Politics

President Orders DOJ Probe of Its Spying on His 2016 Campaign

Chief executive unleashed a Twitter storm on Sunday targeting official bias and special counsel Robert Mueller's 'witch hunt'

President Donald Trump demanded on Sunday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) determine whether it or the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his 2016 presidential campaign for “political purposes.”

“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!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the FBI under former President Barack Obama’s administration had a spy watching the inner workings of Trump’s campaign.

Deep in the story, The Times reported that “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. [Carter] Page and [George] Papadopoulos,” two of Trump’s former campaign advisers.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, downplayed Trump’s accusations and the Times report Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“Well, again, I can’t comment on the identity of any individual or source, but I can say this: This is part of a string of meritless allegations from the very beginning that, ‘I was — I was wiretapped in Trump Tower. There’s a vast unmasking conspiracy. The investigation began with the Christopher Steele dossier,'” Schiff said, paraphrasing Trump.

“All of which was untrue,” Schiff claimed. “All of which, as you pointed out at the outset, is designed to create this alternate reality for Trump supporters to live in.”

But Trump also said on Sunday that “things are really getting ridiculous” as special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian “witch hunt” for collusion morphs into “looking at the rest of the world” while 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s scandals were and are ignored.

Trump appeared to be reacting to a Saturday report from the “Failing and Crooked” New York Times, alleging that his son, Donald Trump Jr., sought aide for the president’s 2016 campaign from officials of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia during a meeting in Trump Tower.

While panning the new report, Trump also slammed Mueller’s team as being filled with Democratic donors who are veering their probe into multiple directions unrelated to the original collusion allegations.

“Things are really getting ridiculous,” Trump began on Twitter. “The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!”

“Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!” Trump added. “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia — so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh, great!”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that “if the Times story is true, we now have at least a second and maybe a third nation that was trying to lean into this campaign.”

“I don’t understand what the president doesn’t get about the law that says if you have a foreign nation interfere in an American election, that’s illegal,” Warner said.

But host Jake Tapper pressed Warner about the existence of any evidence showing that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election “with the assistance or participation of any American, especially and including people who are in the Trump campaign’s orbit.”

When Warner skirted the issue, Tapper asked, “But have you seen any evidence of that?”

Warner cited the “pattern” of Trump campaign officials’ being “receptive to these kinds of offers” that promised dirt on Clinton from Russia and other nations.

“Still, as far as the public knows,” Tapper noted, “[there’s] no evidence of anybody in the Trump team accepting the offers of help, no evidence of actual conspiracy that we know of yet, that we in the public know of yet. And you’re not willing to comment on whether or not you’ve seen evidence of that conspiracy.”

The president further highlighted what he sees as the FBI’s hypocrisy in its treatment of himself and Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, noting that Clinton was exonerated after the bureau concluded its investigation into her use of a private email server to conduct official business as secretary of state.

The president further highlighted what he sees as the FBI’s hypocrisy in its treatment of himself and Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP!” Trump tweeted.

“They have found no Collussion [sic] with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption … in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe’s wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with [former Virginia Gov.] Terry [McAuliffe] and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.”

Trump also wondered “what ever happened” to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) server, which was “at the center of so much Corruption” and which the DNC “REFUSED to hand over” to the FBI.” He also targeted former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s brother, Tony Podesta, who reportedly is under investigation for his ties to a Ukrainian group.

Related: FBI’s Trump Snitch ‘Absolutely Shocking,’ a ‘Huge Scandal’

“And why hasn’t the Podesta brother been charged and arrested, like others, after being forced to close down his very large and successful firm? Is it because he is a VERY well connected Democrat working in the Swamp of Washington, D.C.?” Trump asked.

Veteran political operative Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally who has come under scrutiny during Mueller’s probe, claimed Sunday on “Meet the Press” that he could “guarantee” that Mueller’s team has “found no evidence whatsoever of Russian collusion.”

“It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election,” Stone said. “But I think it just demonstrates, again, this was supposed to be about Russian collusion, and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore).

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