Hounded by claims of ‘Russian collusion’ for most of his presidency, Trump is now calling out the Obama administration over claims it had the FBI spying on his campaign. Can the Republican leader turn the tables on his accusers?
In a series of rapid-fire Tweets, Trump called upon the Justice Department to investigate claims that the FBI infiltrated his campaign for political purposes, possibly at the direct order of former president, Barack Obama.
“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!”
Needless to say, those are Watergate-level allegations, and it seems Trump may even possess the one thing the Mueller investigation has conspicuously lacked to date: hard-core evidence.
This month, it was revealed that Professor Stefan Halper, a foreign policy scholar at Cambridge University until 2015, was serving as an FBI mole inside of the Trump campaign.
The operation, started in July 2016 and codenamed ‘Crossfire Hurricane’, is a stunning revelation because for the last two years the FBI denied it was spying on the Trump campaign. Now there is the obvious question as to why the federal agency had infiltrated the Trump team in the first place. Was it simply to find evidence of ‘Russian collusion,’ or, as Trump has suggested, was it politically motivated?
Aside from the high creep factor of academics moonlighting as actual spies, Halper allegedly arranged meetings with campaign advisers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis in an apparent effort to build the case for Russia collusion, the Washington Post reported.
As one example of his covert work, Halper reportedly “reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”
Those efforts to dig up dirt on Trump, however, failed to give Robert Mueller his much-anticipated ‘gotcha!’ moment. Indeed, from Paul Manafort (indicted for corruption in Ukraine) to Stormy Daniels (former American porn star) to Evgeny Freidman (New York ‘taxi king’ and tax cheat), and every other shady character in between, Mueller has failed to make anything more than a tenuous connection to Russia.
Now, combine this ‘nothing burger’ with the debunked claims put forth in the Clinton-funded ‘Steele dossier,’ complete with “golden showers” in Moscow, and you have a very good case to “wrap up” the investigation, as Vice President Mike Pence recommended.
Here is why the Trump administration believes they have finally got the deep state blocked in with the latest findings: the FBI and DOJ must have known that there was zero evidence of Russian collusion since their mole (or moles) would have revealed that information long ago. At the same time, Halper is said to have begun his covert activities inside of the Trump campaign before Crossfire Hurricane began, which also complicates matters for the Democrats.
Thus, the entire Mueller investigation, Republicans argue, has been an elaborate farce, designed to tarnish Trump and the Republican Party in the run-up to the monumental midterm elections. Trump is already claiming that the tables have been turned on the Mueller investigation and the deep state.
“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!” he tweeted triumphantly Wednesday morning.
Naturally, Trump’s announcement triggered howls of pain from the Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accused the White House on Tuesday of putting “extraordinary, unusual and inappropriate pressure on the Department of Justice and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.”
Schumer then lashed out at House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who subpoenaed the DOJ for all documents related to the FBI informant earlier this month.
“A man like Devin Nunes, who, I hear privately from my Republican colleagues — they think he’s off the deep end,” he said in a personal affront.
That’s right. Schumer thinks it is Nunes who is “off the deep end” because the Republicans have a solid case for proving high-level political manipulation inside of the Trump campaign. The Senator doth protest too much, methinks. Meanwhile, members of the political right have suggested that Barack Obama, who was the Commander-in-Chief at the time of Trump’s campaign being infiltrated, should be forced to explain what prompted such a decision.
“If he doesn’t know, then it would seem a public explanation is also in order — about his management, and about just how far the ‘deep state’ went without specific presidential approval,” argued James Freeman, assistant editor of the Wall Street Journal.
On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy will meet with DOJ officials, who are expected to turn over documents detailing the federal intrusion of the Trump campaign.
I reached out to Lionel, legal analyst at lionelmedia.com and regular RT commentator, for some insight into Trump’s chances for emerging successful as he attempts to gain information from the Department of Justice and FBI.
First, there is the composition of the DOJ, which Lionel described, as only Lionel can, as a “Lernaean Hydra with many facets, divisions, jurisdictions and levels of loyalty.”
“There are lifetime, career prosecutors and agents not necessarily committed to an administration or party and there are the targeted, viz. the politically corrupt, biased, partisan and ‘Deep State’ swamp critters whom President Trump has so affectionately titled,” he explained.
Lionel says “the plot now thickens” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions tapped US Attorney John Huber, a Republican from the red state of Utah, to investigate all matters and issues the Republicans have been demanding.
“Huber is a federal prosecutor with plenary powers to empanel grand juries, obtain indictments and secure results that make those of a Special Prosecutor pale by comparison,” he explained. “Sessions has further ordered Huber to work in coordination with DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz and his staff of 470 that dwarfs any of that of a Special Prosecutor.”
“Moreover, the fact that this [US Attorney] is based in Utah means that he’s far from the fetid swamp that is Washington DC. Far from a potential grand jury pool that is anti-Trump, anti-Sessions and (ahem) anti-justice. The move tactically was brilliant.”
As far as the investigation against Trump, which just entered its second year, “Mueller’s status is an unconstitutional hybrid that normally would require Senate confirmation,” the legal analyst explained via email.
“The good news (or bad news, depending on one’s vantage) is that with a Huber-Horowitz team in place, Mueller’s outgunned, outmatched and outmanned.” In short, with the Huber-Horowitz team in place in distant Utah, this means “checkmate” for team Trump, Lionel believes.
Whether or not that prediction comes true, it will be very interesting to see what move the Democrats and the Mueller investigation makes next, because the available spaces on this chessboard of extremely high stakes are diminishing at a breathtaking pace.