As I never tire of saying, I think the entire story that a conversation over wine between Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former Australian* diplomat and alleged British intelligence asset Alexander Downer is such transparent bullsh** that it shows just how stupid the FBI and Mueller thinks the nation is. The story is wildly implausible on its face and the fact that nothing in the story turned out to be true makes it, and the motives of the FBI, even more suspect.
Today, NRO’s Andy McCarthy goes through the Papadopoulos story with a fine-toothed comb and what he finds makes the whole premise of the Papadopoulos story looked damned silly. McCarthy says that there is no evidence that Papadopoulos knew anything about Clinton’s emails or any emails for that matter.
We learn from the Mueller report (Volume I, p. 193) that Mifsud was interviewed by the FBI on February 10, 2017, a couple of weeks after the bureau started interviewing Papadopoulos. Mifsud denied that, when he met Papadopoulos in London on April 26, 2016, he either knew about or said anything about Russia’s possession of Clinton-related emails.
The Trump-Russia investigation continued for over two years after the FBI’s interview of Mifsud. Mueller took over the probe in May 2017. During his 22 months running the investigation, Mueller charged many people (including Papadopoulos) with lying to the FBI. But he never charged Mifsud. The government has never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.
There appear to be very good reasons for that.
It was only when he was interviewed by the FBI in late January 2017, nine months after his conversation with Mifsud, that Papadopoulos is alleged to have claimed that Mifsud said the Russians had “thousands” of “emails of Clinton.” There is no known recording of this FBI interview, so there is no way of knowing whether (a) Papadopoulos volunteered this claim that Mifsud mentioned emails or (b) this claim was suggested to Papadopoulos by his interrogators’ questions. We have no way of knowing whether Papadopoulos is telling the truth (which, for no good reason, he kept hidden from his Trump-campaign superiors) or if he was telling the FBI agents what he thought they wanted to hear (which is what he often did when reporting to the Trump campaign).
McCarthy points out that at no time does it allege anywhere in the Mueller report that Papadopoulos was told what the Russians intended to do with the alleged “dirt” on Clinton.
There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.
3) Papadopoulos says the emails he claims Mifsud referred to were not the DNC emails; they were Clinton’s own emails. That is, when Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton,” he understood Mifsud to be alluding to the thousands of State Department and Clinton Foundation emails that Clinton had stored on a private server. These, of course, were the emails that were being intensively covered in the media (including speculation that they might have been hacked by hostile foreign intelligence services) at the time Mifsud and Papadopoulos spoke – i.e., April 2016, when neither Mifsud nor Papadopoulos had any basis to know anything about hacked DNC emails.
There is a point of order here:
Andy – dates are off. @GeorgePapa19 did not meet Downer on May 6 (it was May 10).
May 6 is when Erika Thompson reached out. pic.twitter.com/D9gbNd1LKZ
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) May 6, 2019
In case you missed it, the Erika Thompson mentioned here is identified in Mueller’s report as a “representative of a foreign country” and she has been alleged to be an Australian intelligence operative. So we have spies from two nations making a run at Papadopoulos.
The Clintonistas in the FBI and at Justice manufactured a story where none existed:
Downer’s flawed assumption that Papadopoulos must have been referring to the hacked DNC emails was then inflated into a Trump–Russia conspiracy theory by Clinton partisans in the Obama administration — first at the State Department, and then in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the broader intelligence community — all agencies in which animus against Donald Trump ran deep.
To recap, though Downer initially dismissed his conversation with Papadopoulos as trite gossip, he suddenly decided their discussion was significant after the hacked DNC emails were published. In late July, he personally went to the American embassy in London to report the two-month-old conversation to Elizabeth Dibble, the chargé d’affaires (i.e., the deputy chief of mission, who was running the embassy because Matthew Barzun, the U.S. ambassador and heavyweight Democratic-party fundraiser, was on vacation).
Although Papadopoulos is extensively quoted in the Mueller report, the prosecutors avoid any quote from Downer regarding what Papadopoulos told him at the meeting. This is consistent with Mueller’s false-statements charge against Papadopoulos, which includes the aforementioned 14-page “Statement of the Offense” that studiously omits any reference to Papadopoulos’s May 6 meeting with Downer, notwithstanding that it was the most consequential event in Papadopoulos’s case. (See pp. 7–8, in which the chronology skips from May 4 to May 13 as if nothing significant happened in between.)
Instead, Mueller carefully describes not what Papadopoulos said to Downer, but what Downer understood Papadopoulos had “suggested”…
When McCarthy points out what isn’t said in the Mueller report the point becomes much more clear:
In his February 2017 FBI interview, Mifsud denied saying anything to Papadopoulos about Clinton-related emails in the possession of the Kremlin. Of course, Mifsud could be lying. But there is no evidence that he would have been in a position to know. As we’ve noted, Mueller never charged Mifsud with lying to the FBI. Interestingly, prosecutors allege that Mifsud “falsely” recounted the last time he had seen Papadopoulos; but prosecutors do not allege that Mifsud’s denial of knowledge about Russia’s possession of emails is false (Vol. I, p. 193).
Moreover, the Mueller report does not allege that Papadopoulos ever claimed Mifsud told him the Russians would try to help Trump by anonymously releasing information damaging to Clinton. Again, instead of quoting Papadopoulos, prosecutors repeatedly and disingenuously stress the “suggestion” that Papadopoulos purportedly made — as if the relevant thing were the operation of Downer’s mind rather than the words that Papadopoulos actually used.
Prosecutors acknowledge that Papadopoulos’s conversation with Downer is “contained in the FBI case-opening document and related materials” (Vol. I, p. 89, n. 465). But Mueller’s report does not quote these materials, even though it extensively quotes other investigative documents. Mueller does not tell us what Papadopoulos said.
Bottom line: the Papadopoulos story has been deliberately inflated to hide the significance the Steele dossier played in creating the entire “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.
Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyperpolitical director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.
Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.
To repeat, Papadopoulos never told Downer anything about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report provides no basis for Papadopoulos to have known that Russia was planning the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton in order to help Trump; nor does the Mueller report allege that Papadopoulos actually told Downer such a thing.
The Papadopoulos story is fantasy from beginning to end. The charging document for Papadopoulos, his congressional testimony, and the Mueller report all show that his involvement in this was made into something it wasn’t. Where Mueller tries to portray Mifsud as a man with contacts with Russian intelligence, his behavior, activities, friendships, and current location are much more indicative of someone who is working with one or more Western intelligence organizations.
Hopefully, the DOJ IG will shed some light on this but one thing is clear, this story is too big to stay hidden indefinitely.
Violently loud alcoholic roughnecks whose idea of fun is to throw up on your car. The national sport is breaking furniture and the average daily consumption of beer in Sydney is ten and three quarters Imperial gallons for children under the age of nine. “Making a Shambles” is required study in the primary schools and all Australians are bilingual, speaking both English and Sheep. Possibly as a result of their country’s being upside down, the local dialect has over 400 terms for vomit. These include “technicolor yawn” “talking to the toilet,” “round-trip meal ticket,” and “singing lunch.” It is illegal to employ the aboriginal inhabitants as anything but toilets, and some of the peculiar forms of native wildlife have up to nine assholes. The recent destruction of Darwin by a hurricane was actually a cover story for the regrettable coincidence of paydays on three separate sheep stations.
[from A Brief Survey of the Various Foreigners, Their Chief Characteristics, Customs, and Manners by P.J. O’Rourke, National Lampoon, 1976]