A QUESTION OF SEMANTICS OR ILLEGALITY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 24, 2018) — On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted his opinion that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper under Barack Hussein Obama “has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign” in an apparent reference to Clapper’s appearance on “The View” on Tuesday.
At 2:2o in a video of the show segment, while Clapper said he “didn’t particularly like” the term “spying,” he then used it to describe an activity carried out by the FBI on the Trump campaign which Clapper claimed was trying to “help” the campaign.
Clapper justified the informant’s alleged activity by claiming that the focus of his work was on “what the Russians were doing, trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence, which is what they do.”
Although Factcheck reported that Trump misquoted Clapper in regard to the word “spy,” Clapper did continue to use the word as he provided his explanation for the FBI’s actions in dispatching Cambridge University professor emeritus Stefan Halper to seek out Trump short-term foreign-policy adviser Carter Page, Trump aide Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos during the summer of 2016.
In an article published on Monday, The Washington Post reported that “In recent days, Trump has seized on the reports about Halper’s role in the Russia probe, suggesting in tweets that the FBI improperly spied on his campaign. There is no evidence to suggest Halper was inserted into the Trump campaign, but he did engage in a pattern of seeking out and meeting three Trump advisers.”
The Wall Street Journal and other sources have reported that Halper has ties to the British intelligence agency, MI6.
In his first tweet of the morning, Trump claimed that “the Spy” was paid “Large dollars, far beyond normal.” In the aforementioned article from The Washington Post, it was reported that Halper was paid “more than $1 million for research and development in the social sciences and humanities” by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) since 2012, some of which was reportedly shared with “other academics and experts to conduct research and prepare reports.”
Later in Tuesday’s interview Clapper described what the informant did as “pretty mild.” Repeating the claim made in a tweet by former FBI director James Comey on Wednesday, Clapper said that the FBI “draws on, uses informants all the time” and “has very strict protocols on the usage.” He then claimed that the informant’s identity having recently been made public could have a “chilling” effect on others similarly situated going forward.
Clapper did not respond to the co-host’s declarative statement made as he was responding to her previous question, “And it’s legal.”
Last Friday, The New York Times reported the existence of the informant and his “late summer” (2016) “contacts with “two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.”
On Sunday The Daily Caller reported that Page spoke with Halper at a symposium in London on July 11 and 12, 2016, prior to the date of July 31 provided by the FBI as the launch of the “counterintelligence” probe on the Trump campaign.
In an article dated May 22, 2018, former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy wrote, disputing the July 31, 2016 alleged launch date of the investigation:
It turns out that, in “late spring” 2016, the FBI’s then-director James Comey briefed the principals of the National Security Council on “the Page information.” As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York observes in a perceptive column today, NSC principals are an administration’s highest-ranking national-security officials. In Obama’s National Security Council, the president was the chairman, and among the regular attendees were the vice-president (Joe Biden), the national-security adviser (Susan Rice), and the director of national intelligence (James Clapper). The heads of such departments and agencies as the Justice Department (Attorney General Loretta Lynch) and the CIA (Director John Brennan) could also be invited to attend NSC meetings if matters of concern to them were to be discussed.
Later in “The View” interview with Clapper, co-host Meghan McCain incorrectly identified former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as “James.”
Former Trump aide Michael Caputo recently claimed that there was more than one informant “coming at” the Trump campaign and that he was one of their targets.
Trump’s second tweet on Thursday focused on reports that certain FBI employees are willing to testify to Congress, if subpoenas are issued, about what they allegedly witnessed while James Comey was director and Andrew G. McCabe deputy director.
Comey was fired last May and McCabe terminated in March. In remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Trump said he believes he did the country “a great favor” by terminating Comey.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.