It was special investigator John Durham who acquired two BlackBerrys used by Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor who jumped-started the FBI’s long Russia probe into President Trump’s campaign.
Sidney Powell, attorney for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, filed a court motion on Monday disclosing the phones’ existence while tying them to Western intelligence.
She told The Washington Times on Thursday that she has confirmed that it was Mr. Durham’s office who obtained them.
Attorney General William P. Barr assigned Mr. Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, the mission of finding out the origins of the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane. She told The Times that a “source,” whom she declined to identify, told her about the BlackBerrys.
Mr. Mifsud, a university professor and well-traveled lecturer, told George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in London in April 2016 that Moscow owned thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. When the news reached the FBI in July, agent Peter Strzok initiated the probe.
The FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller have always contended that Mr. Mifsud was a Russian asset. Mr. Mueller’s final report made no mention of the numerous associations Mr. Mifsud maintained with Western diplomats and intelligence figures.
Mr. Papadopoulos contends Mr. Mifsud was a Western agent sent to entrap him.
By the spring of 2016, the FBI knew that Russian intelligence was hacking Democratic Party computers.
Ms. Powell has added to the Mifsud intrigue with her motion before District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan asking him to order the government to turn over the BlackBerrys’ data. The filing lists the two phones’ model number, PIN and SIM card information.
She told the judge that on Oct. 11 she asked the prosecution for phone data. She was ignored until she sent notification days later that she planned to file the discovery motion.
The motion says: “Michael T. Flynn requests the government be ordered to produce evidence that has only recently come into its possession……… This information is material, exculpatory, and relevant to the defense of Mr. Flynn, and specifically to the “OCONUS LURES” and agents that western intelligence tasked against him likely as early as 2014 to arrange—unbeknownst to him—’connections’ with certain Russians that they would then use against him in their false claims. The phones were used by Mr. Joseph Mifsud.”
“OCONUS LURES” is an FBI acronym for an operation to lure a person back to the U.S.
Flynn headed the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency until the Obama White House forced his retirement in August 2014 over disagreements on fighting Islamic extremists.
Flynn, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser in early 2017, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, including Mr. Strzok, about discussions he had with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
It did not relate to election interference. No Trump associated was ever charged in a Russian conspiracy which Mr. Mueller said he didn’t find.
Ms. Powell has been filing motions demanding the government turn over exculpatory evidence. She wants to show it was withheld early on, violating Judge Sullivan’s order.
Reacting to the BlackBerry disclosure, Mr. Papadopoulos tweeted: “I lived this spy story. The government’s of the UK, Australia, Italy sent their agents: Mifsud, Downer, Halper, Azra Turk and many more. With the new info on Mifsud’s phones with the DOJ, my story was the one that exposed the greatest spying scandal in history. Downer is next!”
Alexander Downer was the Australian ambassador in London to whom Mr. Papadopoulos relayed the Mifsud gossip. Mr. Downer denies he was a spy. Stephan Halper and Azar Turk were FBI/western intelligence spies assigned to Mr. Papadopoulos in London.
Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec declined to comment on the Flynn motion.
When news broke that Mr. Durham was in Rome, she released a statement:
“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”
Mr. Mifsud taught at Link University in Rome. Students included NATO personnel.