President Donald Trump on Saturday appeared to respond to new reports that an FBI informant had reached out to multiple campaign aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” the president wrote on Twitter.
On Friday night, the New York Times reported that an unnamed FBI informant talked to two campaign advisers who allegedly had suspicious contacts with individuals linked to Russia. The Times did not name the informant, but described the person as an “American academic who teaches in Britain” and who made contact with Trump foreign policy advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.
The alleged informant’s name has been published by conservative media outlets and circulated widely on Twitter.
Earlier Friday, apparently responding to previous conservative media reports, Trump had tweeted: “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”
Trump’s Saturday response shifted from alleging an FBI source was “implanted” into the campaign to suggesting the campaign was “infiltrated.” He maintained any such FBI action was politically motivated. There’s no indication that was the case.
Papadopoulos’ April 2016 conversation with an Australian diplomat indicating the Russians had so-called dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton reportedly started the FBI investigation that has led to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Russian government during a Kremlin campaign to meddle in the 2016 election.
Trump added that the truth about the alleged FBI informant could only come out with “the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for.”
Congressional Republicans have engaged in an intense fight with the Justice Department over access to highly sensitive and classified information about the investigation into the Trump campaign, and the identity of the FBI’s informant, and have routinely expressed frustration with DOJ’s refusals to grant access to the documents.
House Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Friday that if the reports about an informant are true, “that is as wrong as it gets.”