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More details emerge of mysterious professor at heart of Russia probe

Mangiante II

Mifsud meeting with Kazakh ambassador Erjan Kazykhan. Credit: Twitter/@kazembassy

New information has come to light regarding the mysterious ex-Stirling professor Joseph Mifsud, who has vanished following revelations of his implication in the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Mifsud and the Trump Campaign

Joseph Mifsud offered to work for the Trump campaign in 2016, posing as a journalist, during his time as a University of Stirling employee.

In April 2016, Professor Mifsud met with George Papadopolous, a Trump campaign aide, with the promise of compromising information on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Mifsud had reportedly been aware of the aide prior to their meeting, but only showed interest once he discovered Papadopolous was working for Donald Trump.

The extent of their communication, and Mifsud’s involvement with the Trump campaign, has been revealed in a report by The New York Times.

An email released by the NYT reveals Mifsud had suggested to Papadopolous that he would “write op-eds under the guise of a ‘neutral’ observer … and follow Mr Trump to his rallies as an accredited journalist while receiving briefings from the inside the campaign”.

Mifsud, having previously denied any nefarious activity with Russia or the Trump campaign, was essentially offering to work for the Trump campaign as a surrogate, despite attempts to appear as an impartial reporter.

It has also been revealed that Mifsud put Papadopolous in contact with Ivan Timofeev, programme director of the Putin-linked Valdai Discussion Club.

Timofeev has been described by members of US special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as an ‘intermediary’ for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Papadopolous maintained regular contact with Timofeev, discussing how to establish a connection between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Donald Trump’s first major foreign policy speech as the presumptive Republican nominee, on April 27, was edited by George Papadopolous.

The “America First” speech was largely critical of the foreign policy of preceding US administrations, and received notable attention for its tone regarding Russia.

“I see improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength, as possible,” Trump said.

“Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable; I intend to find out.”

Papadopolous touted the speech to his newfound Russian contacts, telling Timofeev that the speech was intended as a “signal to meet”.

Professor Mifsud is reported to have been pleased with the speech, describing it as a “statesman [sic] speech”.

Mifsud’s relationship with the University of Stirling

Brig has also learned Mifsud had been employed by the University of Stirling since 2014, more than two years longer than had previously been reported.

In his time as a Stirling employee, he made 18 visits to the campus and gave three lectures to politics students, including a talk on migration which also included a lecture by former MP and teaching fellow Sir George Reid.

Mifsud also attended multiple graduation ceremonies and had a number of meetings on campus, although no records of the meetings were kept.

Mifsud was considered by Deputy Principal John Gardner to be one of Stirling’s “diplomatic A-team”. However, his credentials have come under heavy scrutiny since his involvement with the Trump campaign came to light.

The professor is not believed to have been paid any expenses by the university during his years of employment, and resigned three weeks after the release of court papers indicating his involvement in the Russia inquiry.

Mifsud, the Trump aide and the fiancée

Since the indictment of George Papadopolous, his fiancée has revealed more information of their work with Professor Mifsud.

Papadopolous and his fiancée, Simona Mangiante, worked for Mifsud at his London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP).

“I knew something was wrong from the first day I arrived there,” Mangiante revealed in an interview earlier this month with Business Insider.

“It all felt very artificial. I had worked in real diplomatic environments and this didn’t feel that way at all. I never even had clarity about who [Mifsud] actually was.”

Mangiante also conceded to The Guardian she may been ‘inadvertently’ involved in a Russian intelligence operation, despite her insistence she was not involved in Mifsud’s other business.

This new report also reveals Mifsud used his University of Stirling email address to communicate with Mangiante, discussing business relating to the LCILP.

One particular email sent from Mifsud’s account, j.mifsud@stir.ac.uk, shows him arranging to meet with Mangiante following a trip to Russia.

“I hope you are fine … I was in Moscow … Now I’m in London. Can we meet in person? I’m here until Tuesday night.”

The extent to which Mifsud used his Stirling email address to conduct his business, or whether he contacted other employees such as Papadopolous from the account, is currently unknown.

Mangiante is a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US General Election, and testified to the FBI earlier this year following a subpoena.

Brig has approached the University of Stirling for comment.

You can read Brig‘s other stories about Professor Joseph Mifsud here, here, here, here and here.

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