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Trump Demands DOJ 'Fess Up About Spying On His Campaign

President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed to formally request that the Justice Department look into whether the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his campaign for political reasons, as he embarked on a Twitter tirade that also included slamming a report that his oldest son in 2016 sought favor with foreign countries besides Russia reports POLITICO’s Brent D. Griffiths.

"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or Trump tweetrequests were made by people within the Obama Administration!," the president wrote on Twitter according to Griffiths.

CNN reported the tweet comes after it was reported that the FBI dispatched a confidential source to speak with some aides to Trump's presidential campaign about its possible ties to Russia, according to multiple reports Friday.

Citing individuals familiar with the matter, The New York Times reported Friday that the source interacted with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The newspaper said it has uncovered the identity of the informant, who it described as "an American academic who teaches in Britain," but noted that it "typically does not name informants to preserve their safety."

The Washington Post also reported that in addition to Page and Papadopoulos, the source met with Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign's co-chairman, to talk about relations with China. Clovis' attorney told the Post Russia never came up in their conversation.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Laura Jarrett and Matt Korade report that earlier this month, Nunes threatened to hold Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress if they don't release documents related to the source that he has subpoenaed. The department consulted with the White House before it sent a letter to Nunes this month declining to turn over the documents, and the White House agreed the documents should not be disclosed.

The President on Saturday called for his Justice Department to allow Congress to review documents related to the source.

"If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal," Trump tweeted.

Multiple media outlets, including the New York Post, have named Stefan Halper, 73, as the secret informant who met with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos starting in the summer of 2016. The American-born academic previously served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.

According to the New Post's Mary Kay Linge, the Halper revelation also shows the Obama administration’s FBI began prying into the opposing party’s presidential nominee earlier than it previously admitted.

Halper’s sit-downs with Page reportedly started in early July 2016, undermining fired FBI Director James Comey’s previous claim that the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign began at the end of that month.

However, the weekend’s real bombshell revelation came from Glenn Greenwald in an article The Intercept.

Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.

Greenwald says Halper’s history is quite troubling, particularly his central role in the scandal in the 1980 election. Equally troubling are the DOJ and FBI’s highly inflammatory and, at best, misleading claims that they made to try to prevent Halper’s identity from being reported.

To begin with, it’s obviously notable observed Greenwald, that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign.

The NYT in 1983 said the Reagan campaign spying operation “involved a number of retired Central Intelligence Agency officials and was highly secretive.” The article, by then-NYT reporter Leslie Gelb, added that its “sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge.” Halper, now 73, had also worked with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Alexander Haig as part of the Nixon administration.

When the scandal first broke in 1983, noted Greenwald, the UPI suggested that Halper’s handler for this operation was Reagan’s Vice Presidential candidate, George H.W. Bush, who had been the CIA Director and worked there with Halper’s father-in-law, former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who worked on Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign before Bush ultimately became Reagan’s Vice President.

Halper, through his CIA work, has extensive ties to the Bush family. Few remember that the CIA’s perceived meddling in the 1980 election – its open support for its former Director, George H.W. Bush to become President – was a somewhat serious political controversy. And Halper was in that middle of that, too.

In 1980, the Washington Post published an article reporting on the extremely unusual and quite aggressive involvement of the CIA in the 1980 presidential campaign. “Simply put, no presidential campaign in recent memory — perhaps ever — has attracted as much support from the intelligence community as the campaign of former CIA director Bush,” the article said.

Though there was nothing illegal about ex-CIA officials uniting to put a former CIA Director in the Oval Office, the paper said “there are some rumblings of uneasiness in the intelligence network.” It specifically identified Cline as one of the most prominent CIA official working openly for Bush, noting that he “recommended his son-in-law, Stefan A. Halper, a former Nixon White House aide, be hired as Bush’s director of policy development and research.”

In 2016, top officials from the intelligence community similarly rallied around Hillary Clinton. As The Intercept has previously documented:

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell not only endorsed Clinton in the New York Times but claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” George W. Bush’s CIA and NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, pronounced Trump a “clear and present danger” to U.S. national security and then, less than a week before the election, went to the Washington Post to warn that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin” and said Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

So, as it turns out, Greenwald notes, the informant used by the FBI in 2016 to gather information on the Trump campaign was not some previously unknown, top-secret asset whose exposure as an operative could jeopardize lives. Quite the contrary: his decades of work for the CIA – including his role in an obviously unethical if not criminal spying operation during the 1980 presidential campaign – is quite publicly known.

Whatever else is true, says Greenwald, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com and is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns. A member of American MENSA, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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