Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee met on Thursday to review “highly classified material” regarding whether or not the FBI planted a spy in the 2016 Trump campaign to alter the outcome of the elections.
Followed by outcry from Democrats for being left out, senior law enforcement officials held a second meeting later on, with bipartisan congressional party leaders to brief them on the material they had in regard to the informant.
President Donald Trump dubbed the perceived infiltration of his campaign Spygate, and called it “a scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before.” Republicans and the president insist the Obama administration used former Cambridge University Professor Stefan Halper to “spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win,” although there has been no evidence to substantiate these claims.
…Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win – just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chairman, said on “Morning Joe” Friday that Republicans “are complicit in this crazy” situation for not condemning Trump’s allegations.
Halper, an American citizen who worked both in politics and alongside members of the intelligence community, was pegged as an “FBI secret informant” by numerous media reports fueling Trump’s claims that he was being spied on. In fact, Halper was urged by the FBI to meet with Trump advisers to gather intel on whether or not there were any links between Trump’s campaign and Russia. (RELATED: Cambridge Professor Spied On Trump Campaign Advisers)
Halper met Carter Page, Trump’s foreign policy adviser, at a conference in Cambridge in July 2016 and the two began corresponding via email. Three weeks later, the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation into Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election.
Page was suspicious to the FBI because of his previous connections to Russian intelligence officials and because of a trip he took to Moscow during the campaign. Halper was asked to continue his conversations with Page and to make contact with George Papadopoulos, former member of the foreign policy advisory panel for Trump’s campaign, in order to gather more information for the FBI’s investigation. Papadopoulos had formerly bragged to an Australian diplomat that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton that could destroy her campaign, but both Page and Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about any efforts by the Russians to interfere in the 2016 elections to Halper.
The third official that Halper made contact with on behalf of the FBI was campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, who approved Page’s travel to Moscow, but no evidence pointing to collusion was gathered from him either.
Trump attorney Emmet Flood, who is representing the president in the Robert Mueller investigation as well as John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff, were present at the beginning of the meetings on Thursday, but did not specifically participate in the briefings that followed.
“The president personally wanted Emmet there,” former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told ABC News. “We are certainly entitled to know” what information the government has on Halper, he said.
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