A professor from the University of Stirling has been revealed as one of the main actors in the growing Trump-Russia scandal enveloping the US government.
The indictment of Trump aide George Papadopoulos, which was released to the public by US Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Monday, refers to an “overseas professor”. The Washington Post, matching segments of emails from the indictment to emails they received in August, has identified that professor as Joseph Mifsud, of the university’s Department of Politics.
Mifsud’s Twitter bio refers to him as “Dean, International Development and Diplomacy” at the University of Stirling. He also has a University of Stirling staff page that refers to him as a “Professorial Teaching Fellow”. He even has a staff email account.
Mifsud, from Malta, is the honorary director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, which The Telegraph has described as “affiliated to” the University of Stirling. The university does have an INTO London campus.
The Special Counsel’s indictment of Papadopoulos accuses the Trump aide of making “material false statements” to the FBI during an interview in January 2017.
Among these false statements was his claim that the “professor”, with whom he met to discuss “dirt” that the Russians possessed on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, was “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something”.
The indictment goes on to state that, at that point, Papadopoulos actually “understood” that the professor “had substantial connections to Russian government officials”, and he knew the professor “had met with some of those officials in Moscow immediately prior to telling [Papadopoulos] about the ‘thousands of emails'” that made up the “dirt” on Clinton.
The indictment also states that the “professor”, who is described as “based in London”, only began taking a “great interest” in Papadopoulos after he told him that he had joined the Trump campaign, and that Papadopoulos was “interested” in the professor due to his “substantial connections” to Russian government officials.
A brief statement from a university spokeperson said “Professor Joseph Mifsud has been a full-time Professorial Teaching Fellow in the university’s politics department since May 2017.”
This suggests that Mifsud is still on the payroll of the university, and joined full-time over a year after the meeting where he told Papadopoulos about the “thousands of emails” in possession of the Russians.
However, Brig has discovered that Mifsud’s relationship with the university goes back much longer than May this year.
Pictures posted on Twitter by Professor John Gardner, who retired in March of this year, on June 30, 2016, show Mifsud at a ceremony where students of the London Academy graduated.
In the photo, Mifsud is shown standing beside Gardner, Prof. Holger Nehring of the History Department, and Prof. Richard Oram, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
Another shows Mifsud beside Prof. Gerry McCormac, Stirling’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
Another tweet from Gardner shows Mifsud next to former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Sir George Reid. The tweet refers to them as “Our diplomacy A-team”.
Perhaps most shockingly, an events page on the university website describes a lecture Mifsud gave on the subject of migration on April 13 last year – less than two weeks before the April 26 meeting at which he offered Papadopoulos the “thousands of emails” hacked by the Russians.
According to the indictment, on March 24, less than a month before the migration lecture, Mifsud reportedly introduced Papadopoulos to a “female Russian national” in London, where they discussed arranging a meeting between the campaign and the Russian leadership.
Around March 31, roughly two weeks before the migration lecture, Papadopoulos announced to a campaign meeting that the connections supplied to him by Mifsud would help him to organise a meeting between Trump and Putin.
On April 11, two days before the migration lecture, Mifsud emailed Papadopoulos to say that a “foreign policy trip to Russia” had “already been agreed”.
On April 18, five days after the migration lecture, Mifsud flew to Moscow for a group of meetings at the Duma, the Russian legislative assembly, and he introduced Papadopoulos to an individual who told Papadopoulos he had “connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs” via email.
On April 30, 17 days after the migration lecture, Papadopoulos thanked the Professor.
He told him his help in arranging a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government was “critical”, saying: “It’s history making if it happens.”
Brig will keep you up to date with any developments on this story.
Warren Hardie and Aneesa Dastgir contributed reporting for this piece.