The Department of Justice is planning to show senior lawmakers several highly-classified documents in an additional briefing on the FBI's use of a spy as part of a counterintelligence operation on the Trump campaign, Politico reports.
A senior DOJ official said that the so-called "Gang of Eight" will have an opportunity next Monday or Tuesday to review the additional documents which were not furnished during a high-level classified briefing in May.
"The Department and FBI are prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the Speaker and other members," the DOJ official said. "The Department will also provide the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing along with some additional material." -Politico
The group includes Reps Devin Nunes (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy have notably said that the FBI's use of Halper to spy was appropriate, while President Trump has labeled the affair "spygate."
SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) hit back on Fox News Wednesday evening, saying “There is no defense today for Paul Ryan siding with the FBI and Department of Justice against those of us in the Congress fighting for transparency and accountability.” "We need the speaker to be an institutionalist for the Congress, not to be a defender of the deep state," he added.
It's worth noting that Politico and seemingly every other mainstream organization seems to be trying to discredit or minimize "spygate" by suggesting that somehow Trump's original claim that the FBI "planted a spy within his ranks" is somehow less insidious than revelations that the spying was done through targeted espionage involving Trump campaign aides.
Trump has railed against the FBI and accused it of planting a spy within his ranks for political purpose, though he's presented no evidence to support the claim, which he's labeled "spygate." -Politico
Except we're a little beyond that. The fact that Halper spied on the Trump campaign for the FBI is not in dispute - though a vicious argument over semantics has ensued. Halper's contacts with the campaign were revealed in March of this year in a much-overlooked report by the Daily Caller - which was corroborated by the New York Times and Washington Post in May.
Halper's infiltration of the Trump campaign also corresponds with the two of the four targets of the FBI's Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
Evidence that Halper received over $1 million in academic contracts from the Obama Pentagon going back to 2012 is not in dispute - in fact it's easily verifiable public record; with $282,000 awarded in 2016 and $129,000 in 2017 ($411,000 combined).
|Award ID||Recipient Name||Start Date||End Date||Amount||Awarding Agency|
|HQ003416P0148||HALPER, STEFAN||9/26/2016||3/29/2018||$411,575||Department of Defense|
|HQ003415C0100||HALPER, STEFAN||9/24/2015||9/27/2016||$244,960||Department of Defense|
|HQ003414C0076||HALPER, STEFAN||7/29/2014||7/31/2015||$204,000||Department of Defense|
|HQ003412C0039||HALPER, STEFAN||5/30/2012||5/29/2013||$197,626||Department of Defense|
And as the Washington Post noted on Monday:
Halper, a longtime source of information for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement personnel, used his position at Cambridge to reach out to three Trump advisers in 2016, introducing himself as a scholar interested in discussing foreign policy, according to people familiar with the interactions.
Recent revelations that the 73-year-old academic was a confidential source for the FBI have fueled President Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department and the FBI. “Spygate,” as the president put it in a tweet, is a “scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!”
In other words - Trump doesn't need to offer evidence of anything; there are more than enough data-points to call this "spygate" no matter how many times the Intelligence Community tries to say that Halper was but a humble elderly FBI "informant" trying to help Trump by rooting out dastardly Russians in his midst (without notifying Trump, of course).
"BOMBSHELL!! Obama Paid FBI Informant Over $1 MILLION To Do It To Trump!"
Politifact latched onto the false claim that all the money was used on the Trump campaign...
About 40 percent of the money was awarded before Trump even got into the race in June 2015. So even if there were a tie between the contracts and Halper’s conversations with Trump campaign advisers – and there’s zero indication of that — the amount would be less than $1 million. -Politifact
We couldn't find any other publications claiming that the entire $1 million-plus went towards spying on Trump's team except for the website used in Politifact's "debunking" - which was registered in January of 2018 and has no Alexa rank.
The entire point of "spygate" is that the Obama administration paid a known FBI and CIA asset - whose father-in-law was Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA - over $1 million in contracts through the Department of Defense. The FBI/DOJ then spied on the Trump campaign for the FBI in an unprecedented abuse of power, while also using an unverified dossier assembled by a former British spy which used high-level Kremlin sources to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Page.
And while Trey Gowdy and Paul Ryan may think the Obama administration was justified in their actions, "spygate" has all the appearances of a ham-handed setup in an attempt to cripple Donald Trump and ensure that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election.