US Justice Department turns the screws on FBI; wants to know if spy infiltrated Donald Trump campaign

Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department on Monday agreed to expand its investigation into alleged Russia collusion in the 2016 election to include "any irregularities" involving FBI tactics on Trump's presidential campaign, a White House spokeswoman said.

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

The agreement came during a meeting that Trump had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, the spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said.

On Friday, Trump suggested that the FBI may have planted or recruited an informant in his campaign, citing unidentified reports that at least one FBI representative was "implanted" there.

He asked the Justice Department to look into the claims in a Twitter post on Sunday. Hours later, a spokeswoman said the department asked its inspector general to expand a review of the process for requesting surveillance warrants to include determining whether there was impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its investigation.

The FBI was looking into Trump election campaign ties to Moscow before Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over the probe a year ago.

"If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action," Rosenstein said in a statement on Sunday evening.

Federal investigators are probing whether anyone in the Trump campaign worked with Russia to sway the election to the Republican candidate. Trump has denied any collusion and repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a "witch hunt."

Trump has shown increasing signs of impatience with the investigation led by Mueller as it enters its second year, saying it was politically motivated and had its roots in the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama.

His Republican allies in Congress, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, have pushed the same message.

In March, the Justice Department's inspector general launched a review into allegations by Republican lawmakers that the FBI made serious missteps when it sought a warrant to monitor a former adviser to Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his review will examine whether the FBI and Justice Department followed proper procedures when they applied for a warrant with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to secretly conduct surveillance on former adviser Carter Page and his ties to Russia.

Republican U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin said he and 16 other members of Congress will introduce a resolution on Tuesday alleging Justice Department and FBI misconduct involving surveillance in the Trump-Russia probe.

Neither Trump nor his new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, provided any evidence of government infiltration into Trump’s presidential campaign.

The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the FBI sent an informant to talk to two Trump campaign advisers, Page and George Papadopoulos, after the agency received evidence that the two men had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.


Updated Date: May 22, 2018 03:53 AM

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