Operation ‘Crossfire Hurricane’: News of FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Trump rocks D.C.

by WorldTribune Staff, May 21, 2018

Shocking revelations of the FBI’s insertion of an operative to spy on the Trump campaign led to an outburst from President Barack Obama’s CIA director John Brennan and prompted President Donald Trump to demand an investigation.

In the words of former adviser to Bill Clinton Mark Penn, the deep state is “in a deep state of desperation.”

President Donald Trump called for an investigation into ‘whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.’ / Getty Images

The New York Times and Washington Post last week revealed details of operation “Crossfire Hurricane” without naming the informant the FBI placed in the Trump campaign.

Other media outlets connected the dots and named Cambridge professor Stefan Halper and a former official in several Republican administrations as the FBI’s spy.

Trump tweeted on May 20: “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!”

Ex-Clinton aide Mark Penn, in a May 20 op-ed for The Hill, wrote that those in the deep state “With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying … know a reckoning is coming.”

Penn, chairman of the Harris Poll who served as pollster and adviser to Clinton from 1995 to 2000, including during Clinton’s impeachment, wrote “At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton ‘matter,’ but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret ‘no aides allowed’ meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

“With this report on the way and congressional investigators beginning to zero in on the lack of hard, verified evidence for starting the Trump probe, current and former intelligence and Justice Department officials are dumping everything they can think of to save their reputations. But it is backfiring.”

One of those often named as a top member of the “deep state”, former CIA Director John Brennan, responded to Trump’s May 20 tweet by tweeting: “Senator McConnell & Speaker Ryan: If Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our Nation & the Republican Party if you continue to enable Mr. Trump’s self-serving actions.”

On May 21, an unimpressed President Trump shared a quote from former Secret Service agent and conservative commentator Dan Bongino:

“ ‘John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the top of the FBI … Brennan started this entire debacle about President Trump. We now know that Brennan had detailed knowledge of the (phony) Dossier…he knows about the Dossier, he denies knowledge of the Dossier, he briefs the Gang of 8 on the Hill about the Dossier, which they then used to start an investigation about Trump.’ ”

“ ‘It is that simple. This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation. Brennan has disgraced himself, he’s worried about staying out of Jail.’ Dan Bongino,” Trump tweeted.

The Daily Caller News Foundation, which had reported on Halper’s activity related to the case in March, noted that Halper was working as an FBI informant to keep tabs on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

“Page and Halper first met at an election-themed symposium held at Cambridge on July 11 and 12, 2016, several days after Page’s now-infamous speech at the New Economic School in Moscow,” the Daily Caller reported. “Halper approached Page on the sidelines of the event, and the pair struck up what Page thought to be a friendship.”

Page told the Daily Caller that he stayed in touch with Halper for 14 months, through September 2017.

“Page said he did not detect anything untoward from Halper,” the report said. “Page noted that in their first conversation at Cambridge, Halper said he was longtime friends with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. A person close to Manafort told the Daily Caller that Manafort has not seen Halper since the Gerald Ford administration.”

The FBI and the Justice Department relied heavily on the unverified dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele to obtain FISA warrants against Page. The first surveillance warrant was granted on Oct. 21, 2016. They were renewed in January, early April and late June 2017.

“To obtain a FISA, the government is required to show that there is probable cause to show that a target is acting as an agent of a foreign power,” the Daily Caller noted. “To get renewals, the government must provide new information supporting that probable cause claim. It’s unknown whether information Halper collected on Page was included in the FISA renewal applications.”

The fourth and final spy warrant against Page expired in Sept. 2017, the same month Page and Halper fell out of contact, the report said.

Halper had met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis in late August 2016, offering his services as a foreign policy adviser, the Washington Post reported on May 18, without naming the professor.

Clovis did not see the conversation as suspicious, his attorney told the Post – but is now “unsettled” that “the professor” never mentioned he’d struck up a relationship with Page.

In March 2016, Halper told Russia’s Sputnik News that he believed then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would prove to be a steadier hand in preserving the “special relationship” enjoyed by the United States and Britain.

“I believe Clinton would be best for U.S.-UK relations and for relations with the European Union. Clinton is well-known, deeply experienced and predictable. U.S.-UK relations will remain steady regardless of the winner although Clinton will be less disruptive over time,” Halper said.

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