Trump 'demands' probe of alleged spying on his campaign

2018-05-21 11:14
US President Donald Trump. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)

US President Donald Trump. (Nicholas Kamm, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

US President Donald Trump demanded on Sunday that the Justice Department investigate whether his presidential campaign was "infiltrated" or spied on for political purposes, prompting it to announce it would look into those issues.

Trump has described the infiltration allegations as being potentially "bigger than Watergate", but Democrats say he is attempting to undermine the year-old investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with his campaign, headed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

"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.

Trump's angry order came amid building pressure from the year-old Russia meddling investigation, and as US media reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigations sent a Britain-based American professor to speak separately with Trump campaign advisers in 2016.

A New York Times report described the professor as "an informant", saying the federal agency was looking into evidence that Carter Page and George Papadopoulos had suspicious contacts with Russia.

The Washington Post called him "a longtime US intelligence source", and said he met with a third campaign adviser – Sam Clovis – as well as Page and Papadopoulos.

Trump and his supporters have cast the man as a mole possibly sent by the Obama administration to burrow into his campaign.

The Justice Department tasked its internal watchdog with looking into the issues raised by Trump.

But it paired that inquiry with an existing "review" of the application process for FISA national security warrants, which Republicans allege was abused in connection with the surveillance of Page.

Expanding an 'ongoing review'

"The department has asked the inspector general to expand the ongoing review of the FISA 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," spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, 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."

While Trump allies in Congress have demanded more information about the informant, law enforcement officials have refused, saying the source – not yet officially identified – could be in danger if named.

Efforts to identify the FBI informant – and Trump's claims – have drawn fire from Democratic lawmakers.

"It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election," said Senator Mark Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat.

"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," tweeted Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Joaquin Castro, another House Democrat, responded to Trump's demand for Justice Department action by tweeting: "@realDonaldTrump - Let Mueller do his job. Stay out of it. You need to be subpoenaed for obstruction of justice/conspiracy/money laundering."

"Obstruction in broad daylight," Democratic lawmaker Eric Swalwell wrote.

Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, a former Justice Department prosecutor and assistant attorney general, told CNN on Friday that it was unclear whether an FBI informant had been embedded in the campaign, while adding that the agency "should tell us if there was".

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    donald trump  |  us  |  us 2016 election

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.