A photograph has emerged of Boris Johnson meeting the “London Professor” named in the statement of offences against Donald Trump’s former foreign policy advisor who pled guilty to lying to the FBI last month.
The Foreign Secretary has already denied meeting Joseph Mifsud but a picture on Facebook posted last month clearly shows the two men together at a recent event.
Johnson now faces accusations of a possible security breach at a time when concerns are being raised about possible Kremlin interference into the Brexit campaign in which he played a leading role for the Leave side.
Mifsud’s name arose in the statement of charges against George Papadopoulos who last month pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to FBI agents about “dirt” he was offered on Hillary Clinton.
Papadopoulos was living in London when he joined the Trump campaign, according to the statement.
Papadopoulos told the FBI a London-based professor had “told him about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails,’ but stated multiple times that he learned that information prior to joining the campaign”, according to court documents.
In fact, Papadopoulos was contacted after he learned he’d be joining the campaign, and the professor only mentioned the “thousands of emails” after he’d been on the Trump campaign for more than a month.
The professor, the statement indicates, had “substantial connections to Russian government officials” even though Papadopoulos claimed the professor was “a nothing”.
Mifsud in turn introduced him to a Russian woman and the Russian ambassador in London, and they discussed setting up meetings to talk about US-Russia ties in a Trump presidency.
Papadopoulos sent a “High-Ranking Campaign Official” an email titled “New message from Russia” back in June 2016, in which he said the Russian ministry of foreign affairs wanted to meet with either Trump or a campaign official in an off-the-record capacity, according to the prosecutors’ statement.
A Trump campaign supervisor encouraged Papadopoulos to make the trip “if it is feasible” on August 15, 2016.
Mifsud is reported to have told colleagues he was “meeting Boris Johnson for dinner re Brexit” on 19 October 2017.
A Foreign Office source said at the time: “The foreign secretary has not knowingly met this person, planned to meet this person, or indeed ever heard of this person before.”