Did the FBI or President Obama’s Justice Department spy on
the campaign of Donald Trump in 2016?
The answer to that depends on who you’re talking to, and
what your definition of the word “spy” may be.
So, right off the bat, we can dispel the notion that there
was covert surveillance of the Trump campaign, as President Trump suggested in
I get it. At a certain level of party devotion, it is
expected that whatever raging claim of insidious connivance is tweeted out from
day to day from his gold plated throne room, the truly devoted, less thoughtful
members of the Branch Trumpidian compound are required to believe.
A subsequent investigation by the intelligence community
determined there was no merit to the claims.
That’s not going to be much comfort for those who wait for
Trump to tell them what their reality is, and they’ve followed his lead in
throwing the FBI and our intelligence community under the bus.
In other words, you only believe Trump. No other truth need
This is where I have to point out that now that Trump has installed
a loyalist as Attorney General, the claims of “spying” have begun afresh.
AG William Barr, who proved himself to be a dutiful MAGA
warrior before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, has revived the
term, suggesting several weeks ago that he believed that Trump’s 2016 campaign
was spied upon.
After dropping that nugget into the public consciousness, he
attempted to clarify by saying the word “spying” means more than just the .007,
undercover sneakfest that the term implies.
Too late. The genie is out of the bottle.
Today, The New York Times has released a developing story that is going to cut right to the heart of President Trump and his cabal’s claims.
In 2016, the FBI sent a woman posing as a research assistant
to pick the brain of Trump campaign aide (and low-level coffee boy), George
The woman, who went by the name Azra Turk, reportedly met with Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, at a London bar, where she asked him about whether the campaign was working with Moscow.
The previously unreported episode comes amid growing scrutiny over the FBI’s actions toward President Trump‘s 2016 campaign. Trump has repeatedly accused the FBI of spying on his campaign, an allegation Attorney General William Barr has said he plans to look into.
So, spying, right?
I absolutely know that’s how this will be treated in certain
circles, but for those willing to hold off on taking up their torches and pitchforks,
it pays to use a bit of prudence.
Yes, Barr will look into this. He was hired to protect
Donald Trump, not our nation or to uphold the integrity of the Justice
Further, the DOJ’s inspector general has been looking into
the FBI’s actions, as it pertains to the Russia probe. That report is expected
by this summer.
Now, for those willing to listen, take this into
consideration: Nothing in the report is saying this began the Russia probe.
George Papadopoulos came under scrutiny after drunkenly
bragging in a bar to an Australian diplomat about Russia’s involvement with the
The diplomat, recognizing the severity of what Papadopoulos
was saying, reached out to contacts in the U.S. government.
Before the FBI sent anyone undercover, there were already triggers
that raised red flags about Donald Trump’s campaign.
What we know for sure, after the release of Robert Mueller’s
report, is that the Russian government preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton. We
also see that members of Trump’s team welcomed their assistance.
Not a single member of Trump’s team went to the authorities
to report when foreign entities reached out to them.
Papadopoulos claimed in a Thursday tweet that Turk was CIA, working with Turkish intelligence.
It’s like an episode of “Archer.”
Turk worked with FBI informant Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor, on the operation, according to the Times, which reported that she posed as his research assistant.
Turk reportedly exchanged emails with Papadopoulos in which she said meeting him was “the highlight of my trip.” He met with Turk and Halper weeks after the FBI opened its Russia investigation, reportedly after Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat a Russian source had offered to help the Trump campaign by publishing hacked Democratic emails.
Halper was reportedly directed to determine in his meeting with Papadopoulos what contact, if any, Trump campaign officials had had with Russia, according to the Times.
The coffee boy apparently took offense to being asked about
the hacked DNC emails and if Russia was helping with the campaign. He stormed
off without giving over any information.
British intelligence was also informed of the operation.
That knowledge is likely what led the president to accuse our allies of “spying”
on him, as well.
So the question stands: Is it “spying,” in the sense that
most tend to take the word, if intelligence and law enforcement officials take
their cues from questionable reports or activity and launch an investigation?