Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Mifsud 302

Techno Fog has posted a copy of the FD-302 for the FBI's interview of Joseph Mifsud. That interview took place in the lobby of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on February 17, 2017. At that time Mifsud had come to DC for some sort of conference.

What will immediately strike the reader will be the perfunctory nature of the interview, if the 302 accurately reflects the interview (which could be a big IF). As presented, outside of background information regarding Mifsud himself how he knew George Papadopoulos, it appears that the interviewing agents--in one way or another, the exact line of questioning isn't made clear--raised the issue of whether Mifsud had discussed Russian possession of DNC emails. Mifsud responded that he himself had no such knowledge and that the topic had not been raised between Mifsud and Papadopoulos. This meeting took place in the UK in approximately September of 2016.

Here are the two views of the 302 that we have. Note that the administrative section is cut off, so we don't see the names of the interviewing agents or the case type (which would indicate what case the interview was conducted under and what type of violation was purportedly invovled)--which I assume would have been redacted in any case:

My guess is that the 302 is intentionally sketchy and that the interview itself may have also been intentionally sketchy. What I mean is, that the FBI officials running this investigation may not have wished to have an extremely detailed 302 on record, one which would give a sharp eyed reader a better idea of what questions were asked, how those questions were framed, whether the agents had attempted to pressure Mifsud or coax Mifsud into more complete answers, and so forth. In other words, the reason for the sketchy nature of this 302 may have been to avoid tying the agents down to any very specific recollections of the interview that could conflict with later investigative and prosecutive needs. At the same time, the fact of the 302 recording an interview of Mifsud would serve to provide a documentary anchor for the necessary narrative that the FBI had diligently investigated all leads in the Russia Hoax investigation.

In any event, the interview appears to have been generally amicable, because Mifsud followed up with an email to the agents in which Mifsud essentially reiterated what the 302 records, but at greater length than the 302. MIfsud simply repeats that "Cybersecurity" issues had never been a topic of direct discussion between himself and Papadopoulos and had been tangential to the main topics of conversation. Mifsud suggests that "cybersecurity" may have been discussed in the context of suggestions for topics for future think tank style "conferences/seminars". This was, presumably, Mifsud's discrete way of reaffirming what the 302 states: That Mifsud and Papadopoulos never discussed the supposed "Russia hacked the DNC" narrative that has been a staple of Dem "Trump collusion" conspiracy theory.

Here is that email:

What is apparent is that the interview and accompanying email provide ZERO corroboration for the notion that Papadopoulos claimed to have heard anything at all about a supposed "Russian hack."

Further, if the FBI had hoped to develop a narrative that Papadopoulos had sought to introduce a Russian agent (i.e., Mifsud) into the Trump campaign (more below), that narrative was undercut by a statement made by Mifsud that was certainly a response to a FBI question:

Papadopoulos did not ask Mifsud to join the Trump campaign during this conversation.

In his twitter thread on this topic, Techno Fog points out another notable aspect of the 302--one which is only apparent if a comparison is made to the Mueller Report.

It appears from the 302--but only obliquely--that Mifsud was asked whether he had ever introduced Papadopoulos to Russians. Mifsud's email response places that topic at the very beginning and devotes more space to it than to the "cybersecurity" topic. Mifsud named the one Russian official with whom he connected Papadopoulos to--by email--a Dr. Ivan N. Timofeev, and provided fairly full details about Timofeev.

By contrast, the Mueller Report places considerable emphasis on Mifsud's supposed Russian connections. The Mueller Report also claims that Papadopoulos' statements that his contacts with Mifsud had taken place before Papadopoulos had joined the Trump campaign impeded the FBI investigation. The problem with this claim in the Mueller Report is that Papadopoulos was interviewed in January of 2017, and Mifsud was interviewed a month later, in February. In the 302 the FBI agents state that Mifsud told them that the UK meeting with Papadopoulos took place:

"during the period during when Papadopoulos was transitioning from LCILP to a position with the Donald Trump campaign."

In other words:

*The FBI appears not to have been impeded from making inquiries about Papadopoulos' status with the Trump campaign--they discussed that specifically with Mifsud a month AFTER discussing it with Papadopoulos. 
*Mifsud's understanding of Papadopoulos' status with the Trump campaign appears to basically agree with Papadopoulos' understanding--the meeting in the UK had taken place "before" or during a "transitional" period with regard to the Trump campaign. That strongly suggests that Papadopoulos was being truthful with the FBI--that there was no intent to deceive.

Based on that evidence, would you consider it ethical for a prosecutor to coerce Papadopoulos into a guilty plea, claiming that you could--if necessary--adduce evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? I would say that any jury--had there been one--could quite reasonably entertain doubt as to Papadopoulos' intent, based on this evidence.

But Team Mueller insisted:

All in all, the release of this 302 appears to devastate any good faith presumptions in favor of Team Mueller--certainly with regard to the prosecution of George Papadopoulos. The timing of the release will certainly lead to speculation about imminent indictments, but that speculation will likely be directed toward Team Mueller. No wonder Andrew Weissmann has been freaking out.

Although there seems to be some conflict in accounts, there have been reports that Kevin Clinesmith may have been involved in the questioning of Papadopoulos. What has Papadopoulos had to say to Durham on this topic? We presume the agents involved in all interviews with both Papadopoulos and Mifsud have been interviewed--and their accounts likely compared to the tape recordings of Mifsud that Mifsud's lawyers gave to Durham. What have they said? And is it possible that Durham has actually been in direct contact with Mifsud? We don't know, and of course Durham isn't saying.


