Joseph Mifsud, missing link between Trump and Russia, could be dead, DNC says

Professor Joseph Mifsud, who is being sought in connection with alleged meddling in the 2016 US election may have died at some point during last year, according to lawyers for the Democratic National Committee

Joseph Mifsud
Joseph Mifsud

Joseph Mifsud could be dead, the Democratic National Committee in Washington claimed on Friday. The Professor has been missing for for months and has failed to testify in court in proceedings brought against him regarding alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Bloomberg News, Washington Times, The Hill as well as a number of other sources have reported that Mifsud is officially missing and could very well be deceased. The DNC lawyers, however, did not elaborate.

“The DNC’s counsel has attempted to serve Mifsud for months,” DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said. “It has been unable to locate him or contact him. In addition, several public reports have said he has disappeared and hasn’t been seen for months.”

The DNC stood by its claim and indicated that an investigator had even been appointed to locate Mifsud and it was told that the Maltese London-based professor might be dead.

The news came on the same day that President Trump’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to a total of two weeks in prison for lying to investigators about the timing and scope of his contacts with the Maltese academic. Mifsud had allegedly told Papadopolous that the Kremlin had “dirt” on the Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Mifsud was reportedly teaching at a private university in Rome before he vanished late last year shortly after his name emerged as a key figure in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The DNC reported that the Maltese professor has not been in contact with prosecutors in Italy seeking to question him over allegations of financial wrongdoing.

Mifsud’s fiancée corroborated this claim and told Business Insider earlier this year that she could not reach him.

Mifsud once served as personal assistant to then foreign minister Michael Frendo and had more recently addressed a news conference with Labour leader Joseph Muscat about an initiative to bring more tertiary education pluralism to Malta.

The DNC’s revelation of Mifsud’s status came in court filings on Friday in their lawsuit against Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeads for interfering in the last presidential election. “All defendents in the case have been served,” a spokesperson said, “with the exception of Mifsud.”

A hearing in that lawsuit is scheduled for next week in federal court in New York.

Mifsud was reportedly known to have high-level contacts in the Russian government, including with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s current foreign minister. During the campaign, Papadopoulos told President Trump and current Attorney General Jeff Session that Russia was interested in setting up a meeting between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin on the alleged advice of the Maltese professor.

While Trump officials have long downplayed Papadopoulos’ role within the campaign in several public statements and while Trump himself denied any collusion with Russia during the election, Papadopoulos was sentenced to two weeks imprisonment.

Investigative journalist Lee Smith reported that there is no evidence to support the claim that Mifsud was a Russian spy. “Although Mifsud has travelled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services,” he said.

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