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Following direction from President Trump, the Justice Department instructed its inspector general to investigate if agents in the FBI surveilled members of the Trump team during the campaign.
“The Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement, adding that the investigation will explore “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.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein added in a statement that the department must take “appropriate action” if “anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes.”
The department's announcement comes days after Trump tweeted that he would officially “demand” the DOJ to probe the possibility of improper surveillance of his campaign and his staffers for political motivations.
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
Over the past few days, Trump has tweeted about the alleged spy within his ranks and called for Congress to release documents given to the Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence committees.
If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal. Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2018
He's also said that, if true, the story would be “the all-time biggest political scandal” and “bigger than Watergate!”
According to the New York Times, the FBI acquired Trump campaign phone records, among other documents, using a secret type of subpoena. Officials familiar with the bureau told the Times that as a larger part of investigations into possible Russian collusion, at least one agency informant met with Trump advisors Carter Page and George Papadopoulos several times, leading allies of the president to question whether or not they were being entrapped.
Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to the president's outside counsel, has joined several major GOP members in calling for the “witch hunt” Mueller investigation to wrap. According to CNN, Giuliani believes that the Russia probe will end at the beginning of September. The former New York mayor also told CNN that Trump would be willing to sit down with the special counsel for an interview if he receives further information about the possible FBI informant.
“I can't imagine we'd allow an interview under the circumstances that there was some kind of informant that planted in our campaign that we didn't know about,” Giuliani said.