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May 21, 2018

Trump: Time to Probe FBI’s Collusion Probe

Details regarding the FBI’s informant within Trump’s campaign were leaked to the media.

In the wake of recent reports alleging that Barack Obama’s FBI had a secret informant within Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, Trump has called for a new investigation. On Sunday, the president stated, “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Seemingly recognizing the seriousness of Trump’s charge, Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quickly responded by requesting that Inspector General Michael Horowitz expand his current probe of the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation to include the agency’s surveillance of the Trump campaign. Rosenstein released the following statement: “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.” It remains to be seen, however, if Rosenstein’s actions fully meet Trump’s demands. The obvious question here is whether the DOJ can be trusted to objectively investigate itself.

Meanwhile, more information has surfaced narrowing the description of the alleged FBI informant within the Trump campaign. The New York Times published the following three key details:

  • The informant is an American academic who teaches in Britain.

  • The informant sent a “curious message” to Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos, offering to pay him $3,000 to write a research paper on “a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea”; the informant also offered a paid trip to London so they could meet.

  • The informant sent Papadopoulos an email on September 2, 2016, writing: “I understand that this is rather sudden but thought that given your expertise it might be of interest to you.”

The Daily Caller claims to have identified the individual in question as Stefan Halper, a retired professor who had interactions with both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. While not naming names, The Washington Post’s reporting seems to corroborate both the Caller’s and Times’ stories. A source for The Daily Wire notes that the DOJ and FBI appear to be leaking information to the Post and the Times rather than giving it to Congress, “all for the purpose of spinning an embarrassing story.” The irony here is that the reason the agencies have given Congress for refusing requested documents and information is concern over putting a source at risk.

In short, the trickle of information keeps these stories alive, for better or worse.

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