The Senate Homeland Security Committee voted on Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for dozens of Obama-era officials involved in 'spygate,' including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former DNI James Clapper -- and longtime US intelligence operative Stephen Halper, who the Obama administration paid nearly half-a-million dollars to help the FBI spy on the 2016 Trump campaign.
The committee authorized chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to issue notices for taking depositions, subpoenas, records requests, and testimony related to the "Crossfire Hurricane" investigation - along with the DOJ Inspector General's review of said investigation, as well as the "unmasking" of individuals connected to the Trump campaign, transition team, and administration, according to Fox News.
The committee also authorized subpoenas for Sidney Blumenthal, former Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough, former FBI counsel Lisa Page, former FBI agent Joe Pientka, former ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former FBI director of counterintelligence Bill Priestap, former White House national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith – who pleaded guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham's review of the investigation into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign – among others.
As part of the authorization, Johnson may subpoena "the production of all records" related to the FBI's initial Russia probe, as well as unmasking requests for "James Baker, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, FBI case agent Steven Somma, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Teftt, former deputy assistant attorney general Tashina Gauhar."
Halper, meanwhile, is a former government official and longtime spook for the CIA and FBI, who was outed as the FBI informant who infiltrated the Trump campaign after the Washington Post and the New York Times ran reports that corroborated a March report by the Daily Caller detailing Halper's outreach to several low-level aides to the Trump campaign, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Halper, 73, cut a colorful figure as he strolled through diplomatic, academic, and espionage circles, having served in the Reagan, Ford, and Nixon administrations. -Daily Mail
These contacts are notable, as Halper's infiltration of the Trump campaign corresponds with the two of the four targets of the FBI's Operation Crossfire Hurricane - in which the agency sent counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and others to a London meeting in the Summer of 2016 with former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer - who says Papadopoulos drunkenly admitted to knowing that the Russians had Hillary Clinton's emails.
The 74-year-old Halper who split his time between his Virginia farm and teaching at Cambridge, approached several Trump campaign aides during the 2016 US election for purposes of espionage - on behalf of the FBI, headed at the time by the recently very quiet James Comey. Halper continued to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page well after the election, and now we find that he was trying to infiltrate the Trump administration.
- The FBI recruited Halper to spy on the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016
- After forming relationships with two Trump campaign aides, Halper invited one of them, George Papadopoulos, to work on a policy paper in London, where the 73-year-old professor/spy brought up Russian emails
- Halper approached Trump aide Carter Page during an election-themed conference at Cambridge on July 11, 2016. The two would stay in contact for the next 14 months, frequently meeting and exchanging emails.
- Then, after the election, Halper reportedly tried to infiltrate the Trump administration, pushing for a job in the State Department, according to Axios.
All the while, Halper had been paid handsomely by the Obama administration through a Department of Defense contract, one of four going back to 2012. The most recent contract had a start date of September 26, 2016 - three days after a September 23 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff about Trump aide Carter Page, which used information fed to Isikoff by "pissgate" dossier creator Christopher Steele. The FBI would use the Yahoo! article along with the unverified "pissgate" dossier as supporting evidence in an FISA warrant application for Page.
It appears Johnson will have plenty of digging to do if Republicans hold onto the Senate in November.