Former Trump campaign cochair Sam Clovis said his conversation with a suspected FBI informant during the campaign was like two academics sitting in a ‘faculty lounge’ and that he believes investigators were trying to build an ‘audit trail.’
Clovis made his comments on an Iowa talk radio program, where he threw out the theory that the informant was trying to create a trail of information that could later be used to justify a federal surveillance warrant.
‘The meeting was very high level. It was like two faculty members sitting down in the faculty lounge talking about research,’ Clovis said while filling in for the ‘Simon Conway Show,’ CNN reported.
‘They were trying to literally plant evidence or create an audit trail that would lead investigators on something. Then they would have justification to go back for their … warrants and all their other things,’ he said.
Sam Clovis described his meeting with an FBI informant to ‘two faculty members sitting down in the faculty lounge;
‘There was no indication or no inclination that this was anything other than just wanting to offer up his help to the campaign if I needed it.’
Clovis described the way the informant, reported to be Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, tried to work his way through the Trump campaign staff.
He said he and Halper chatted about China policy – not Russia. The met at the DoubleTree hotel in Arlington, Virginia just outside Washington.
‘He had met with Carter Page, he used that as the bona fides to get an appointment with me,’ Clovis said.
‘And then I think he used my meeting as a bona fides to get a meeting with George Papadopoulos,’ he said, referring to the Trump foreign policy aide who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
News of Clovis’ description of the meeting came as President Trump railed that there were ‘spies’ in his campaign.
Sam Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee
Clovis said the informant was building an ‘audit trail’ to try to get a FISA warrant. Carter Page, Global Energy Capital LLC Managing Partner and a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, makes a presentation titled ‘ Departing from Hypocrisy: Potential Strategies in the Era of Global Economic Stagnation, Security Threats and Fake News’ during his visit to Moscow
‘A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country. That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone’s ever seen,’ Trump fumed at the White House Tuesday.
Clovis suggested the source, who he didn’t name, was trying to create an ‘audit trail.’
‘The thing that’s unsettling to me’ is the sources effort ‘to establish an audit trail from the campaign or somebody associated with the campaign, back to those Clinton emails — whether or not they existed, we don’t know,’ he said.
‘The FBI and the Department of Justice, they were attempting to create something that did not exist and there was no evidence that it existed, to create an audit trail that would lead investigators on something. Then they would have justification to go back for their FISA warrants and all their other things,’ Clovis said.
Stefan Halper has been identified as the government informant. Congressional Republicans are demanding information about him and his activities, as Trump battles the Russia probe
‘If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country,’ said Trump on Tuesday
He said the meeting seemed innocuous and was mainly about China. Clovis was a political scientist and Stefan Halper, the suspected informant, has penned books on China.
‘I didn’t have any notes on the meeting because there must not have been anything substantive that took place. Because it was nothing new,’ Clovis said.
‘It was an academic meeting. It was not anything other than him talking about the research that he had done on China. That was essentially what the discussion was about. We already had a lot of China people involved.’
He said of the alleged informant: ‘That person had nothing to do with the campaign. They were not part of the campaign.’