“All time biggest political scandal!”
FBI Informant in Contact with 3 Trump Aides
Donald Trump is fuming over revelations of an FBI informant in contact with his 2016 campaign.
Defying the Justice Department’s warnings over security, including that of the American professor who had discussions with at least three campaign personnel, Trump has called for the revelation of the informant’s identity.
Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
Trump and his allies have regularly attacked the FBI to try and curb the Trump-Russia investigation, and his latest angry statements distorted the agency’s operations.
The FBI did not have a “spy” inside the campaign. Instead, multiple sources said “an American academic who teaches in Britain” was in contact with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and foreign policy advisors Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Page had been under FBI scrutiny since 2013 as a possible Russian agent. Then in spring 2016, the agency learned of Papadopoulos’ involvement with London-based academic Joseph Mifsud, with ties to Russian officials, who promised thousands of e-mails concerning Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Clovis authorised further discussions by Papadopoulos with his contacts.
The sources said there is no evidence that the informant — who has served in past Republican administrations and also provided information to the CIA — “acted improperly” or that “agents veered from the FBI’s investigative guidelines”.
The informant asked Papadopoulos if he knew anything about Russian efforts to meddle in the presidential election. But, according to “an individual familiar with the conversation”, Papadopoulos “replied that he had no insight into the Russian campaign”.
Page said his encounters with the informant, which began at a conference in summer 2016, “were benign”.
Clovis’ attorney also confirmed contact with the informant but said there was no discussion of Russia.
Earlier this month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes — a Trump ally who has strenously tried to curb and discredit the Russia inquiry — issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for all documents related to the informant.
In a May 2 meeting, senior FBI and national intelligence officials warned the White House that information being sought by Nunes risked the informant’s safety and that of his sources, and might damage US relationships with its intelligence partners.
“Several people familiar with the matter” said the FBI has worked over the past two weeks to mitigate potential damage if the source’s identity is revealed, taking steps to protect other live investigations.
Trump Pressed Postmaster General to Double Rates for Packages
Hoping to punish Amazon and The Washington Post, Donald Trump pressed Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the charges for shipping of package, according to “three people familiar with their conversations”.
Trump has a vendetta against Amazon because it is owned by Jeff Bezos, who is also the publisher of The Washington Post. Trump has repeatedly linked the two concerns with his Twitter denunciations of the “Amazon Washington Post”.
Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, which would cost the firms billions of dollars. She has explained in multiple conversations since last year that the arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission.
The Postmaster General also told Trump that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service, giving him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies partnered with the service for deliveries.
But Trump has been unmoved. Last month, he signed an executive order mandating a government review of the Postal Service that could lead to major changes in the charging for package delivery.
The Postal Service reported an 11.8% increase in shipping and package income last year, reaching $19.5 billion. However, the service lost money for the 11th straight year, largely because of the continued decline in first-class mail and the high health benefit costs set aside for future retirees.