President Trump on Wednesday continued to spread the conspiratorial — and completely unproven — claim that a “spy” was “placed” in his presidential campaign by the Obama administration and its Department of Justice.
“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State,” the president tweeted early Wednesday. “They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!”
The “deep state” is a term some Trump supporters use to describe career government employees supposedly conspiring against the president.
“SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!” Trump further declared Wednesday.
The president has been fuming about reports that an FBI informant met with members of the Trump campaign, and has been demanding that the Justice Department look into the matter. On Monday, Trump met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who agreed to allow Republican lawmakers review classified information related to the case.
Rosenstein is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia and the president’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“Facts matter,” Comey tweeted on Wednesday. “The FBI’s use of Confidential Human Sources (the actual term) is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country. Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country. How will Republicans explain this to their grandchildren?”
According to the New York Times, the FBI dispatched the informant to talk to two Trump campaign advisers — George Papadopoulos and Carter Page — after it “received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.”
During a Sunday morning tweetstorm, Trump called for a federal probe “into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.”
Trump’s unprecedented public demands to the Justice Department have alarmed some observers, who say the actions could result in a constitutional crisis.
“It’s an incredible historical moment,” New York Law School professor Rebecca Roiphe told the newspaper.
Testifying on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about Trump’s assertion about the “Criminal Deep State.”
“I don’t believe there is a deep state at the State Department,” Pompeo said.
On Wednesday morning, Trump quoted Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said, “It’s clear that they had eyes and ears all over the Trump Campaign.”
The president also misquoted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, saying that he said: “Trump should be happy that FBI was SPYING on his campaign.”
“Trump should be happy that the FBI was SPYING on his campaign” No, James Clapper, I am not happy. Spying on a campaign would be illegal, and a scandal to boot!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
On ABC’s “The View” Tuesday, Clapper was asked by co-host Joy Behar whether the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign.
“No, they were not,” Clapper replied. “They were spying on — a term I don’t particularly like — but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence — which is what they do.”
“Well, why doesn’t he like that? He should be happy,” Behar said.
“He should be,” Clapper said.
Trump also continued the “spy” debate on Twitter late Tuesday night.
“If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered – many times higher than normal,” the president tweeted. “Follow the money!”
Trump did not provide evidence of payments to an informant.
Trump punctuated his Wednesday morning “spy” missives with a familiar refrain.
“WITCH HUNT!” the president tweeted.
On his way to an event on the Justice Department’s crackdown on MS-13 gang members, Trump was asked by reporters on the South Lawn about his “spy” claims.
“When people look at the documents, I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happened,” the president said. “I hope it’s not so. Because if it is there’s never been anything like it in the history of our country.”
Trump repeated his false assertion that Clapper “admitted they had spies in the campaign.”
“I hope it’s not true but it looks like it is,” he said.
Trump also dismissed the idea that his talk of a spy is undermining the work of his own Justice Department.
“We’re not undercutting; we’re cleaning everything up,” he said. “It’s so important. What I’m doing is a service to this country. And I did a great service to this country by firing James Comey.”
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