Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign?
On Monday, President Donald Trump met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the president demanded an investigation into whether his campaign was the subject of improper government surveillance.
The meeting follows more than a year of allegations by President Trump and his allies that members of Barack Obama’s administration targeted his campaign for improper surveillance later used to initiate the special counsel investigation.
In March 2017, President Donald Trump first claimed Obama had his “wires tapped.” It was largely dismissed at the time by fact-checkers and former members of the Obama administration who denied the president would or could order that kind of surveillance of a political opponent.
In the months that followed, the American public learned at least one member of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Carter Page, was monitored as part of an FBI counterintelligence investigation launched in the summer of 2016. The investigation pertained to Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible coordination with individuals in the Trump campaign.
In the past week, new reports surfaced suggesting an FBI source met with multiple Trump campaign associates including Carter Page and George Papadapoulos as well as campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis.
One FBI informant was described in detail in numerous media accounts as a retired American professor and longtime U.S. intelligence source who reached out to the Trump campaign officials between July and September 2016. The source was then outted as Stefan Halper, a 73-year-old retired Cambridge University professor who previously worked in the Carter and Reagan administration.
Important details about the informant (or informants) remain unclear, most importantly, whether his role in the investigation was professional or political.
The president seized on the reports as evidence of an intelligence plot against him, directed by former President Barack Obama and Justice Department officials.
“Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT,'” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
He followed up the next day, writing, “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”