Rather than vindicate the FBI, this raises the specter that the FBI extensively targeted Trump campaign officials before its official launch of Crossfire Hurricane.
By Margot Cleveland
What we know about federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies’ spying on the Donald Trump campaign likely represents but a sliver of their covert activities. But it’s about time we do, and President Trump is right to demand an investigation. Here’s what we know so far.
In the run-up to the presidential election, on July 31, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a “counterintelligence investigation” to probe whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to influence the election. Over the last two weeks, in a series of articles, The New York Times and Washington Post revealed that the investigation, dubbed operation Crossfire Hurricane, involved a government informant connected to the Trump campaign.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported more details of the informant’s “months-long pattern of seeking out and meeting three different Trump campaign officials.” The presumed informant, a professor with contacts with both the Central Intelligence Agency and MI6, first met with Carter Page, then a foreign policy advisor for Trump’s campaign, at a conference in Cambridge in July 2016. He met Page several more times before the election.
According to the Washington Post, the informant also met in the late summer “with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis,” offering “to provide foreign-policy expertise to the Trump effort.” Then in September, the informant “reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”