Sen. Chuck Grassley notes that the FBI started investigating Russian attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election, including the possibility of coordination with the Trump campaign, in July of last year. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wants to know whether the FBI took any steps to warn the Trump campaign about Russian connections to some of the campaign’s top officials, including Paul Manafort.
The Iowa Republican released a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, asking whether the bureau “ever provided the Trump campaign with a defensive briefing or other warning regarding attempts to infiltrate the campaign by people connected with, or compromised by, Russian intelligence.”
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“If the FBI did provide a defensive briefing or similar warning to the [Trump] campaign, then that would raise important questions about how the Trump campaign responded,” Grassley wrote. “On the other hand, if the FBI did not alert the campaign, then that would raise serious questions about what factors contributed to its decision and why it appears to have been handled differently in a very similar circumstance involving a previous campaign.”
His letter cites a report in the news website Circa that says Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008 was warned by U.S. intelligence agencies about the foreign connections of people with ties to the campaign, including Manafort.
Manafort, who would go on to be chairman of the Trump campaign for several months last year, is now under investigation by the FBI over his lobbying work for pro-Russian interests.
Grassley notes that the FBI started investigating Russian attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election, including the possibility of coordination with the Trump campaign, in July of last year.
The senator asks the FBI to respond to questions by Oct. 4 on whether it provided any “defensive briefings” to the Trump campaign.
“Such briefings are one of the tools that the FBI often uses to thwart attempts by foreign intelligence services to infiltrate organizations or compromise U.S. citizens,” Grassley wrote.