It is ironic that the Robert Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and the Donald Trump campaign continues to turn up nothing while the evidence of Israeli interference in the U.S. political system continues to surface without any outrage being expressed by either the media or American politicians.
The most recent revelation concerns a payment of $10,000 given to former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos in an Israeli hotel room in July 2017. A self-described Israeli businessman named Charles Tawil provided the money at the meeting, which was set up after Tawil flew to the Greek island Mykonos, where he met Papadopoulos and invited him to come to Israel to discuss some possible business relating to an oil and gas project in the Aegean Sea. Papadopoulos had met Tawil through an Israeli “political strategist” David Ha’ivri, who is a hard-line Israeli settler with close ties to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Papadopoulos agree to do so, leaving his wife Simona in Greece.
Papadopoulos took the money as a retainer and signed a contract for additional consulting services at $10,000 per month before he returned to Greece, where he gave the money to an attorney friend to hold. He shortly thereafter flew to Dulles International Airport near Washington, where he was arrested on May 27th and charged with giving false statements to the FBI. He was convicted in October and is due to be sentenced next week.
In an email, Ha’ivri explained how “We discussed potential consultancy work for business in the Aegean, Cyprus and Middle East focusing on business related to gas and petroleum infrastructure because of Charles’ network of contacts and George’s specialization. The retainer would go firstly to cover [George’s] needs as he said that he had financial problems.”
Ha’ivri also described how the agreement quickly fell apart due to Papadopoulos’ “immaturity.” He concluded that “After that the whole story fell apart. Charles left back to Washington and the story was over.”
In an interview, Simona Papadopoulos identified several “shady characters” who she said approached her husband during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. She mentioned “someone we met in Mykonos, an Israeli person who flew to Mykonos to discuss business.” Papadopoulos was also approached by a number of other suspicious individuals who clearly were seeking to establish some kind of relationship with him, to include a Maltese named Joseph Mifsud, who might have had a Russian energy company connection; Sergei Millian, an alleged source for the notorious Steele dossier; and an FBI informant named Stefan Halper.
Tawil, who does not come up on normal records searches, is on LinkedIn with zero biographical information. He claims to be the consultant for a company called Gestomar located in Silver Spring Maryland, which does not appear to exist. Papadopoulos reportedly believed him to be an Israeli spy and revealed the details of the contact to Robert Mueller, who appears to have done nothing with the information.
The approach to George Papadopoulos was typical spy tradecraft for recruiting a source. Papadopoulos was in financial difficulties, the agreement was to serve as a consultant for an unknown company by an individual using a cover name, and it was apparently presumed that the new spy would be able to report on details coming from inside the still-forming Trump government. Papadopoulos was introduced to the Mossad officer Tawil by Ha’ivri, who is well known in political circles and therefore credible and non-threatening. This is, of course, largely speculation but one has to wonder why the possible Israeli attempt to spy on the new Trump Administration has been so ignored.
In an earlier manifestation of Israelgate, former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn also was eventually forced to admit that he had lied to the FBI about what was said during two telephone conversations with then Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.
Together the Papadopoulos and Flynn tales suggest that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought to both collude with and even spy on the Trump Administration, which should surprise no one.
The two phone calls in question include absolutely nothing about possible collusion with Russia to change the outcome of the U.S. election, which allegedly was the raison d’etre behind the creation of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel office in the first place. Both took place more than a month after the election and both were initiated by the Americans involved.
The first phone call to Kislyak, on December 22nd, was made by Flynn at the direction of Jared Kushner, who in turn had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama Administrating was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a U.N. resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included a call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23rd.
Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner the White House’s point man on the Middle East. He and his family have extensive ties both to Israel and to Netanyahu personally, to include Netanyahu’s staying at the Kushner family home in New York. The Kushner Family Foundation has funded some of Israel’s illegal settlements and also a number of conservative political groups in that country. Jared has served as a director of that foundation and it is reported that he failed to disclose the relationship when he filled out his background investigation sheet for a security clearance. All of which suggests that if you are looking for possible foreign government collusion with the Trumpsters, look no further.
Kushner was, in fact, trying to clandestinely reverse a decision made by the legally constituted American government and he was doing so on behalf of Netanyahu. He asked the soon-to-be National Security Advisor to get the Russians to undermine and subvert what was being done by the still-in-power U.S. government in Washington headed by President Barack Obama. In legal terms, this could be construed as a “conspiracy against the United States” that the Mueller investigation has exploited against former Trump associate Paul Manafort.
Together the Papadopoulos and Flynn tales suggest that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought to both collude with and even spy on the Trump Administration, which should surprise no one. Unfortunately, in spite of the evidence, the possibility that the “interference” will ever be subject to any Congressional investigation remains extremely unlikely.
Cover photo: George Papadopoulos (3rd left) appears in a photograph released on Donald Trump’s social media accounts with a headline stating that the scene was of his campaign’s national security meeting in D.C. in March 2016. Photo via Reuters