Vindication for President Trump? According to a report in the New York Times, the FBI sent an undercover agent to pose as a research assistant and meet with Trump aide George Papadopoulos months before the 2016 election. The woman, who told Papadopoulos her name was Azra Turk, directly asked the campaign adviser during one of their London meetings whether the campaign was working with Russia, sources tell the Times. The insiders say it was Turk's job to help oversee the investigation of alleged Trump links to Russia. At one of her three meetings with Papadopoulos, she was accompanied by FBI informant Stefan Halper, who also met with Papadopoulos and other aides without her. Turk posed as an assistant to Halper, an American foreign policy expert who taught at the University of Cambridge for years.
The Times' sources say the FBI, which opened its Russia investigation weeks before the Sept. 2016 meetings, "failed to glean any information of value from the encounters." Papadopoulos—who was sentenced to 14 days in prison last year for lying to the FBI about his contacts with alleged Russian agents—told Fox Thursday that he thought the "very flirty" Turk was trying to "seduce" him to make him "slip up." He said he "immediately thought she was an agent, but a Turkish agent, or working with the CIA." Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said, "There is a word for this in the English language: spying. Democrats and their media friends have expressed horror at the term, but there is no other way to describe it: The FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016." (Attorney General William Barr is investigating the FBI's actions during the campaign.)