by Chuck Ross
White House trade czar Peter Navarro said he feels “duped” by Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who sought out members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and applied for an ambassadorship in Trump’s administration.
“I feel duped, yeah, pretty much,” Peter Navarro told Fox Radio’s Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday.
“It’s baffling,” Navarro added.
Halper, a former Cambridge professor with deep ties to the CIA and MI6, approached Navarro in 2017, seeking a nomination to an ambassadorship to an unidentified Asian country, Axios reported on May 21.
At the time he submitted his application for the ambassadorship, Halper was working as an informant for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. As part of that under cover operation, Halper met with three Trump campaign associates — Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.
Halper maintained contact with Page from July 2016 through Sept. 2017, as The Daily Caller News Foundation has reported. He met Clovis once, on Sept. 1, 2016. And Halper paid Papadopoulos $3,000 to write a policy paper that appears to have been cover to arrange a series of meetings in London. Papadopoulos has told associates Halper asked him during dinner one night whether he was involved in Russian attempts to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
President Trump has dubbed the FBI’s operation as “Spygate.” Democrats and other Trump critics have pushed back on the label, saying the FBI was justified in using an informant to find out whether Russia was attempting to penetrate the Trump campaign. The Halper operation was focused solely on Russia’s activities and not on Trump himself, Trump’s detractors have also argued.
But Halper’s outreach to Navarro has tested that theory. It remains unclear whether Halper’s effort to enter the administration was an extension of his FBI work or whether he merely wanted the ambassadorship.
Navarro told Kilmeade he has met Halper only a few times — first as part of a documentary Navarro was filming about China’s economic policies. Both Navarro and Halper are highly regarded experts on the Chinese economy.
Navarro sent a spreadsheet with 12 names on it, including Halper’s, to the White House’s personnel office, the trade czar said.
“We were all duped by that and shame on, this kind of thing shouldn’t be happening. It just shouldn’t be happening,” Navarro told Kilmeade.
Navarro went on to refer to Halper as a “spy” who infiltrated Trump’s campaign.
“Having spies infiltrate into the Trump campaign. I mean, come on. It’s like that just that shouldn’t take place,” he said.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Chuck on Twitter.