I Am The Walrus: Three Key Questions In The Investigation Of The Role Of Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper

Walrus
Courtesy of National Park Service

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the key questions that need to be answered in relation to controversial role of Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper.  Called the Walrus, Halper has not given even a “Goo goo g’joob” to media on the details of his past role with the FBI.

Here is the column:

He was called the “Walrus,” but Cambridge University professor Stefan Halper seemed remarkably agile and active in making contacts with Trump campaign officials in the summer and fall of 2016. Indeed, he not only actively consulted with at least three Trump campaign advisers but appears to have sought a position in the Trump administration.

Ordinarily that would not be notable. After all, Halper served in prior administrations, was a moderate Republican, and is a recognized academic who shared Donald Trump’s hardline view of China. The problem is that Halper also may have been a paid informant for the FBI and CIA. Halper’s role has triggered a justified referral by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for investigation by the Justice Department inspector general. The allegations fall into a gray area of Justice Department guidelines which limit “overt” acts before an election but are ambiguous on covert acts like running the Walrus.

Three questions, however, stand out over his role. The details of Halper’s work still are largely unknown. We know that the FBI carried out an investigation targeting Trump campaign officials with surveillance, document demands, and at least one informant. All of this was done through national security powers, where warrants are easily obtained and kept secret. We know this investigation began, at the latest, in July 2016 and that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application was based in part on a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign.

We also know that key Justice Department officials expressed hostile views of Trump in emails, and that key Justice Department officials have been subjects of demotions and one criminal referral. Does this mean the use of Halper was improper or that the investigation was conducted in bad faith? No. Yet, there is a legitimate reason for an investigation into, as Rosenstein instructed, whether “anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes,” adding “we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”

The allegations fall into the space between overt and covert acts for the purposes of Justice Department regulations. In 2012, a memo on “election year sensitivities” warned Justice Department offices about “the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election.” It warned that Justice Department officials “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.”

The memo continued, “Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”

Halper reportedly was part of a covert operation. However, Halper adds a new, potentially significant element to this controversy. Indeed, it is hard to understand the objections to the investigation of his role. All Americans should be concerned by the implications of an administration running a long investigation into the activities of its opposing party. Three questions could well determine if there was a serious problem of abusive tactics or merely bad optics in the running of the Walrus.

Timing

The date of Halper’s work targeting Trump officials could prove key to the ongoing investigations in Washington. Former FBI Director James Comeyhas asserted that the probe into the Trump campaign did not start until the end of July 2016. However, news accounts continue to push Halper’s work earlier and earlier in that month. Indeed, the Washington Postreported, “The professor’s interactions with Trump advisers began a few weeks before the opening of the investigation, when (campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page) met the professor at the British symposium.”

If Halper’s “interactions” began in June or earlier, there may be some debate when the investigation actually “opened.” His work could not just contradict Comey’s prior statements but raise new questions on why the FBI moved so quickly and intrusively against the Trump campaign.

Money

A lot of money is being tied to Halper, with some accounts as high as $2 million. Many of these reports seem dubious. The Pentagon Office of Net Assessment reportedly paid Halper more than $1 million for research and development in the social sciences and humanities. However, such money often goes to other experts for the creation of reports and the holding of events. We need to know what money was paid and its purpose.

Halper was an foreign relations expert and could have received money in that capacity, as opposed to being an informant or spy. Nevertheless, if he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars as an informant, it would change how he is viewed. If he was paid as an asset, using him to target Trump figures reduces the nexus with the FBI dramatically. Other notable payments also exist, like his payment of $3,000 to George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser. Halper gave the money and travel compensation to Papadopoulos for a paper on energy issues.

However, when Papadopoulos met with Halper, Halper pressed him on whether he was involved in getting the Clinton emails and anything he knew about collusion. Papadopoulos was clearly viewed as a possible entry into the workings of the Trump campaign. If this money ultimately came from the FBI, it could constitute the use of federal funds to induce a Trump official to be an indirect or direct asset for the investigation.

Intrusion

Perhaps the most serious allegations deal with Halper’s reported effort to advise the Trump campaign or secure a position in the new administration. If Halper was a longtime paid asset of the FBI and CIA, such a role would be deeply troubling. If successful, the FBI could have had a person working with the campaign or even in the administration who was on its covert budget. Even if they stopped paying Halper, it is doubtful that he would disclose his prior relationship. Trump officials have said they were unaware of the connection in their conversations with him.

In his meetings, Halper was clearly trying to influence or possibly join the campaign while working with the FBI. At a minimum, Halper met with with Trump campaign advisers, including Papadopoulos, Page and former national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro reportedly submitted Halper’s name for a post during the presidential transition. If the FBI knew Halper was actively seeking a role in either the campaign or the administration, this could be every bit as serious as Trump alleged.

While the media has tended to downplay these allegations, they are manifestly serious. The use of a paid FBI asset to target a national campaign in this way would be unprecedented. The closest we have come historically was the allegation in 1980 that aides to Ronald Reagan spied on Jimmy Carter’s campaign and obtained confidential documents Carter used to prepare for a debate. While he has denied the allegations, one of those aides identified was Halper.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

150 thoughts on “I Am The Walrus: Three Key Questions In The Investigation Of The Role Of Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper”

  1. On and off topic: The only thing I’m sure of is the deep states likes torture, mass murder, money and power. We do not have free and fair elections. It’s also possible that Clinton had an inflitrator or two herself whether she knew it or not. Probably both Trump and Clinton are so delusional that they think they make their own decisions! And speaking of decisions–when Syria and Iran just aren’t enough, there’s always N. Korea:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-24/watch-live-trump-explains-why-he-cancelled-north-korea-summit

    Donny, Donny you should chill! When you’re at “work”, you like to kill!

