The FBI is now on the Justice Department’s hot seat as top officials have agreed to President Donald Trump’s demand for an investigation into alleged infiltration of his 2016 campaign for political purposes.
The Justice Department’s internal watchdog will investigate what the FBI did in terms of surveilling the Trump campaign, how it was done and by whom it was done, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Trump had demanded the investigation Sunday in a tweet.
“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.
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
Sunday night, the department responded.
“The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told Fox News.
“As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” she added.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued a statement as well.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” he said.
Last week, reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times said that a professor who is also an FBI informant met with three Trump advisers during the campaign. The Wall Street Journal identified the informant as Stefan Halper, an American who was at the University of Cambridge until 2015. The Post and The Times had refused to identify him, claiming possible danger to his life from being identified.
The extent of the informant’s contact with the Trump campaign was not immediately clear. Initial reports have said the informant contacted three members of Trump’s campaign, but it is not known if those were the only contacts.
Trump has put a sinister cast on the developments.
In one tweet Friday, while noting comments made on Fox Business Network by David Asman, he said: “Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit.”
“Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit.” David Asman @LouDobbs @GreggJarrett Really bad stuff!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
The IG is looking into Republican complaints of FBI misconduct connected with the investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, NBC reported.
Former New York City Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the Justice Department needs to find out what its various arms have been doing and share that information with Trump and the American people, CNN reported.
“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.”
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