Grassley: Did FBI brief or warn Trump campaign about potential R - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grassley: Did FBI brief or warn Trump campaign about potential Russian election influence attempts

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Iowa Republican United States Senator, Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking the FBI whether it ever briefed or warned Trump campaign officials about alleged attempts by the Russian government to infiltrate the campaign.

Grassley says the FBI has reportedly given “defensive briefings” during previous presidential campaigns to warn candidates and campaign staff of potential foreign influence and counterintelligence concerns.  Those kinds of warnings alert unwitting organizations and individuals to be prepared to take defensive actions to protect themselves from outside influence.

In his letter to the FBI, Iowa's senior U.S. Senator writes, "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 goes on to write: "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."

Grassley's office brought attention to his FBI questions in a press statement released late Thursday.

The release referred to recent news stories involving former Trump Campaign Chair, Paul Manafort,  saying, the FBI reportedly began investigating Paul Manafort and his foreign business dealings in 2014.  

Recent press reports also allege that Manafort was the target of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act monitoring by the Obama administration in 2016 while he was working as chairman of the Trump campaign.

Further, former FBI Director James Comey publicly testified that the FBI began investigating ties between Trump campaign associates and Russians by July of 2016 and that President Trump was not under investigation. 

If the FBI had sufficient information regarding counterintelligence concerns to authorize these investigative activities, then it is important to understand whether it took steps to provide a defensive briefing or otherwise warn the candidate before the election.

In his letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senator Grassley requests details about any defensive briefings or warnings provided to now-President Trump or any Trump campaign officials and the FBI’s policies and practices relating to defensive briefings to political campaigns.  Grassley also asks the FBI to explain its reasoning if it did not warn the Trump campaign.

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