Sen. Rand Paul charged the Obama administration’s FBI and CIA with seeking to “entrap” members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during the 2016 race.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked the Kentucky Republican on Wednesday whether he agreed with Trump’s characterization of controversy regarding the use of at least one FBI informant interaction with Trump campaign associates as “Spygate.”
“Do we really want the FBI and the CIA … involved in presidential campaigns?” Paul asked.
“I think it’s unseemly that the FBI was putting informants in there trying to extract and entrap members of the Trump campaign,” he added. “I think it’s incredibly inappropriate and an abuse of power.”
Paul made references to specific actions reportedly taken by FBI informant Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor with ties to both American and British intelligence.
“He’s going and asking leading questions of people,” the lawmaker said. “He’s paying people money to get them to London.”
The latter was a reference to Trump campaign associate George Papadopoulos, who is said to have met with Halper in London.
“There is even some who say that the whole running into the Australian deputy ambassador over drinks with (Papadopoulos) was not sort of a random (event),” Paul stated. “That’s entrapment. That’s something we’re not supposed to be involved with.”
The FBI used Papadopoulos’ statement to the diplomat in May 2016 that Russia had dirt on Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton as justification to launch its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, according to The New York Times.
Paul noted that while Trump’s campaign was the target of these activities by the FBI, the Obama administration did not appear to target the Clinton campaign, though it did, at least through an intermediary, work with Russians.
“She was talking to a British spy, and that British spy was paying Russians for information to try to dig up stuff — true or untrue — on President Trump.”
Paul went on to voice his disapproval with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I’m a big believer that the special prosecutors have way too much power,” he said.
“Can you imagine the entire force of a team of 20 or 30 lawyers that can investigate your entire life for the last 20 or 30 years?” Paul asked.
He continued, “Bring you in to ask you questions, and if they can get you to make a misstatement based on historical fact of something you don’t remember correctly, that you can go to jail for that?”
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a quote from Judicial Watch’s Christopher Farrell, who served as an Army counterintelligence officer.
“They were running an operation to undermine a candidate for President of the U.S. These are all violations of law. This is intelligence tradecraft to steer an election. There’s nothing more grave when it comes to abuse of our intelligence system,” Farrell said.
Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch. “They were running an operation to undermine a candidate for President of the U.S. These are all violations of law. This is intelligence tradecraft to steer an election. There’s nothing more grave when it comes to abuse of our intelligence system…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
Farrell continued, “This is a level of criminality beyond the pale. This is such a grave abuse of power and authority, it’s like nothing else we’ve seen in our history. This makes the Nixon Watergate burglary look like keystone cop stuff.”
Trump wrote after the quote, “The greatest Witch Hunt in political history!”
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