President Donald Trump’s White House has claimed that their 2016 campaign was “spied on” by former President Barack Obama. In fact, it was former Trump advisors that fell under the eye of the FBI.
According to the New York Times, former foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos was approached by an undercover investigator to ask about ties to the Russian government.
The investigator identified herself as Azra Turk. In the meeting with Papadopoulos, he was questioned about campaign links with the Kremlin but Papadopoulos said he was suspicious and investigators didn’t garner any information.
Weeks prior to the meeting with Papadopoulos, the FBI opened the investigation into the Russia effort based largely on the information he gave to an Australian diplomat about a Russian who offered to help the Trump campaign by releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails.
Attorney General Bill Barr used the loaded term “spying” when testifying before Congress last month.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said. He later walked back the comments, saying simply, “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”
The Times claimed that the decision to launch an undercover operation reveals the FBI’s concerns about Russia working with Trump dating back to the 2016 campaign.
Trump has also claimed that he was personally wiretapped at Trump Tower during the 2016 election. In fact, it was Paul Manafort who was wiretapped as part of their investigation into financial crimes and work as a foreign agent. That investigation dates back to 2014 and the wiretap was dropped during the time Manafort worked for the Trump campaign. Trump and Republicans have alleged that the investigation was based on the Christopher Steele dossier.