that hacking emails would be illegal.”
In preparation for her Sunday morning interview with Gowdy, Bartiromo contacted Papadopoulos on Saturday evening to verify what he had said to Halper when asked if the Trump campaign would use Russian information against Hillary Clinton. According to her, Papadopoulos repeated what he has said all along. “Are you kidding that’s treasonous, people get hanged for stuff like this…that’s nuts, that’s treason.”
Gowdy explained to Bartiromo:
That what you just described is textbook exculpatory information. It tends to show that a person did not commit a crime, a crime by the way, Maria, he was never charged with. Papadopolous was charged with a process crime but never with colluding with Russia.
But it also speaks to what the FBI and the department were doing back in 2016: Was their target Russia or was their target the Trump campaign? We’re not going to know until we get the transcripts public.
The FBI and the DOJ said it was never intended to investigate the Trump campaign, just Russia. Okay, great. Show us the transcripts. Show us what questions you coached the informants or the cooperating witnesses to ask of the Trump campaign officials. If it’s not about the campaign then you win, you’re right. But if you’re veering over into the campaign, or if your questions are not solely about Russia, then you’ve been misleading us for two years.
Just release the transcripts, and we can tell for ourselves when it began and what it was about.
Although Gowdy stopped short of expressly saying it, it sure looks as if the FBI’s actual target was the Trump campaign rather than Russia.
Gowdy also informed Bartiromo this particular transcript is not the only one containing exculpatory evidence. He said, “The one you referenced is a single transcript, there are going to be others.”
The transcripts, which are currently in the hands of the DOJ, will clarify this issue. In other words, Attorney General William Barr and prosecutor John Durham already know the answer.
(Note: In the end, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. He served 12 days of a 14-day sentence.)
Papadopoulos and his wife, Simona Mangiante, also spoke to investigative reporter Sara Carter. They claim that “the FBI tried to coerce her to wear a wire to “entrap” her husband.”
Papadopoulos told Carter that his wife “was targeted by the FBI because she had information on another FBI informant, the academic Joseph Mifsud, who is connected to the Italian government and whose attorney has now come forward to reveal Mifsud was working with the FBI.” He said:
But what we believed that they really targeted her for is, we believe she knew all about Joseph Mifsud’s connections to the Italian government and his connections in Europe, which we just found out today that … the prime minister … just fired the heads of three intel agencies in Italy. And I think it has to do with the person, Joseph Mifsud, who the president and Devin Nunes and other people have been asking the government in Italy to examine a lot more because he’s actually at the core of this entire scam.
Two weeks ago, I reported that John Durham’s team has been in contact with Mifsud’s Swiss attorney, Stefan Roh. (“Has Durham Found A ‘Smoking Gun?’ The Mother Of All Omissions In Mueller’s Report May Await“) I wrote that “Durham and his team are hoping to either “interview Mifsud or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.”
Last week, the well-connected investigative journalist, John Solomon, confirmed that the Durham team now has Mifsud’s recorded deposition in their possession. My colleague, Sarah Lee, posted about that here.
The importance of Mifsud to this investigation cannot be overstated. In fact, Solomon, who has followed this story closely, calls Papadopoulos’ meetings with this man the “flashpoint, the starting point, of this whole Russia collusion narrative.”
In an appearance on “Hannity” last week, Solomon said:
Well I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audiotaped deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work, why he targeted Papadopoulos, who directed him to do that, what directions he was given, and why he set that entire process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016, which was really the flashpoint, the starting point of this whole Russian collusion narrative. I can also confirm that the Senate Judiciary Committee has also obtained the same deposition.
We’re going to eventually see the actual words that Papadopoulos used and whether the FBI properly disclosed evidence of innocence to the FISA court. My sources tell me there’s a big problem for the FBI there. That happened on James Comey’s watch.
Last week, we learned that the DOJ will not be charging Comey for leaking classified information (his memos). In response to a previous dig from Rep. Mark Meadows, Comey took to twitter to say, “I love transparency. I just wait for facts before I talk about them. I’m confident the results of all IG reports will show honest public servants worked hard to protect this country from a threat this president and his enablers won’t acknowledge. And @ me next time, bruh.”
I love transparency. I just wait for facts before I talk about them. I’m confident the results of all IG reports will show honest public servants worked hard to protect this country from a threat this president and his enablers won’t acknowledge. And @ me next time, bruh. https://t.co/0yTNgV2K4F
— James Comey (@Comey) August 2, 2019
Comey’s confidence may be a bit premature. The DOJ believes their case against him for FISA abuse is strong. Stay tuned.