DOJ Says Inspector General Will Investigate Trump Campaign Surveillance Claims

Jeannie Matthews
May 23, 2018

"They said September, which is good for everyone, because no one wants this to drag into the midterms".

During a meeting with Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray also reiterated an announcement late Sunday that the Justice Department's inspector general will expand an existing investigation into the Russian Federation probe by examining whether there was any improper politically motivated surveillance.

The revelation follows days of speculation as to the identity of the FBI's informant after the organisation admitted last week to sending an agent to gather information on the campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

Hours after Trump's tweet, a DOJ spokeswoman said the department has asked its inspector general to expand a probe launched in March. The officials say that the identity of the source had been closely held at the highest levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIA for years, the report said.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said he wanted to know whether his predecessor's administration ordered such a move.

The White House has not yet publicly responded to Rosenstein's response.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called Trump's claim of an embedded spy "nonsense".

Senator Mark Warner, who is the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "Publicly outing a source risks not only their life, but the lives of every American, because when sources are burned it makes it that much harder for every part of the intelligence community to gather intelligence on those who wish to do us harm". Schiff and other committee Democrats were furious and argued that Republicans had not subpoenaed many witnessed they considered essential to the committee's work.

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He noted that Trump was "openly mocked" when he alleged that the Obama administration placed his campaign under surveillance. "This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit". Giuliani acknowledged in a CNN interview on Friday that neither he nor the president really knew if such action took place.

The New York Times said on Saturday the meetings were an indication that other countries besides Russian Federation may have offered help to Trump's presidential campaign.

Trump's demand potentially sets up a high-stakes showdown with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, who have resisted requests from Republican lawmakers to hand over some documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

Opponents of Nunes' request have stressed the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.

Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon to double down on his intentions to investigate reports that Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, 73, was an alleged secret informant who met with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos dating back to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

"It bothers me that they may be an informant in one of the campaigns unless there is a damn good reason", Graham said.

Papadopoulos was charged a year ago in Mueller's investigation and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

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