    1. The only thing I’m sure of is the deep states likes torture, mass murder, money and power.

      And Jill likes lurid fantasies.

      We do not have free and fair elections.

      Jill Stein lost because almost no one thinks that way, Pumpkin. Get over it.

      1. “And Jill likes lurid fantasies.” -Nutcha

        And you have some blind spots, Nutcha. Big ones.

  2. Stefan Halper historically seems associated with the CIA, not the FBI. He has been involved in Washington politics since the mid 70’s. His relationships with Ted Shackley, Oliver North, President HW Bush, the Palmer Bank, all point towards a very deep state connected professor. Hard to believe with his known background they are still attempting to insert him in Trumps inner circle.

  3. WHAT HAPPENS IF A RECKLESS DEMAGOGUE GETS NOMINATED BY A MAJOR PARTY?

    SHOULD U.S. SECURITY AGENCIES TURN A BLIND EYE?

    Outrage over Sefan Halper’s contacts with the Trump campaign hinges on the premise that Trump was a normal, respected politician. Trump was nothing of the sort!

    Trump was the first major candidate in history to have no experience in government. What’s more, his career in real estate was dubious at best. Long before 2016, business journals were questioning Trump’s business practices. Trump’s Atlantic City ventures, in particular, garnered largely negative coverage. More recently business journals reported Trump’s dealings with Russian oligarchs. Those articles were less than subtle in their hints that Trump was helping to launder Russian money.

    From the earliest days of his presidential campaign Trump displayed a propensity for tasteless ‘jokes’ and rash assertions. There was that primary debate where Trump made comments about Megyn Kelly’s periods. How strange that was! Here we had a 70 year old presidential candidate making jokes worthy of an 8th Grader. In a normal America that one moment alone would have ended Trump’s campaign.

    Then there was the time Trump referred to the judge presiding over the Trump University case as “that Mexican judge”. In reality that judge was born in Indiana. Yet Trump willfully implied that that man somehow lacked the authority to sit on an American bench. Again, that one moment alone would have ended Trump’s in a normal America.

    There were the campaign rallies where Trump’s ‘speeches’ were merely improvised tirades against Muslims and Mexicans. Not since the Wallace Campaign of 1968 had any candidate appealed so openly to racist sympathies. What’s more the crowds at said rallies were shockingly mean-spirited; cheering and jeering at all the wrong places. Trump even encouraged violence towards occasional hecklers.

    Famously Trump was caught on tape praising foreign hackers. “I love Wikileaks”, he crowed. Never mind that hacking is crime. Yet the hacking in this case was linked to foreign actors! Julian Assange, the publisher of those hacked emails, had previously published classified documents that compromised U.S. intelligence contacts around the world. That didn’t matter to Donald Trump. Again, in a normal America that one moment alone would have ended his campaign.

    The October surprise was an audio tape which featured Trump confiding, “I love to grab women by the pussy”. How shocking that was. A rich grandfather admitting he likes assaulting women!! Several women then came forward to say that Trump had made unwanted advances. Again, in a normal America, that one moment alone would have ended Trump’s campaign.

    Then there were the falsehoods. Trump uttered them with such reckless abandon journalists had trouble keeping track. Could this candidate ever get his facts straight?? No video exists of Trump showing he has any real grasp of pertinent issues or policies. All we have is Trump improvising incendiary tirades to mean-spirited crowds. And demanding his opponent be “locked-up”.

    When one considers how totally irresponsible candidate Trump was, it is scarcely surprising that the FBI felt some obligation to look into Trump’s campaign. Indeed the FBI would have been shirking its obligations by ‘not’ investigating the Trump campaign. Never, in recent American history, has a major party nominated such a reckless candidate.

    1. This is exactly NOT a reason to surveil a person, let alone a presidential candidate.
      Such surveillance by investigatory agencies must be based upon the premise of a criminal violation, not that the person is “unhinged”, “reckless”, “spouting campaign speech falsehoods”, or any other number of of partisan or subjectively concluded distaste for how a person acts.

      1. Gary T.,
        Virtually every Trump characteristic or incident that Peter Hill mentioned was widely covered by the media.
        And those were the characteristics/ incidents that made Trump “unelectable”.
        Just as many voters were made uneasy or turned off by Trump”s behavior and remarks, many voters are leery of the government’s main law enforcement agency using informants or “dossiers” to investigate a candidate.

    1. David Benson still owes me a citation from the OED. Did you have an “accident” in your Depends, David? Is that why you need toilet paper?

  4. Turley wrote, “If Halper’s “interactions” began in June or earlier, there may be some debate when the investigation actually “opened.” His work could not just contradict Comey’s prior statements but raise new questions on why the FBI moved so quickly and intrusively against the Trump campaign.”

