The FBI’s insertion of an informant into the 2016 Trump campaign to spy on the candidate’s advisers and associates did not produce anything useful, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general report, which, for the first time, disclosed bits of secretly recorded conversations.
The Washington Times reported that the IG documented FBI dispatched several unnamed FBI informants to spy on Trump campaign associates who were known as confidential human sources (CHS).
The most publicized of these was Cambridge University Prof. Stefan Halper, a longtime national security operative. He ingratiated himself to George Papadopoulos and Carter Page while also trying to engage a senior Trump campaign official in New York City, the Times reported, citing the IG.
IG Michael Horowitz’s Dec. 9 report notes that instead of hearing incriminating evidence and statements, Halper — who the IG did not identify — recorded conversations that could actually have exonerated Page and Papadopoulos.
Horowitz criticized the FBI for failing to include those recordings in four sworn affidavits that were presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in order to obtain spy warrants on Page.
In his book “Deep State Target,” Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, recounted how Halper contacted him by email “out of the blue” with the promise of a $3,000 energy study if he came to London.
Halper introduced him to Azra Turk, whom he described as an office assistant.
Page was invited to a Cambridge conference where he met Halper in early July, weeks before the FBI formally launched its “Spygate” probe, called Crossfire Hurricane. They engaged in follow-on discussions at Halper’s farm in Virginia.
In the spring of 2016, Papadopoulos met another professor, Joseph Mifsud, who held academic positions in London and Rome. Following a panel discussion in Russia, Mifsud told Papadopoulos he heard that Moscow had incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton.
A month later, Papadopoulos relayed that information over drinks to an Australian ambassador. Following the release of stolen Clinton and DNC emails, the Australian government notified the FBI and in late July 2016, Crossfire Hurricane was launched.
Citing what appears to have been a set-up, Attorney General William Barr has said the FBI launched its probe on flimsy grounds, which prompted him to appoint U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the probe’s origins.
“To lead to the conclusion that it showed knowledge of a later hack into the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was a pretty aggressive conclusion,” Barr told Martha MacCallum on Fox News’ “The Story” last week.
“I just think that by the time the president entered office — around that time — [it was] becoming clear that there was no basis to these allegations not just the [Christopher Steele] dossier falling apart, but the information that they were relying on as to Page and to Papadopoulos,” he added.
According to the IG report, Papadopoulos reported to Halper that he knew the Trump campaign was not colluding or cooperating with Russia over the Clinton emails or for any other purpose.
He told Halper “campaign, of course, [does not] advocate for this type of activity because at the end of the day it’s … illegal,” according to the IG report.
He also said “our campaign is not. … engag[ing] or reaching out to WikiLeaks or to the whoever it is to tell them please work with us, collaborate because we don’t, no one does that …”
Papadopoulos also told Halper that he knew “for a fact” the campaign had no role. Papadopoulos also said that “as far as I understand … no one’s collaborating, there’s been no collusion and it’s going to remain that way.”