- Attorney General William Barr reportedly listened to an audio tape of Joseph Mifsud during a trip to Italy last week to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
- Barr met with Italian intelligence officials alongside John Durham, the federal prosecutor leading the inquir, The Daily Beast reported.
- Mifsud reportedly provided a taped deposition in order to obtain police protection.
Attorney General William Barr reportedly listened to an audio recording of the mysterious professor at the center of the special counsel’s probe during a surprise trip last week to Italy.
Barr met with Italian intelligence officials during the trip, The Daily Beast reported citing Italian officials, and John Durham accompanied him. Durham is a federal prosecutor who is leading an inquiry into FBI and CIA intelligence-gathering activities related to the Trump campaign.
A source in Italy’s Ministry of Justice said that Italian officials played a tape for Barr and Durham, according to The Daily Beast. Another source said the Italians showed the U.S. officials other evidence related to Joseph Mifsud, who was once a Maltese diplomat and has held university positions in the U.K. and Italy. (RELATED: Here Is The Most Recent Known Photo Of Joseph Mifsud)
The tape was a deposition that Mifsud gave after applying for police protection explaining why he might be in harm’s way, according to The Beast. The report said Italian Ministry of Justice records show that Mifsud applied for police protection.
Mifsud was scrutinized in the special counsel’s investigation because of his relationship in 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide. Papadopoulos said Mifsud told him during an April 26, 2016 meeting in London that he had learned from Russian government officials that Russia had “dirt” on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.
Papadopoulos has denied seeing or handling any emails Mifsud mentioned. He has also accused Mifsud of being a spy working on behalf of the FBI or other Western intelligence agencies. But the FBI would home in on Papadopoulos because of another London meeting that he had with another Western diplomat, Alexander Downer.
Downer, who served as Australia’s high commissioner to the U.K. through 2017, said in a memo that was given to the FBI that Papadopoulos mentioned over drinks that Russia might release information helpful to the Trump campaign close to the election.
The Australians shared the memo with the FBI after WikiLeaks released emails that Russians had stolen from the Democratic National Committee.
Mifsud went in hiding in November 2017, after Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 in the special counsel’s probe to lying to the FBI about the extent of his contacts with Mifsud.
The special counsel portrayed Mifsud as a possible Russian agent; however, the Malta-born mystery man also has close ties to Western diplomats. He has visited the U.S. State Department and held a position at Rome’s Link Campus University, which has close ties to Western intelligence agencies.
Mifsud also appears to have remained in the West even after being accused of being a Russian agent.
Mifsud’s Zurich-based lawyer, Stephan Roh, provided the Daily Caller News Foundation a photo of Mifsud Tuesday from May 21, 2018. The photo showed Mifsud signing a power of attorney agreement with Roh’s firm.
Italian news outlets have also reported that Mifsud lived in an apartment in Rome for at least six months after he was first linked to Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos first met Mifsud on March 14, 2016 in Rome, shortly after he officially joined the Trump campaign. The pair struck up a quick friendship and remained in contact throughout the campaign.
Ten days after their first contact, Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to a woman he claimed was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s niece.
The special counsel’s report said Mifsud drafted or edited some of the messages that the woman, Olga Polonskaya, sent Papadopoulos.
Mifsud also represented to Papadopoulos that he had Russian links. Emails between the pair show that Mifsud tried unsuccessfully to arrange meetings between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.
The Justice Department did not respond to the DCNF’s multiple requests for comment about whether Barr listened to a tape of Mifsud.
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