    George Papadopoulos knew that Russia had the stolen DNC emails before the DNC knew that their emails had been stolen. George Papadopoulos knew that Russia had the stolen DNC emails before the FBI knew that the DNC emails had been stolen. The DNC reported the hack of their emails on June 14th, 2016. CrowdStrike attributed the hack to Russia on June 15th, 2016. Joseph Mifsud told George Papadopoulos that Russia had stolen Clinton emails on April 26th, 2016. Stefan Halper did not know about the stolen DNC emails before June 14th, 2016. Stefan Halper did not know that Russia had hacked the DNC until June 15th, 2016.

    Meanwhile, Turley seems to think that it is critically significant exactly when Halper began his “interactions” with Page, Papadopoulos and Clovis. And yet, Turley evidently does not think that it is at all significant that Papadopoulos knew that Russia had stolen DNC emails before the DNC knew that Russia had hacked the DNC email server, before the FBI knew that Russia had hacked the DNC email server and before Stefan Halper knew that Russia had hacked the DNC email server.

    BTW, Papadopoulos knew that Russia had stolen DNC emails before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9th, 2016. Papadopoulos emailed Manafort and other Trump campaign officials about Russia having stolen DNC emails before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9th, 2016. Manafort and other Trump campaign officials attended the Trump Tower meeting on June 9th, 2016, for the express purpose of negotiating with Russia for kompromat on Clinton.

    Clearly and distinctly, Turley is not “thinking” at all.

      1. By the end of September, 2016, the FBI had sufficient reason publicly to disclose their investigation of Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign to serve the public interest. The FBI did not publicly disclose Crossfire Hurricane to serve the public interest before the election on November 8th, 2016. The FBI thereby served the interest of the Trump campaign to get Trump elected POTUS.

        If the FBI did not want Trump to become POTUS, then the FBI quite possibly could have prevented Trump from being elected POTUS by publicly disclosing their investigation of Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign in October of 2016 when they had gathered sufficient evidence to warrant such public disclosure in the public interest.

        Clearly and distinctly, the FBI did not care one way or the other who was elected President on November 8th, 2016. What the FBI cared about was Russia’s cultivation of members of the Trump campaign, the Russian hack and leak operation and George Papadopoulos’ foreknowledge of Russia’s hack and leak operation over a month before the either the DNC or the FBI knew that Russia had hacked the DNC emails.

        1. Turley wrote, “In 2012, a memo on “election year sensitivities” warned Justice Department offices about “the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election.” It warned that Justice Department officials “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.”

          And the FBI did not publicly disclose their investigation of Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign–let alone “charge” anyone with a crime–before election day on November 8th, 2016.

          Turley further wrote, “The memo continued, “Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”

          And yet, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI had reopened its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information just eleven days before election day on November 8th, 2016. Congress immediately leaked that letter to the press.

          1. Turley wrote, “At a minimum, Halper met with with Trump campaign advisers, including Papadopoulos, Page and former national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro reportedly submitted Halper’s name for a post during the presidential transition. If the FBI knew Halper was actively seeking a role in either the campaign or the administration, this could be every bit as serious as Trump alleged.”

            Halper did not actively seek a role in either the Trump campaign or the Trump administration. Ergo, the FBI could not have known the contrary that Turley supposes they might have known. Meanwhile, Trump hired Clovis and Clovis hired both Page and Papadopoulos–not to mention George Nader (stay tuned for more about Nader). BTW, Giuliani has publicly complained that the FBI did not notify Trump about Page or Papadopoulos; even though the FBI did warn both Trump and Clinton that Russia was trying to cultivate members of both the Trump and the Clinton campaigns. FTR, Obama, Yates and Comey all warned Trump about Flynn. Trump disregarded those warnings as well as the FBI’s warning about Russia attempting to cultivate members of both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

            So what makes Giuliani think that Trump would have heeded any FBI warnings about Page, or Papadopoulos? Maybe what Giuliani really means is that the FBI was obligated to warn Trump about Papadopoulos’ foreknowledge of Russia’s possession of stolen DNC emails more than a month before the FBI knew that DNC emails had been hacked which would also have been more than a month before the Trump Tower meeting when three high-level members of the Trump campaign negotiated with Russia for kompromat on Clinton. Well . . . At a minimum, the FBI should have notified Trump that Halper had met with the coffee boy, Papadopoulos, on September 2nd, 2016, more than a month after Wikileaks had published the stolen DNC emails that Papadopoulos had known about more than two months before. Maybe Trump would not have hired Halper had the FBI notified Trump of that.

            Wait. Did I miss something? When did Trump hire Halper? During the campaign? During the transition? After the inauguration? Never? Or merely not yet? Is Halper still in the running for a job with the Trump administration? Well . . . They’ve got their notification now. Don’t they?

            1. OMG Ms. Late. You wrote so many words that nobody reads just to soothe yourself. Try going for a walk around the block instead of filibustering this message board.

        2. The correspondence between Strzok and Page, the activities of Bruce Ohr and his wife, and the FBI attorney whose name escapes me for the moment ( Baker?) all demonstrate a strong anti-Trump bias.
          Paul Manafort resigned as Trump campaign chairman in August 2016, amid published reports that he had worked on behalf of pro-Russian Ukainian oligarchs, and had received “secret cash payments”.
          So this was known a few months before the election.

