- The Washington Times
Thursday, August 20, 2020

President Trump responded to former President Barack Obama’s attacks against him Wednesday night during the Democratic National Convention with the Twitter counter-charge that “he spied on my campaign.”

Based on government documents, here are six instances of Obama administration spying on the Trump campaign or team, during and after the Nov. 8 election.

⦁ The FBI hired confidential human source Stefan Halper to spy on campaign volunteers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos in 2016. Mr. Halper wore a wire. Neither man incriminated himself in any Kremlin election interference.

Mr. Halper also used a second informant, an attractive blond woman with the operational name “Azar Turk,” to try to entice Mr. Papadopoulos. She failed. The FBI also put other spies on Mr. Papadopoulos, with the same results.

⦁ The FBI misled judges to win four wiretap warrants on Mr. Page. The Justice Department inspector general said agents, in sworn affidavits, supplied inaccurate information and withheld favorable evidence, such as Mr. Page denying any criminality to Mr. Halper.

The yearlong wiretaps from October 2016 to September 2017 came after Mr. Page left the Trump candidacy. But the surveillance was essentially spying on the campaign because agents can grab material and electronic communications from Mr. Page’s past, and search his residences. No incriminating information was found.

⦁ The FBI put surveillance teams in 2016 on retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a campaign adviser, transition official and, briefly, White House national security adviser, a declassified bureau document showed.

⦁ The government bugged Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. The FBI used the call transcripts to target the former Defense Intelligence Agency director even after officially clearing him of Russia collusion.

⦁ A number of Obama officials, as they were leaving their posts, requested that Flynn’s name be unmasked from top secret National Security Agency reports on communication intercepts. Trump supporters say there was no reason for this unmasking so late in Mr. Obama’s term.

In all, 39 Obama officials asked to see Flynn’s name between Nov. 8 and the inauguration, according to documents obtained by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, from then-acting National Intelligence Director Richard Grenell. The requesters including then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden, now the Democrats’ candidate for president against Mr. Trump.

⦁ The FBI disguised the purpose of its visit with Flynn and Mr. Trump, then a candidate, as a counter-intelligence threat briefing. Actually, the appearance of agent Joe Pientka in New York was part of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Mr. Trump and his team. Mr. Pientka told the inspector general he wanted to see whether Mr. Trump would say something incriminating about Russia. He labeled his post-meeting report as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, which grew out of the FBI’s probes of the Trump team, said he did not find any involvement between the Trump team and the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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