Last week it was announced that Donald Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty in the Trump-Russia scandal, and that he had confessed to conspiring with an alleged Kremlin agent to try to alter the outcome of the election. Now the private House Intel Committee testimony of another Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, has been publicly released. Page also admits that he met the same Kremlin agent.
Papadopoulos confessed that during the campaign he met with Professor Joseph Mifsud, who reportedly has close ties to the Kremlin (though Mifsud denies such ties), in an attempt at obtaining emails that had supposedly been stolen from Hillary Clinton. Carter Page was asked during his congressional testimony whether he had met Mifsud. Page’s answer consisted of his typical rambling word salad, but somewhere in there he admitted they’d met, saying “There may have been a greeting” before asserting that he has “no personal relationship with him.”
As per usual, it’s not entirely clear what in the hell Carter Page is actually saying here. Did he meet the professor on his trip to Moscow during the campaign? Is he saying that he met the professor but he can’t remember when it was? In any case, what stands out here is that Papadopoulos and Page – two low level Trump campaign advisers who each had significant communications with the Russian government during the campaign – are now acknowledging that they’ve both met the same obscure professor from Malta.
The question now becomes what the odds are of this being a coincidence, and if the Kremlin was using the professor in question to recruit low level Donald Trump campaign advisers. Is it possible that Professor Joseph Mifsud met Carter Page, immediately concluded he was an idiot, and decided not to recruit him? In any case, this professor it becoming more of a key player in the Trump-Russia by the hour.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report