Attorney General William Barr traveled to Italy last week on “official” business, according to ABC’s Alex Mallin on Friday.
Mallin said that the Department of Justice provided few details about what he was doing in Italy.
“DOJ will only say he’s meeting with govt officials,” said Maillin on Twitter. “No details on what about or who he traveled with.”
First on @ABC: AG Barr has been on official travel in Italy for the past two days, during a week where he has faced intensifying scrutiny over his role in how the DOJ handled the IC's whistleblower complaint. It's unclear why the trip was only just revealed. w/ @jonkarl
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) September 27, 2019
DOJ will only say he’s meeting with govt officials. No details on what about or who he traveled with.
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) September 27, 2019
The State Department meanwhile announced in a news release on its website on Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Italy, The Holy See, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece from October 1 to 6.
The Secretary will attend the U.S.-Holy See Symposium on Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations, where he will deliver keynote remarks. He will have a private audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, and meet with Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Gallagher.
In Rome, Italy, the Secretary will meet with President Mattarella, Prime Minister Conte, and Foreign Minister Di Maio. He will also visit Abruzzo to tour his ancestral home.
The Secretary will then travel to Montenegro, where he will meet with President Djukanovic, Prime Minister Markovic, and Foreign Minister Darmanovic.
Next, the Secretary will travel to North Macedonia, where he will meet with President Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zaev, and other government officials. The Secretary will also tour the Holy Mother of God “Peribleptos” monastery complex while visiting Lake Ohrid.
Finally, the Secretary will travel to Athens, Greece, where he will meet with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Dendias, and Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos.
CNA, a Singapore-based news outlet reported on Friday that Pompeo would “seek to counter Russian influence” during his visit to Montenegro and North Macedonia.
A senior US official at the UN in New York last week told ANSA that during visits to both of those countries, they “will talk about Russian efforts to sow discord there.”
“It’s up to these sovereign and independent states and their people to make their decisions on the direction they want to go, and their decision to pursue NATO membership, I think, has been important for them,” the official said.
Reports that the attorney general was in Italy last week set off spasms of speculation on the left that Barr was “running and hiding” from the House Democrats’ big, bad subpoenas.
The Palmer report’s breathless analysis of Barr’s trip is a good example of the left’s read on the situation.
According to Palmer, the AG was so panic-stricken, he high-tailed it to Italy to “physically distance” himself from the “whistleblower” scandal.
Bill Barr is conveniently in Italy right now. No, really. He’s on “official travel. Come on, is the United States Attorney General urgently needed in Rome this week for some reason? We all know what’s going on here: Barr is so desperate to distance himself from the whistleblower scandal, he’s physically distancing himself from it.
Palmer reported that the House subpoena ordered Barr to cooperate now, or “he’s going to prison after Donald Trump is gone.”
On the right, there was speculation that Barr might have been in Rome to interview Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor who is believed to be at the center of the Spygate scandal.
AG Barr has been on official travel in Italy for the past two days. As I explained months ago, on Fox and in my book, Mifsud was an Italian operative handled by the CIA. Italy holds the keys to the kingdom. Right government, right time. 🇺🇸🇮🇹
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) September 27, 2019
In the Spring of 2016, Mifsud told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Mueller report characterized Mifsud as someone with Russian connections, bit now it’s widely believed that he has links to U.S., British, Italian intelligence services and the State Department.
” Mifsud had long worked with Western intelligence and he was … asked to connect with George Papadopoulos,” Solomon said Mifsud’s lawyer Stephan Roh told him. “It was some form of an intelligence operation,” he added. “If that’s the case, that means the flash-point that started the whole investigation was in fact manufactured from the beginning.”
Mifsud in August reportedly provided an audio deposition to Attorney John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut who was tapped by Barr to examine the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.
Said investigative journalist John Solomon last month on Fox News: ” I can absolutely confirm that Durham investigators obtained an audio deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work because he targeted George Papadopoulos, who directed him to do this, what instructions were given to him, and why he set in motion the whole process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in March 2016, which is really the focal point and starting point of the whole affair of the narratives on collusion.”
He added, “I can also confirm that the Senate Judicial Committee obtained the same deposition.”
Solomon noted that Durham and Barr were focused on the period of March to July of 2016—before the official FBI investigation “Crossfire Hurricane” began—to see if Western assets “were deployed as part of an earlier effort to start probing the Trump campaign and its Russian ties, maybe leaving the breadcrumb evidence that Christopher Steele then picked up and gave to the FBI.”
Solomon said that Mifsud gave his lawyer an audiotape deposition before he went into hiding following the 2016 election, and Durham is trying to get a copy of that.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that Barr is in Italy to investigate Mifsud’s role in the SpyGate scandal from March to July of 2016.