FBI is investigating Donald Trump campaign for running catfishing scheme on anti-Trump operatives
It turns out the FBI is investigating the Donald Trump team for more than just election collusion with the Russians. The FBI has been investigating a catfishing scheme which Trump’s political allies were using to target Republican operatives who were on Trump’s bad side during the election. This investigation is now being publicly confirmed by one of the targets of the scheme.
The scheme was first publicly exposed nearly ten months ago in an article from Politico (link) which identified Rick Wilson, Liz Mair and Cheri Jacobus as being three of the targets of the scheme. Jacobus is now confirming that the Feds have been investigating the matter all along. She tweeted “Team Trump is being investigated by the FBI for this. I’ve kept quiet for months but want it out there now.” (link). She added that “going public could have hurt the investigation earlier. I’m hoping they now are far enough along w/possible grand jury.”
Catfishing is when you pretend to be a fictional person online in order to coax private information out of an unwitting victim. It’s most commonly used as a faux-relationship tactic. But in political terms, it refers to someone pretending to a political figure in the hope of getting political secrets out of a political operative. Remarkably, the individual who was carrying out the attempted catfishing scheme, Steven Wessel, has already been locked up for it. This raises the question of who else within Donald Trump’s campaign might now be the target of the investigation.
Corey Lewandowski was Donald Trump’s campaign manager while the catfishing scheme was being carried out, and his name is mentioned ten times in the early Politico story in question, but that doesn’t make him a suspect. It’s also not clear whether or not Donald Trump is suspected of having been involved in the scheme.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report