          The New York Times reported on October 31, 2016 that the “for much of the summer, the FBI has pursued a widening investigation into Russian interfence in the 2016 campaign”.
          The consensus was that “there’s no way Trump wins”, and we still don’t know what “the insurance policy” was just in case Trump did win.
          In was no secret before the 2016 election that Russian links to the Trump campaign were being investigated.
          To the degree that there was a known bias exhibited by top FBI/ DOJ officials, it was an anti-Trump bias.
          So it was not the case that “the FBI did not care one way or the other who was elected”.
          There was no solid evidence of coordination of the Trump campaign for the FBI to present.
          Even at this stage, there have been no charges brought by the Mueller team relating to “collusion”.
          So it was a lack of evidence, and the conviction that Hillary had a lock on the election, that explains the FBI’s decision to avoid presenting the public with conclusions about the Trump-Russia issue.

          1. Then why all the fuss about Halper talking to Papadopoulos in September of 2016? By the end of September of 2016 the FBI knew that Papadopoulos had had foreknowledge of Russia’s possession of stolen DNC emails since April 26th, 2016, which was more than a month before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9th, 2016, which, in turn, was five days before the DNC announced, on June 14th, 2016, the hack of their email server and six days before CrowdStrike, on June 15th, 2016, attributed that hack to Russia.

            Just because the FBI had not reached any conclusions about conspiracy to defraud the United States doesn’t mean that there was no public interest that would have been served by publicly disclosing the fact the FBI had started a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign. Keep in mind that the only people who knew about the Trump Tower meeting at that point in time were the Russians and the Trump campaign. The FBI did not know about the Trump Tower meeting until everybody else found out about the Trump Tower meeting.

            1. L4D,…
              You evidently missed my refernce to the October 31, 2016 New York Times article.
              That is, the report that the FBI had been investigating Russian interference in the campaign since the summer of 2016.
              You seem to fault the FBI for not disclosing every aspect of an ongoing investigation that had found no solid evidence a of “collusion” on the part of the Trump campaign.
              You bring in issues like Halper’s involvement as if you already “know” the full extent of his role in reporting on the Trump campaign for the FBI.
              The fact is that there was an inconclusive, ongoing FBI investigation as of the 2016 election.
              It’s not realistic to expect them to disclose every aspect of that investigation; maybe it’s not realistic to expect the Special Counsel to ever disclose every aspect of their investigation.
              That investigation has been complemented for not “leaking” information.
              But some of those same people that laud the lack of disclosures from the Mueller team somehow fault the FBI for not publicallyissuing statements on every aspect of their earlier investigation.

              1. Tom Nash said, ” You evidently missed my reference to October 31, 2016 New York Times article. That is, the report that the FBI had been investigating Russian interference in the campaign since the summer of 2016.”

                The FBI did not publicly disclose the fact the they had started a counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign. The phrase you used, “Russian interference in the campaign since the summer of 2016,” is rather vague, but it sort of sounds similar to the phrase I used. One wonders why you would use a sound-alike phrase. The power of suggestion, perhaps. I seem to remember Grassley making a big stink in his questioning of Comey over exactly when the FBI investigation began and what type of investigation it was. And that was in March of 2017 (IIRC). Maybe the investigation that The NYT reported on October 31st, 2016, is not quite what Grassley was grilling Comey over; namely, a counterintelligence investigation.

                1. The reason that The New York Times reported the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign is because it was widely known that the FBI was inbestigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
                  If you’re upset because Comey did’t give a press conference to comment on the status of an inconclusive investigation,that’s your problem.
                  Comey had 9-10 months of investigating the 2016 campaign/Russia issue before he was fired,and I don’t think he uncovered any quid pro quo type of arraingement with the Russians on the part of the Trump campaign.
                  If Mueller doesn’t lay out his findings before the 2018 midterm elections, are you going to gripe about that too.

                  1. Are you willing to concede that “the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign” is not exactly the same thing as “the FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s attempts to cultivate members of the Trump campaign?” The first is general; the second, particular. It’s like you’re trying to insinuate that an investigation of Russian hacking, leaking and information warfare somehow includes duly informing the American people that the FBI was investigating Russia’s cultivation of members of the Trump campaign. And that the American people just shrugged their shoulders and elected Trump, anyway.

                    1. Annie/Inga – I will concede that the FBI was running an illegal counter-intelligence operation against candidate Trump, President-elect Trump, and President Trump. Does that help?

                    2. There’s no law against the FBI investigating Russia’s cultivation of members of the Trump campaign. And you know it. And you don’t care about knowingly asserting false allegations of crimes that are not crimes. Sound familiar?

                2. That’s the wording of The New York Times; that’s why I put those words in quoyation marks, and gave the 10-31-2016 NY Times as the source.
                  Don’t attribute a “sound alike phrase” to me when I’m qouting verbatim from a news article.

                    1. L4D,..
                      You said that “the phrase I used was similar to the one you used”.
                      Since I was quoting directly from the New York Times article and clearly indicated it was a quote from their Oct. 31, 2016 article, I pointed that out again.
                      I didn’t want you thinking that I would stoop so low as to plagiarize anything written by you.😉
                      Whether the MY Times would stoop that low to plagiarize you, or you plagirizing them, is another issue.

                    2. Nobody reviews the bidding with the original inflection better than Ptom Gnash.

                    3. L4D,…
                      – It generally isn’t necessary to explain about things like the meaning of quotations, or attribution.
                      So if you’re confused about what it means when one uses quotation marks and cites the source for the quotation, or pretend that you don’t understand because you like to play games, then occasionally others will interrupt your conversations with yourself to untangle your comments.