  1. Is it possible Team Mueller has documents that haven’t been made available to team Durham? Are there SOC notes available to review to deduce their rationale on this that team Durham can evaluate?

    1. Mueller's operation was a DoJ op, so those are all DoJ docs.

  2. The errors or mistakes in judgment all run in the same direction. Funny how that happens. Obviously, going after Trump (an investigation without predication) meant there would be corners cut, toes stepped on, ill-founded prosecutions, pointing to a sea of corruption. Whether a full-blown conspiracy can be established through convictions, is yet to be discovered.

    1. For those participants in the scheme to overthrow a duly elected president who claim innocence, considerable
      "circumstantial evidence" has reached the point of statistical impossibility in arguing their defense.

  3. 1. we do know that Barr/Durham have had direct contact with Mifsud's lawyer, if not Mifsud himself.

    2. the claim that Papadopoulos discussed a hack (by Russia or anybody) of the DNC emails later published by Wikileaks is an absurdity: the virtually all of the Wikileaks published DNC emails had not even been written at the time of Mifsud's conversation with PapaD. The DNC email server had a 30 day retention policy, and the extraction dates that are inferred by that indicate the emails were extracted from the DNC network (by whatever means, by whomever did it) between 23-25 May 2016. PapaD could not have discuss Wikileaks published DNC email hacks with either Mifsud or Downer, because the emails had not yet been removed (and most had not even been written) at the time he had his conversations with those people!!

  4. Mifsud follow-up email to FBI:

    >> <<

    Since FBI claimed that PapaD claims about "Russians having dirt on Hillary they might be willing to share" -- which he supposedly heard from Mifsud -- was the basis for predication for opening CH, Mifsud's denial of ever saying such a thing to PapaD destroys the underlying predication of the FBI's CH investigation!

  5. Just seeing Weissman being frog marched might be worth it all even if they indict no one else.

    Rob S

  6. My girl friend's father worked for Arthur Anderson was he lost his job and his fortune thanks to weissman. I want to see him in a jail cell with two guys named Bruno and Vito

    rob S

  7. Unknown: I've had a lot of motives to keep basically to the straight and narrow throughout my life, but not wanting to end up in a jail cell with two guys named Bruno and Vito has always been about the highest among them :)

    Though if I'm to be honest, I can't say I'm equally sensitive to the prospect of that particular fate being visited upon Andrew Weissmann.

  8. Anomalies in the 302:

    (not a complete list)

    1. 302 is written 2/28/2017, 17 days after the interview reputedly took place, according to interview date (2/11/2017) stated on page 1 text.

    2. Date in p. 1 text specifying interview date does not match date on page 2 of the 302, which lists interview as being 2/10/2017, one day earlier.

    3. para 3 p. 1 starts out describing how MIFSUD and PAPAD had coffee together, with POLENSKAYA, but later in the paragraph it states they went to lunch in the cafeteria. Then in para 4 top of p. 2, it states that after lunch MIFSUD and PAPAD went across the street to have coffee, joined by "redacted" (very long redaction.)

    So, the 302 starts out describing how they met over coffee, switches to meeting over lunch, and then having coffee afterwards across the street. Why is the paragraph not consistent? Why start out describing the meeting as being over coffee, then switching to being lunch, then adding coffee after lunch across the street?

    4. At the coffee after lunch, 302 states MIFSUD and PAPAD were joined by POLENSKAYA and a redacted name (very long) on p. 2. The redacted name lacks the usual qualifying/explanatory details regarding the person's role, position, or relationship to the subjects of the interview, as is customary in every instance where a new name is introduced in the 302 for the first time. (No previously introduced name in the 302 appears to fit the redaction.)

    This would only make sense if the name had been previously introduced, with explanatory details before this passage in the 302.

    This suggests the 302 has been edited, and explanatory details about this individual were removed from previous passages, but, the lack of explanatory details in the subsequent (now initial) reference to the redacted name was overlooked.

    This would also suggest the switch between coffee/lunch
    on p. 1 could also be the result of significant editing, done in haste.

    Given how sparse the entire 302 appears to be, one has to wonder how much other substantive material was removed during the time between the interview and the 302 prepared on 2/28/2017.

    1. @EZ

      Totally agree. 302 is extremely flawed and begs a couple dozen questions (including your excellent list).

      Which hopefully Durham has dug deeply into. Including, of course, the basic questions of who Mifsud was and is, who he was working for, and what his job was.

    2. Great points. So, you're saying the 302 was Clinesmithed?

    3. More likely massaged to death Flynn style...

  9. Hmm...this seems to be another fake prosecution/persecution (like that of Flynn). Can Papadopoulos retroactively clear his name and conviction with this new information? If not, a full pardon would seem in order. Since he already served his sentence and cooperated to the satisfaction of his prosecutors, I would think there would be little downside to Trump doing that.

  10. "little downside to Trump doing that", except for maybe hurting his cred as a witness, as would be so with Flynn.

  11. "...Clinesmith may have been involved in the questioning of Papadopoulos"

    Considering what Clinesmith was, why would he have done that?

    (thanks for all you share)

    1. In my time that wouldn't have happened, but that's what has been reported. There has been some dispute about this, which is why I said "may have been".