I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
President Donald Trump tweeted he is going to demand the Department of Justice to investigate whether an “FBI/DOJ” informant “infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes” under the orders of the Obama administration.
CNN has repeatedly debunked this claim made by the president, claiming sources have informed no such political interference took place.
The demand by Trump, who has the legal authority to do so, will probably result in a face-off with Justice Department officials who have previously refused to give up documents requested by GOP leaders related to the Russian investigation into the meddling of 2016 presidential elections.
The Republican congressmen wrote Trump to intervene in order for the Justice Department to produce the documents to the Congress, “related to potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; documents related to the FBI and broader Department of Justice’s initial investigation into the Trump campaign prior to the appointment of the Special Counsel.”
In a statement to CNN, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."
The tweet came after multiple news outlets reported an FBI informant spoke with some aides to the Trump campaign for 2016 elections in order to investigate its alleged ties to Russia.
According to the report published by The New York Times, the informant, whose identity has been kept under wraps for security purposes, only talked to Trump’s campaign advisers after “they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.”
However, the president and other conservative media outlets have asserted the possibility of political motivation behind the dispatching of the FBI informant. This remains an unsubstantiated claim.
Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true - all time biggest political scandal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
In fact, Trump’s attorney and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani conceded in a statement to CNN, he had no idea if an informant was ever planted into the Trump campaign.
“I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one,” Giuliani said. “For a long time, we’ve been told there was some kind of infiltration.”
However, in a recent CNN report Giuliani has said he and the president agreed over demanding a DOJ investigation into the confidential source.
“I mean, he's got to clean house in his agency," Giuliani said. "If there was an informant, we're entitled to know it. We're entitled to know the fact. We're entitled to know what he knows. I think we should know the identity under seal on the confidentiality rules. But, the identity is not nearly as important right now as what did it reveal, because we're convinced it just revealed exculpatory information -- namely, no evidence of a connection with Russia.”
He also said Trump’s potential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller depended on the revelation of the informant.
"It really would also help the possibility of an interview because I can't imagine we'd allow an interview under the circumstances that there was some kind of informant that planted in our campaign that we didn't know about,” he said.
As Trump and other GOP lawmakers press the Department of Justice to reveal the identity of the confidential source, others have criticized the move as potentially putting lives at risk.
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), has said it is against the law to ask to reveal “classified information” about the informant's identity.
He said it is “not traditional” for the Department of Justice to give details of informants’ identities because “that is not how they operate.”
Democrat Adam Schiff also called out the president for not paying heed to Justice Department’s warnings that “lives were at risk.”
Trump’s claim of an embedded “spy” is nonsense. His “demand” DOJ investigate something they know to be untrue is an abuse of power, and an effort to distract from his growing legal problems. Never mind that DOJ has warned that lives and alliances are at risk. He doesn’t care. https://t.co/c1itPmiHnv— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 20, 2018
Benjamin Wittes, who was shown former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on Trump, said the call by the president was “nakedly corrupt.”
This is a nakedly corrupt attempt on the part of the President to derail an investigation of himself at the expense of a human source to whose protection the FBI and DOJ are committed.— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 20, 2018
See @qjurecic and my piece on this from yesterday. /5/ https://t.co/TsMMdPGp9g
He even went on to predict that if the request be formally be made by Trump, “Neither the attorney general (who is recused anyway) nor the deputy attorney general nor the FBI director can in good conscience comply with such an order.”
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque