He wasn’t wondering at the time — Clovis thought the meeting was so inconsequential that he did not report it up the chain at the Trump campaign, as he would have done if he had met someone who might be important to the campaign or who might be seeking a job. Only now, after reports that Halper was an informant for the FBI, has Clovis mentally gone back over their meeting in an attempt to figure things out.

Halper mentioned only briefly, and in passing, that he had met with Page, Clovis recalled when we discussed the meeting recently. Instead, Halper stressed his academic research, mostly about China and trade.

“It was about China,” Clovis said. “It had nothing to do with emails. No mention of Russia. No mention of Hillary Clinton. No mention of her campaign. Only a mention in passing that he had met with Carter Page. Other than that, it was a discussion of his research and what he thought about China.”