BuzzFeed News just nailed down a new link between Vladimir Putin and the mysterious Maltese professor in London who told a Trump campaign aide about Russia’s political hacking campaign months before even the Democratic National Convention knew. Professor Joseph Mifsud’s Ukrainian spouse says he showed her photos of himself with Putin’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov together and shared dozens of private messages – before vanishing without a trace. (embedded below)
Convicted Trump campaign foreign policy advisor, George Papadopolous, has already pleaded guilty to covering up his relationship with the professor, who passed him the non-public information that Russians had hacked Democrats and stolen their emails.
The professor then lured Papadopolous into a hastily convened meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in London, which appears to have been a ruse to link him with one of Lavrov’s top associates.
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Professor Mifsud left a pregnant fiancé behind in Kiev, Ukraine, a very worried woman who recently provided BuzzFeed News with years worth of their private communications. “Anna” didn’t speak with reporters at Mifsud’s written request when news of the Trump aide’s guilty plea broke, but the professor suddenly vanished, leaving “Anna” to care for their newborn child.
Now, however, feeling deceived, she’s changed her mind. The result is new information about Mifsud’s activities, including his claim of having dined with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.
“He said, ‘I have dinner with Lavrov tonight. Lavrov is my friend. Lavrov this, Lavrov that,’” Anna said. “He even show me picture with Lavrov.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In a series of WhatsApp messages sent in May 2017, Mifsud also told Anna he was in Saudi Arabia at the same time as President Donald Trump’s visit, and in Sicily, Italy, for the G7 Summit.
In addition to meeting Anna in Kiev, BuzzFeed News spoke to her multiple times in the past month over Facebook messenger, via WhatsApp, on the telephone, and in a video call.
She provided access to her entire WhatsApp history with Mifsud. She also shared dozens of photos of the couple together, including in Ukraine and Russia.
Experts agree that Russia used the professor for the reason of creating plausible deniability for their outreach to the Trump campaign.
Mifsud lived the high life after accomplishing his mission of reaching out to the Trump campaign, traveling frequently between Moscow, Rome, and Kiev.
But his spouse noticed an unusual difference in Professor Mifsud’s behavior depending on which city they were staying, leading up to his admission that the FBI tracked him down for an interview after Trump’s inauguration.
Unlike in Rome and Moscow, where Mifsud frequently received visitors, Mifsud didn’t use his trips to Ukraine to network. “He didn’t meet people in Kiev. ‘Russia-Ukraine relationship not good, and I do a lot of work in Moscow,’” Anna recalled Mifsud saying.
Anna said she and Mifsud last met in person in Kiev in early April 2017. He told her then that he had recently been questioned by the FBI in the US, she said.
“He told me he was in his hotel room when he was called downstairs by reception. It was the FBI. He said they wanted to talk about connections he set up between people in Britain and Russia.”
The very personal messages between Mifsud and his spouse reveal that the globe traveling professor had ample reason to believe that his high-level contacts with the Russian government reasons that weren’t just academic.
In fact, Professor Mifsud’s former assistant Simona Mangiate quit his London Academy of International Law, calling it obviously a “facade” for something else. Mangiate then spoke with the since-convicted former Trump advisor Papadopolous after they met via LinkedIn because of their shared connection, themselves becoming romantically involved.
Professor Joseph Mifsud’s text messages reveal a petty, manipulative man, who went so far as to demand the return of his engagement ring and a designer purse he’d gifted to “Anna” and later, who lied repeatedly about his whereabouts when finding out his fiancé was pregnant.
“Anna’s revelation of a direct connection between Professor Mifsud and Russia’s top global diplomat amplifies his importance in the Trump Russia election attack investigation. His closeness to Lavrov further underscores the propriety of the FBI’s decision to seek a FISA warrant and place the Trump Campaign under an investigation for cooperating illegally with foreign powers.
Mifsud’s final message to “Anna” was – ironically – a warning not to speak to journalists about him.
Here are Professor Mifsud’s private WhatsApp messages to his spouse “Anna”: