Rand Paul asks Haspel if the CIA spied on Trump in 2016

Paul said the president, who nominated Haspel, has expressed his concern over the issue.

“The president is very concerned about this,” Paul said. “And I think my concern is Gina Haspel has been in the very highest ranking in the CIA, Did she know anything about it? So I sent a letter to Gina Haspel asking her did the CIA eavesdrop on the Trump campaign when they were in England?”

Trump has in the past accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower — a claim that has been refuted by intelligence officials but one he’s asked Congress to investigate.

Rand Paul asks Haspel if the CIA spied on Trump in 2016
Rand Paul asks Haspel if the CIA spied on Trump in 2016

A senior administration official reiterated the president “is fully behind Haspel.”

In an interview with NBC News, Paul referenced a New Yorker story which reported that Robert Hannigan, the head of the British intelligence service, flew to Washington, D.C. to brief then-CIA director John Brennan on “a stream of illicit communications between Trump’s team and Moscow that had been intercepted.”

The letter asks Haspel: “Have you, or anyone else at the CIA, ever cooperated with any foreign intelligence services to surveil, monitor, or collect any information on candidate Trump during his travels outside the United States in the preceding five years? Specifically, was candidate Trump ever under any surveillance or of interest to the CIA during his previous visits to Europe?”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is slated to hold a vote on Haspel’s nomination Wednesday morning. The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., announced on Tuesday that he’d support her nomination. His support came after she wrote him a letter saying that the CIA’s use of harsh interrogations in the years after the September 11th attacks were a “mistake.” It was her most direct public repudiation of the program since her nomination.

Warner’s announcement of support was quickly followed by more Democratic senators doing so, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

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