President Donald Trump on Wednesday ramped up his attacks on the FBI’s reported use of an informant during an investigation into his campaign, dubbing the situation “SPYGATE” and slamming it as “one of the biggest political scandals in history.”
In a series of early morning tweets, Trump also said special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into “phony collusion with Russia” had only resulted in the FBI “getting caught in a major SPY scandal.”
“What goes around, comes around!” he wrote.
Trump has been tweeting allegations for several days that the Department of Justice put a “spy” inside his presidential campaign.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that at least one government informant met several times with Carter Page, who spent a few months advising Trump’s presidential campaign, and George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser. It was revealed last October that Papadopoulos had struck a cooperation agreement with Mueller, pleading guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians.
Trump also went after James Clapper, the director national intelligence under former President Barack Obama, over comments he made on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday about Russian efforts to try to infiltrate the Trump campaign. Clapper said that the FBI was not spying on Trump’s campaign, but rather, attempting to determine if Russians were infiltrating, “trying to gain access.”
“‘Trump should be happy that the FBI was SPYING on his campaign’ No, James Clapper, I am not happy. Spying on a campaign would be illegal, and a scandal to boot!” Trump tweeted.
Former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last May, seemed to respond to Trump’s claims, defending the use of informants as “essential to protecting the country.”
“Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country,” he tweeted.
Following demands by Trump for the Justice Department to investigate whether his campaign had been “infiltrated or surveilled” by the FBI for “political purposes,” the agency on Monday directed its inspector general to probe whether “there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”
Trump punctuated his Wednesday Twitter rant with two words: “WITCH HUNT!”
According to an NBC News count, that makes the 45th time Trump has tweeted the phrase since his inauguration.