“It’s a lie. It's a total lie," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told Just the News on Monday about the contents of the FBI memos. The ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee said the documents, obtained and published by BuzzFeed News via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, are "our first evidence of the Mueller team lying to the court.”
The pile of files made public includes the FBI’s witness reports related to the Mueller probe, which targeted Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign team in a bid to uncover alleged collusion with the Russian government. Those reports, called 302s, have revealed that the Mueller team’s claims during the trial of Papadopoulos did not accurately reflect the FBI’s interaction with the plaintiff.
Papadopoulos, who briefly served as then-candidate Donald Trump’s foreign policy adviser in 2016, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI - the first guilty plea among those charged in the Russia probe. Those statements allegedly frustrated the bureau’s ability to contact Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who told Papadopoulos at a conference at Rome’s Link Campus in March 2016 that the Russian government had gotten ahold of damning emails belonging to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival in the 2016 election and a former US secretary of state.
“The defendant’s lies to the FBI in January 2017 impeded the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the August 2018 sentencing memorandum said. “Most immediately, those statements substantially hindered investigators’ ability to effectively question the professor when the FBI located him in Washington, DC, approximately two weeks after the defendant’s January 27, 2017, interview. The defendant’s lies undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.”
However, the FBI interview documents show Papadopoulous readily cooperated with agents during the January and February 2017 interviews, including telling them roughly when Mifsud would be visiting Washington.
“Mifsud recently reached out to Papadopoulos and indicated that he may be traveling to Washington, DC, in February of 2017. Papadopoulos could not recall the exact date, but stated that it may be on or about February 11, 2017,” a report entered on February 1, 2017, noted.
Nunes told Just the News he hopes US Attorney John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the Russian collusion probe after Mueller’s report showed no evidence of collusion, will also investigate the conduct of Mueller’s team and not just top intelligence officials.