    1. CrowdStrike attributed the hack to Russia on June 15th, 2016. Joseph Mifsud told George Papadopoulos that Russia had stolen Clinton emails on April 26th, 2016.

      It’s a reasonable inference that Mifsud was referring to the toilet server e-mails. Quit playing games.

      1. Then why did Papadopoulos destroy his cell-phone and delete his Facebook account to conceal evidence of his email correspondence with Ivan Timofeev at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Olga Polanskaya?

        1. Annie/Inga – why did Hillary destroy so many cell phones? Probably for the same reason. BTW, I dropped my FB account after I saw that robot Zuckerberg talking to Congresscritters on tv. I immediately shut down my account. When I change phones, I destroy the other phone. When I change computers, I destroy the hard drive of the old computer. It is a standard safety procedure. Nothing nefarious about it.

          1. Why does everything have to be about Paul C Schulte’s technophilia? Why doesn’t Paul C Schulte just get a SCIF already?

            1. Annie/Inga – you would be smart to follow my example. Your personal information is at risk.

        2. Irrelevant response. That aside, neither the act nor the motive is asserted in the stipulation which accompanies the plea agreement.

          1. Knowledge of guilt is not irrelevant. What Papadopoulos signed his name to is that he concealed the very existence of Ivan Timofeev along with the existence of his email exchanges with Timofeev. Papadopoulos also signed his name to lying about the significance that Papadopoulos gave to Mifsud in his email exchanges with Manafort and other Trump campaign members. BTW, the FBI has a fair number of the emails exchanged between Papadopoulos and Timofeev, anyway.

              1. Ivan Timofeev is the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official mentioned in numerous stipulations throughout the plea deal to which Papadopoulos signed his name. That the description is generic does not refute the identification of that MFA Official available in press reports.

                  1. Oh for crying out loud already [hereafter OFCOLA]. The Daily Caller News Foundation [DCNF] has been getting Daily Tattle-Tales from the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence [HPSCI], Ninny Na-Na Nunes [NNNN]. That’s how DCNF got the name Stefan Halper. Likewise, that’s how DCNF got the name Ivan Timofeev. There’s a whole series of DCNF stories about Papadopoulos’ interactions with Timofeev. I’m not the one making this stuff up. Ninny Na-Na Nunes is the one making this stuff up. Now go do a keyword search on the phrase “refutation by analogy.” Unless you’re already familiar with the technique. Which, of course, you are; aren’t you?

                    1. Annie/Inga – it is ‘refutation by logical analogy. You left out a key word. Which lesson are you on in your logic class?

    1. One might have thought that Dr. Benson would have gone with “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” by Lewis Carroll. Remind me: Who was the original Carpenter? Likewise, if Stefan Halper is The Walrus, then who would the analogous Carpenter be?

  5. Lefty loons on cable television argue that Halper was not a “spy” but rather an “informant”. Deep state gets caught spying on opposition party and take-down-Trump-at-all-costs media responds with placating word games instead of doing its job and standing up for civil liberties for all.

    1. Yes, as those “loons” point out, the difference between an informant and a spy is well-defined. If you want, you could read about it. Just Google. Otherwise, bask in ignorance.

      1. Dear Hollywood Henderson: Your response is proof positive that the subtle re-characterization by left media of spy Halper as “informant” is effective way for it to help its resistance sheep suppress any pesky civil liberties thoughts that may linger. Left used to rally behind civil liberties for all, but now looks the other way when it is to its political benefit i.e. IRS abuses, Trump campaign spying, no-knock Gestapo raids, etc.

    2. The FBI was apparently playing the same word game regarding when it claimed that its “investigation” began — which apparently doesn’t include identifying when the investigation BEFORE the investigation began:

      “Sometimes the FBI Investigates Before Its Investigation

      But now we know that the FBI used the term ‘investigation’ in a technical sense, not a colloquial one.”

      http://thefederalist.com/2018/05/21/public-evidence-crossfire-hurricane-demands-full-investigation-stat/

      That very-well-written article contains some of the best legal analysis I’ve recently read, particularly since it puts things in the context of FBI procedures and authority. Well worth reading.

  6. While the media has tended to downplay these allegations,

    As Glenn Reynolds says, when you realize they’re Democratic operatives with bylines, their behavior makes sense. The media have been predominantly liberal for 50+ years, but during the Newseum era had some degree of detachment from Democratic officeholders (the Kennedy Administration excepted). That was true of print media as recently as 20 years ago. No more.

  7. was the allegation in 1980 that aides to Ronald Reagan spied on Jimmy Carter’s campaign and obtained confidential documents Carter used to prepare for a debate. While he has denied the allegations, one of those aides identified was Halper.

    IIRC, there was an inquiry into the matter by a congressional committee chaired by Donald Albosta, and the result was inconclusive, i.e. Reagan campaign officials successfully stonewalled about who in the Carter campaign gave them the briefing book. There was one discrete briefing book that Carter made use of, so it was a reasonable inference that it was not delivered in installments. Henry Fairlie got a copy of it when the imbroglio was made public and wrote a pretty amusing “book review” of its contents in conjunction with a review of several other like pieces.

