Trump Continues to Push Claim FBI Informant Was a Campaign `Spy'
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump repeated his unsubstantiated claim that an FBI informant who contacted advisers to his 2016 campaign was a political “spy,” a day after Justice Department officials briefed lawmakers on classified materials about the probe into Russian meddling in the election.
“The Democrats are now alluding to the the concept that having an Informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be,’’ Trump said in a series of tweets Friday. “But what about an ‘Informant’ who is paid a fortune and who ‘sets up’ way earlier than the Russian Hoax?”
The Justice Department held two meetings Thursday with lawmakers at Trump’s demand after revelations that the FBI had a confidential informant who had long helped the bureau make contact with three advisers to his campaign. While Trump has continued to tweet denunciations of what he’s calling “SPYGATE,” there’s no evidence the informant worked inside his campaign.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said after the meetings that Republicans are now “getting the cooperation necessary” to resolve their demands for the classified information.
Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters there’s “no evidence to support any allegation the FBI or any intelligence agency planted a spy in the Trump campaign.”
Democrats say the spy accusation is part of a campaign by Trump and Republican allies to undercut the investigation, now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, into Russian interference and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it.
The meetings with lawmakers were arranged after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed the Justice Department and FBI for secret information about the informant.
Democrats criticized the presence of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and the president’s new lawyer, Emmet Flood, at the beginning of the meetings. They didn’t stay for the portion of the meeting that included the classified information.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NPR after the meeting that he still supports the Mueller investigation and another one by the Justice Department’s inspector general into FBI actions during the election.
“The two investigations going on that I think will give us the answers to the questions that you raise,” he said.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.