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Undercover FBI agent spied on Trump aide in 2016: NYT

Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Court House on Sept. 7, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Papadopoulos Confirms Plan to Run for Congress. (Ting Shen/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
May 03, 2019

An investigator with the FBI was sent to meet with Trump aide George Papadopoulos in 2016 while posing as an assistant, a new report revealed this week.

A government investigator, who was posing as a researcher, was sent by the FBI to London during an investigation to explore the alleged connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, The New York Times said in an exclusive report Thursday.

The investigator, known only as “Azra Turk,” set up the meeting with Papadopoulos under the guise of foreign policy discussion. Turk also worked alongside Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, a reliable informant of the FBI.

The meeting, however, reportedly didn’t result in any evidence to link Trump and Russia.

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“As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, told Bloomberg.

The meeting is now one of the incidents in the ongoing investigation headed by Michael Horowitz, inspector general at the Department of Justice, the results of which could be released as early as this month.

The report supports allegations that the FBI spied on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, which Attorney General William Barr recently said he would be exploring in an upcoming investigation.

During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing last month, Barr said, “I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”

“I think spying did occur,” he added. “But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I’d need to explore that.”

“Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant,” Barr said. “I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”

Last week, Barr said he had put together a team to begin the investigation.

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“To the extent there was overreach, what we have to be concerned about is a few people at the top getting it into their heads that they know better than the American people,” Barr said.

“We now know that he was being falsely accused,” Barr added, referring to accusations against Trump laid out by the infamous Christopher Steele dossier. “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.”

The alleged spying would have taken place in the summer of 2016 when the Obama DOJ initiated a counterintelligence investigation of four advisers on the Trump campaign, which later prompted the larger, nearly two-year probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.