  8. “Expert texpert choking smokers,
    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?”
    Again, Prof. Turley shows either his lack of expertise or his partisanship or both.
    There is a colorable case that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors and violated norms and mores of our government.
    Ironically, Turley wants to speak of Halper as “paid.” Excuse me, what about Trump, Trump, Jr., Eric, Ivanka, Kushner, Pruitt, Manafort, Gates, Mnuchin, DeVos, Mulvaney, Zinke, Chao, Flynn, Ross, et al.?
    These folks represent a portion of the most corrupt self-serving treasonous government our country has ever had.
    Not to mention Cohen and Yohai and Friedman.

      1. The word treasonous does not describe anything that even could have been done at the Trump Tower meeting. Remember: A charge of treason ought never to be taken lightly by anyone; including, especially, the people hurling that charge against anyone else.

      2. @David B. Benson May 24, 2018 at 4:14 AM
        “Yup.”

        Whoa, DB! Don’t you know you could give yourself a stroke by thinking that hard? Pace yourself, Son, pace yourself.

    1. And we see the ‘mind’ of the partisan Democrat at work. Liberal politics has decayed into a species of criminality.

              1. SHUT YOUR FESTERING GOB, YOU TIT! YOUR TYPE MAKES ME PUKE! YOU VACUOUS TOFFEE-NOSED MALODOROUS PERVERT!!!

                  1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED. You are in no position to give advice, buttercup. If I yelled at you would I finally get my citation?

                    1. Schulte yammers. Remember Merriam-Webster’s definition number three. Which I’ve forgotten. Something about talking loudly and persistently.

                    2. Annie/Inga – I am persistant in what I need and expect to get. I am not loud.

                    3. David Benson still owes me a citation from the OED. – David, you owe me that citation and you know it. You just spent so much time as king of the hill as a professor that you are not used to having someone challenge you. You are playing in my sandbox now, David. Now if you can’t walk to the university library, Uber there. It is open now.

              2. NII:
                Now you’ve gone off and got hollywwod mad. So heqd exploding mad that he repeats everything you say in a classic version of “I know you are but what an I.” Quit intelledtually jousiting with an unarmed man. The blood gets everywhere.

                1. Indeed! Another cry for “mommy” from the empty left. Too bad they don’t see how it shreds any remaining strands of integrity on their part.

  9. Hey Turley, go read A Thinking Person’s Guide to the Stefan Halper Conspiracy Theory over at Emptywheel. If you dare.

  10. Obama LOVED and loves to surveil. I think it’s his favorite thing…..reporters, senators, citizens, oh yes, he LOVES to surveil. I’m sure he’s still quite active, from down the street.

  11. Clapper is a confirmed liar and no one should believe him. I do not think the IG report is going to look favorably at him.

    1. One thing that will be interesting to watch for is whether the new Inspector General for the Intelligence Community (sworn in one week ago today) will dive right into being involved in the controversy, either on his own or in collaboration with DOJ Inspector General Horowitz and/or prosecutor Huber.

      https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/item/1873-dni-coats-statement-on-welcoming-michael-atkinson-as-inspector-general-of-the-intelligence-community

      Having a new IC Inspector General, and the timing of his arrival on the scene, could have as much to do with why Brennan and Clapper have been going berserk lately as the impending DOJ Inspector General’s report or the revelations/leaks in the media.

      Could you imagine taking the job of IC Inspector General right at the point of the biggest spy scandal in US History breaking. I hope the guy enjoys action, ’cause it seems like he’ll be seeing nothing BUT action.

  12. NPR reported almost every single day on this subject since Friday last. In every report, they interview someone who’s sole purpose is to poopoo the whole thing, declare it a bit fat nothing burger.

    It’s quite amazing to hear James Clapper on one of the morning TV shows suggest the idea that the spying was to “help” Trump.

    With all due respect, would someone please paraphrase this part of the above article:

    “…If he (Halper) was paid as an asset, using him to target Trump figures reduces the nexus with the FBI dramatically. Other notable payments also exist, like his payment of $3,000 to George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser. Halper gave the money and travel compensation to Papadopoulos for a paper on energy issues.

    However, when Papadopoulos met with Halper, Halper pressed him on whether he was involved in getting the Clinton emails and anything he knew about collusion. Papadopoulos was clearly viewed as a possible entry into the workings of the Trump campaign. If this money ultimately came from the FBI, it could constitute the use of federal funds to induce a Trump official to be an indirect or direct asset for the investigation…”

    Does “reduce the nexus” minimize the FBI’s culpability? I just don’t get the overall point in the quote, if it suggests good or bad potential government actions v. Trump and his campaign.

    1. NPR reported almost every single day on this subject since Friday last. In every report, they interview someone who’s sole purpose is to poopoo the whole thing, declare it a bit fat nothing burger.

      NPR and PBS excel at that sort of thing.

      It was my impression that Messrs.. MacNeill and Lehrer used to keep it in check on their program. Since they’ve retired, all discussions are structured to rule out certain options, or the advocates for the disfavored side are selected from the ranks of trade-association lobbies, or they recruit the least articulate person they can find to represent the disfavored side.

      It was a generation ago that George Will described PBS documentaries as ‘six parts propaganda, one part balance’. Every once in a while Frontline has a production that doesn’t feel rigged and American Experience isn’t bad (though they’re mostly recycled and mostly produced decades ago). Independent Lens is always a showcase of what red-haze film school students have been doing.

      NPR has fine production values and (at least at one time) story selection, but is otherwise a scandal. NB, their foundational executive director was George McGovern’s erstwhile campaign manager. Liberals have always regarded public radio as their personal property. See Fred Barnes critique of their reporting from Central American penned in 1987, when they were relying for stringers on Lori Berenson type political tourists.

