Monday, May 06, 2019

THE INVESTIGATIONS - Trump 2016 Campaign Start

"How the FBI began investigating a Trump campaign adviser in 2016" PBS NewsHour 5/3/2019


SUMMARY:  President Trump has long claimed U.S. intelligence agencies spied on his 2016 campaign.  This week, he considered himself vindicated by a story in The New York Times detailing an FBI effort to covertly gather information from a Trump campaign adviser.  Judy Woodruff talks to reporter Adam Goldman about what sparked the investigation and whether it appears to have followed standard processes.

Judy Woodruff:  (NewsHour):  We're joined now by one of the article's reporters.  He is Adam Goldman.  He covers the FBI and national security for The Times.

Adam Goldman, welcome again to the "NewsHour."

So tell us on what basis it was.  The story is about an FBI investigator meeting covertly with a Trump campaign adviser.  Tell us, how did this come about?  How unusual was it?

Adam Goldman (New York Times):  Well, I don't think it's particularly unusual, if the FBI believes there's wrongdoing and they need to get to the bottom of this.

They typically might send an investigator like this woman in alongside an informant to figure out what happened.  And that's exactly what they were trying to do.  The FBI was trying to understand, you know, was George Papadopoulos, this foreign policy, this campaign adviser for Trump, in some way working with the Russians?

And they thought that because they had received an allegation that, in fact, he was.  So they moved quickly and aggressively to try to figure out, before the election ended, was he, in fact, working with the Russians?

Judy Woodruff:  So, what was the basis they were using?  What evidence did they have that there was a reason to try to get in and know more about what he was up to?

Adam Goldman:  I think, at its core, the Australian government provided information that George — that the Russians had essentially made George Papadopoulos an offer, saying they had hacked e-mails, Democratic e-mails, and they could help him release them and coordinate the timing of that.

And Papadopoulos had told that to the Australian ambassador at the time in London, and that information was relayed to the FBI, months later, in fact.  And that was the genesis of the FBI's Russia investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane.

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