The Federal Bureau of Investigation formally opened its Trump investigation after Western intelligence assets and Clinton-affiliated political operatives repeatedly approached the Trump campaign and tried but failed to damage it through associations with Russia, a growing body of evidence suggests.
Before the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign in an operation code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” there were at least seven different instances when campaign advisers were approached with Russia-related offers. Most of those contacts — including Donald Trump Jr.’s much-publicized meeting with a Russian lawyer and others in June 2016 — offered the prospect of information damaging to Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Two of these approaches were made by one U.S. government informant already publicly identified as such, Stefan Halper. Another was made by a man who swore in court that he had worked as an FBI informant. Two others were made by figures associated with Western intelligence agencies. Another two approaches included political operatives, one foreign, with ties to the Clintons.
President Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has asserted that dispatching Halper to follow the Trump campaign “protected” it from the Russians.
But Mark Wauck, a former FBI agent with experience in such tactics, sees an effort at entrapment.