    2. Just a guess, but I believe Turley is using the word, “nexus,” in the “dot-connecting” sense, so when he says “reduces the nexus,” I think he’s intending to say that it reduces the number of dots that need to be connected to establish FBI spying on the Trump campaign.

      In other words, without Halper being paid by the FBI, there’s a possibility that he was just some guy voluntarily doing something of his own volition, and for purposes that might be interpreted differently by others, depending on their point of view. But if Halper was on the FBI payroll as an informant/spy when he contacted Trump’s people, that pretty much established the conduct as intentional FBI spying on Trump’s campaign, with no further dots that need to be connected to piece together the puzzle and conclusively establish what the FBI was doing.

        1. Maybe — but I’ll believe it when I see James Comey’s head on a pike planted in front of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20535

            1. It would be agreeable to break up the FBI into it’s component parts and restrict the mandates of the successor agencies. While we’re at it, it would be agreeable to have a dedicated immigration police, rather than one in which manpower can be redeployed to hunt down smugglers or (as was the case prior to 2002) interview people seeking naturalization. Local governments commonly have a district attorney, corporation counsel, sheriff, police force, and fire department. State governments will have an attorney-general, state police, prison service, and civil defense office. Not sure why this pattern is not replicated on the federal level. The Justice Department should have been broken up when Homeland Security was assembled in 2002.

              1. Perhaps those are the democratic norms that Anon believes President Trump is causing unbelievably destructive erosion on.

            2. It’s not actually possible to have credibility with more than half of the political spectrum.

              Anyway, as a side bar related to our discussion several weeks ago about extortion: There was subsequently a well-written article at The Federalist addressing that very subject —

              http://thefederalist.com/2018/05/08/fbis-raid-michael-cohen-sets-dangerous-precedent/

              — concerning which I posted a comment citing our discussion (not entirely accurately — taking a bit of literary license) for the purpose of correcting a mistake by the writer of that otherwise very good piece in relation to his own assumption that there had, in fact, been an act of criminal extortion:

              _____________________

              This is an excellent piece. Best I’ve read in a long time. That said, I’d point out one small point that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t had an extensive discussion with a lawyer at another website a few weeks ago, and it involves what constitutes extortion. As stated in this piece;

              “In New York, the crime is called ‘Larceny by Extortion.’ It is a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Under N.Y. Penal Law 155.05(2)(e)(v): ‘A person obtains property by extortion when he compels or induces another person to deliver such property to himself or to a third person by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor or another will … [e]xpose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule’ ”

              In the discussion I was having, I was asking the attorney how Stormy Daniels’ conduct could NOT constitute extortion, using the definition provided by Ohio law (the jurisdiction in which I live):

              “Ohio Revised Code 2905.11 Extortion.

              (A) No person, with purpose to obtain any valuable thing or valuable benefit or to induce another to do an unlawful act, shall do any of the following: ***
              (5) Expose or threaten to expose any matter tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to damage any person’s personal or business repute, or to impair any person’s credit. ***”

              After proposing a few arguments that didn’t satisfy me, the lawyer finally mentioned a possible fact that hadn’t occurred to me — that Stormy Daniels didn’t actually seek payment in exchange for silence, but had taken her story to the tabloids, to sell to them — that because the story was so wild, before the tabloids would pay Stormy for the story or publish it, they contacted Trump’s associates to ask for confirmation or denial — and that that’s when Michael Cohen would have been dispatched to talk to Stormy and probably offered to pay her for the story himself (or pay her not to tell her story, whichever).

              Under that scenario — seedy as it may be — I don’t think Stormy’s conduct would constitute extortion, since she didn’t start out to demand money from Trump but merely to sell her story to the tabloids, and Cohen made the offer to prevent that from happening.

              And, of course, it’s possible that that’s merely a clever way to get around the extortion law, perhaps dreamt up by Stormy’s “lawyer.”

              So my point is that perhaps the conduct doesn’t constitute extortion, as I originally assumed it did. The element of intent to demand money from Trump, or even an actual demand for money from Trump, I think would be absent.

      1. So you’re saying that Professor Turley is asking, “are you gonna believe me or your lying eyes?”

    3. @Joseph Jones May 24, 2018 at 1:04 AM
      “With all due respect, would someone please paraphrase this part of the above article:
      “ ‘…If he (Halper) was paid as an asset, using him to target Trump figures reduces the nexus with the FBI dramatically. [My emphasis] Other notable payments also exist, like his payment of $3,000 to George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser. Halper gave the money and travel compensation to Papadopoulos for a paper on energy issues.’ ”

      The only thing I can think of that makes a little sense of the italicized sentence is that JT is implying a distinction between an FBI informant and a CIA asset, but what significant difference JT thinks that makes in Halper’s role as an Intelligence Community operative is a mystery.

      If someone else has a better explanation for the sentence, I’m certainly open to entertaining it.

      JT would benefit greatly from a course in expository writing, or from at the very least reading a few good books on the subject. If his teaching and TV appearances preclude his having time even for the latter, he’d be well advised to hire a competent editor.

      He apparently doesn’t clearly see the connection between the quality of one’s public writing and one’s credibility. Either that or he’s simply unaware of how opaque his writing tends to be.

