I just saw this Devin Nunes quote, from a WaPo story on the fight over releasing details on Stefan Halper investigative activities into the infiltration of Trump’s campaign by Russian assets.
Nunes said he and his colleagues have been troubled by reports and indications that sources may have been repeatedly reaching out to Trump campaign members and even offering aides money to encourage them to meet. The president, he said, has ample reason to be angry and suspicious.
“If you are paying somebody to come talk to my campaign or brush up against my campaign, whatever you call it, I’d be furious,” Nunes said.
The reference to “paying somebody” is presumably a reference to Halper paying George Papadopoulos $3,000 for research as a way to get an opportunity to ask, in a possibly recorded phone call, about the DNC emails.
As TheDCNF reported back in March, Halper contacted Papadopoulos through email on Sept. 2, 2016, offering to fly him to London to discuss writing a policy paper about energy issues in Turkey, Israel and Cyprus. Halper offered to pay $3,000 for the paper.
Papadopoulos made the trip and had dinner multiple times with Halper and a Turkish woman described as his assistant. Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of their meetings said Halper randomly asked Papadopoulos whether he knew about Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked and leaked by Russians.
Papadopoulos strongly denied the allegation, sources familiar with his version of the exchange have told TheDCNF. Halper grew agitated and pressed Papadopoulos on the topic. Papadopoulos believes that Halper was recording him during some of their interactions, sources said.
Halper’s assistant, who is named Azra Turk, brought up Russians and emails over drinks with Papadopoulos. Turk also flirted heavily with Papadopoulos and attempted to meet him in Chicago, where he lives, a source told TheDCNF.
I’d be curious to see Papadopoulos’ notoriously inflated resume to see whether he included the research project on it after he completed it.
That Nunes thinks Trump should be outraged about this one incident is particularly notable, given that neither Nunes nor anyone else running cover for the Trump administration has ever expressed similar outrage about all the Trump aides that other countries were dangling money and other goods to brush up against. Those include (and this list is far from comprehensive):
- Russian academics paying Carter Page to speak in Moscow
- A pro-Russian Syrian group paying Don Jr to speak in Paris
- Multiple Russian banks floating massive amounts of support to Jared
- Russia’s RT paying Mike Flynn to appear at an event with Putin
- Turkish pass-throughs paying Flynn to make a movie
- Saudi, Israeli, and Emirati sources offering campaign assistance
- Oleg Deripaska offering to forgive Paul Manafort’s $20 million debt for updates on the Trump campaign
- Russians offering dirt on Hillary to get a meeting with Trump’s campaign manager, son, and son-in-law
I mean, even the Carter Page Moscow trip was more lucrative than the Papadopoulos research. And the other valuable things offered to campaign aides, by spooked-up sources from a range of countries, were tens or millions of dollars more valuable than what Halper offered, usually without any legit purpose tied to it.
And yet the only intelligence source that Nunes has expressed any outrage about — the only one! — is one associated with the United States, a person with long ties to the Republican party.
I mean, maybe Nunes is just dumb and doesn’t understand the stance he has now publicly adopted. Maybe he didn’t mean to say the only spies who shouldn’t be able to test whether Trump aides were willing to sell information for a price are American spies.
But thus far, the only lucrative outreach by spies that Nunes has objected to are American ones.