President Trump responded on Sunday to accusations by conservative commentators that the FBI — possibly under the direction of the Department of Justice — secretly sent an informant into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign under the pretense of ferreting out Russian ties. But conservative commentators are contending that it was actually for the purpose of gathering intel on the campaign for Obama’s administration.
In response to Trump, the Department of Justice [DOJ] agreed on Tuesday to open an investigation on possible Obama interference with his campaign, according to ABC News.
So why is all of this such a big deal? Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explained that if the DOJ directed someone to infiltrate the Trump campaign, it’s “wrong but probably not criminal,” Fox News Insider reported. But if the FBI sent their own informant in, they would have had to have had a search warrant issued from a federal judge and sufficient evidence to show that criminal activity was taking place in the Trump campaign.
"If he was sent by the FBI without a search warrant, then President Trump is right. We have one of the greatest political scandals on our hands," Napolitano explained. “If that happened, it's the type of surveillance we have not seen or known about in modern American history."
That also brings up the question of whether President Obama knew all this was going on. If he did, Napolitano says he could have used intel gathered on Trump to aid Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton with her campaign in an attempt to defeat Trump.
That concern comes from a 2016 text sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok — assigned to Robert Mueller’s Russia-Trump collusion investigation — to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, saying the “potus [President of the United States] wants to know everything we’re doing." According to NBC News, it’s not been confirmed if that text was referring to the Trump campaign investigation or the Hillary investigation, but he did say "everything."
Napolitano and former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo both spoke anonymously about suspected FBI informant and professor Stefan Halper, who has been identified by the Washington Times, among other news outlets. Napolitano described Halper as “a well-known intelligence resource” who has been employed by presidents going back decades.
Caputo said he wasn’t the only person sent to infiltrate Trump’s campaign, explaining to Fox News host Laura Ingraham, "Let me tell you something that I know for a fact. This informant, this person that they tried to plant into the campaign — and even into the administration, if you believe Axios — he's not the only person who came at the campaign. And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came at the campaign.”
"When we finally find out the truth about this, [former Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper and the rest of them will be wearing some orange suits," Caputo added.
In the past, Trump has been mocked by CNN and others for claiming that the Obama administration surveilled Trump Tower and the members of his campaign. Obama completely denied that that ever happened, according to Fortune.
In contradiction to Obama’s denial, FBI surveillance of Trump campaign aides was later found to be widespread, according to Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The pretense of investigating possible ties between Trump and Russia was used as the rationale.
See Napolitano’s full comments below (skip to 0:35 to see him):