    4. JoJo said, “Does “reduce the nexus” minimize the FBI’s culpability? I just don’t get the overall point in the quote, if it suggests good or bad potential government actions v. Trump and his campaign.”

      Turley had written, “If he [Halper] was paid as an asset [CIA asset], using him to target Trump figures reduces the nexus with the FBI dramatically.”

      Where nexus means vinculum, crossroads, intersection or just-plain connection, Turley’s cryptic comment appears to be shifting the blame to the CIA and away from the FBI. Or not. The implication might be that Halper reported to the CIA and the CIA shared Halper’s information with the National Security Division of the Justice Department rather than the FBI. Otherwise, I don’t know what Turley’s getting at either.

      1. P. S. Turley may be equating CIA asset with CIA spy. If so, then the question might become whether Halper was spying on Page and Papadopoulos or spying on Russia’s efforts at cultivating Page and Papadopoulos. Given that Halper met Page and Papadopoulos in London, the physical location of Halper’s alleged “spying” could mitigate the supposed illegality that Trump imputes to Halper’s actions.

        1. Seriously though, the CIA is allowed to spy on Russia and, thereby, allowed to spy on U. S. citizens who may have been recruited by Russia–provided that the CIA does not do so on American soil. Meanwhile, the CIA might conceivably be required to share intelligence with the National Security Division of the Justice Department–maybe.

          1. Had Page and Papadopoulos been on American soil at the time that Russia cultivated them, the CIA would have had to have handed-off its efforts to the FBI to investigate.

          2. L4D – Seriously, they spied on a Presidential candidate, a President-elect and a US President. Have they no shame?

            1. Halper met and conversed with Page and Papadopoulos. Halper did not meet nor converse with Trump. Given that Trump says Papadopoulos was the coffee boy, it follows that Halper met and conversed with a Presidential candidate’s coffee boy and did so in a foreign Capitol–not here in the good old U. S. of A.

              1. L4D – you do not know where or when they met or how many times. And now there is the claim of another spy that Mueller is trying to suppress.

                1. Ninny Na-Na Nunes leaked the whole thing to the Daily Tattler.

                  Does spy number two have the same initials as Andrew McCarthy?

                  1. L4D – I do not know who the spy is or what his or her initials are because the person who made the claim is getting clearance from his attorney to release the name. Personally, I think it is Jared Kushner.

                    1. Personally, I think it is Jared Kushner.

                      You’re pulling her leg, right?

                    2. Pual said, “. . . the person who made the claim [Sam Clovis] is getting clearance from his attorney [Victoria Toensing] to release the name.”

                      Neither Clovis nor Toensing have the authority to declassify information, Pual. Ergo, the only name they possibly could cough up is a fellow by the name of Red Haring.

                    3. L4D – I think his problem is that he gave the name to the grand jury and that is supposed to be kept secret. He also said the Mueller threatened him when he was leaving the grand jury room.

                    4. If Clovis coughs up the name, Sir Richard Dearlove, then Clovis will have proven his ability to read an old newspaper account of Stefan Halper’s long-time colleague. If Clovis coughs up the name of Steven Roh, then Clovis will have proven his ability to read a recently published author, who was Joseph Mifsud’s handler and paymaster for the Russians, and whose book claims that George Papadopoulos, himself, was a spy implanted in the Trump campaign, thereby underscoring the importance of the name, Red Haring.

  13. Halper is but one of several moles placed in the Trump campaign with the goal of undermining his presidential prospects.

    Remember this email?

    “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” — Peter Strzok, FBI

    NOW you finally know what “insurance policy” Strzok was speaking of. And Mueller was to be their ultimate duplicate pair of Aces in the event the Democrats got dealt a losing hand.

      1. Hollywood:
        Yeah, he’s just an informant who works undercover in an organization he hates. You know, like a spy. Even Pinocchio Clapper admits that little word choice, but what does he know? He just implanted him.

                1. Papadopoulos signed his name to it. Papadopoulos told Halper that he didn’t help Russia leak the stolen DNC emails because Papadopoulos said that would have been treason. Of course, Papadopoulos was wrong to think that it would have been treason. Nevertheless, that is what Papadopoulos told Halper.

                  P. S. I’m really getting good at typing Papadopoulos. I’m thinking of doing it more often. What do you think, Pual?

                  1. L4D – evidently you have forgotten how to type Paul. 🙂 People sign a lot of things for a lot of reasons. That is reality.

                    1. The best Mespo can get is that Mifsud supposedly lied to Papadopoulos. But Papadopoulos signed his name to a long list of stipulations attached to his guilty plea on a charge of lying to the FBI. If Papadopoulos lied in his stipulations, then it’s not going to get any better for Papadopoulos. That it might get better for Trump is inadmissible as evidence that Papadopoulos lied to Mueller in the stipulations to which Papadopoulos signed his name.

    1. Good info. Notwithstanding Pompeo having shot his mouth off about Wikileaks while CIA Directory, if Trump really wanted to expedite an investigation, the first thing he could do — and in my opinion SHOULD do — is pardon Julian Assange (and Snowden) and invite him to the US to provide testimony concerning the entire scandal, from Hillary’s emails through spying on politicians, foreign and domestic.

      Assange could probably clear up more controversies than any other living person, and that would be a fair exchange for a pardon, regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the past conduct of Wikileaks.

      As a practical matter, there’s a point where the truth being discovered so that the nation can move forward outweighs anything that’s happened in the past regarding allegations against Assange.

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