5/26/18, "The Important Questions About ‘Spygate’," Daily Caller, Chuck Ross
"A battle of semantics has dominated the revelation that the FBI used a Cambridge professor named Stefan Halper to keep tabs on three Trump campaign advisers....
But the debate has overshadowed more important questions about Halper’s role in “Crossfire Hurricane,” the code name for the FBI’s investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
The core questions are: "Who tasked Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor, with contacting Trump campaign advisers Carter Page, Sam Clovis, and George Papadopoulos? What did they tell Halper, and what did he in turn tell his FBI/CIA handlers? And how was that information used by government officials in their investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election? Was Halper a credible source?
That 14-month window leaves open numerous possibilities for Halper’s intelligence-gathering activities.
But Page tells The Daily Caller News Foundation that in his conversations with Halper, he never departed from what he has said publicly in response to the allegations made about him in the infamous Steele dossier.
The dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by Democrats, accuses Page of being the Trump campaign’s main back channel to the Kremlin for the purposes of collusion. The dossier claims that Page met with two sanctions Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. Page has vehemently denied the allegations.
Halper’s interactions with Clovis and Papadopoulos were more limited than those he had with Page. Clovis, the campaign’s national co-chairman, met with Halper once on Sept. 1, 2016 over coffee to discuss the campaign and their mutual interest in geopolitical issues.
The next day, Halper reached out to Papadopoulos through email — unbeknownst to Clovis — to offer to fly the young Trump aide to London to discuss writing an academic paper about Mediterranean energy issues. Papadopoulos accepted and flew to London on Halper’s dime. He was paid $3,000 for the paper, which he submitted in early October 2016.
During one dinner conversation, Halper asked Papadopoulos whether he was involved in [alleged] Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails. Papadopoulos vigorously denied the allegation, much to Halper’s frustration.
Halper’s approach to Page was much softer, Page says. They met multiple times, and Page says he never felt that Halper was trying to pump him for information about the campaign.
But it is now clear that Halper was collecting some information on Page. And there has been speculation that whatever information he collected was provided to the FBI for use in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants granted against Page.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan linked the issue of allegations about FISA abuse to the revelation of a Trump campaign informant.
“FISA abuse is a serious issue,” Ryan said when discussing House Republicans’ request for information about the FBI’s top-secret source.
The first FISA warrant authorizing surveillance on Page was granted on Oct. 21, 2016. Three renewals were granted in January, April and June 2017. They expired in September 2017, the same month that Page and Halper fell out of contact. As has been widely noted, FISA renewals require additional evidence showing probable cause that a surveillance target is acting as an agent of a foreign power.
What Page and Halper discussed in their encounters looms large over those FISA warrants as well as over “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Page says he can’t recall many details of what he and Halper discussed over their 14 month relationship. But he says that nothing he said would support the idea that he was involved in collusion on behalf of the Trump campaign with Russia.
“I’m not concerned about this other stuff,” Page told TheDCNF, referring to the Halper angle.
Though Page says he never had conversations with Halper in which he said anything that would support allegations in the dossier, what Halper may have relayed to the FBI is another matter....
Asked whether Halper could have provided false information to the FBI about him, Page was open to the possibility.
“He may very well have,” he told TheDCNF.
“The reality is there are a lot of lies in there. So whether it was him or whoever, they came to the wrong conclusion.”
There is virtually no visibility into what information Halper collected on Page or any of the other Trump advisers. It’s also unknown what he passed to the FBI."...