Although Trump and the White House have branded University of Cambridge professor Stephen Halper as a "spy," there was a time when they enlisted his support for Trump's budding trade war with China.
In a White House press release from August 14, 2017, titled "Praise for President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Chinese Trade Practices," Halper is a featured voice in support of Trump's call for an investigation of China's theft of intellectual property — a move critics worried would damage relations between the two nations.
Nestled between quotes from a scholar from the conservative Hudson Institute and former congressman Randy Forbes, Halper — identified as a professor from the University of Cambridge — issued a glowing assessment of Trump's decision.
To be clear, Halper was never a "spy." Halper spoke to an unknown number of Trump's advisers during the 2016 campaign and relayed what they said to him back to the FBI which was investigating links between Trump's campaign and the Russia government.
Based on what Halper said about Trump's protectionist stance on international trade, we can surmise that he's quite a wingnut in his own right. The White House press release quoted Halper for claiming that Chinese intellectual property theft costs the United States "some $600 billion a year," which is a fantastical number, and that Trump should be "commended" for sparking a trade war.
We don't know what they saw, but congressional Republicans who met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Way last week to talk about Trump's fake "spy" immediately stopped talking about it after the meeting.