Breaking News Emails
President Donald Trump on Wednesday ramped up his attacks on the FBI's reported use of an informant to investigate 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.
Later Wednesday, as he spoke to reporters before departing for a trip to New York, Trump reiterated the thrust of his Tweets and suggested that former FBI Director James Comey will look bad when the Justice Department's inspector general finishes looking into the conduct of law enforcement officials in probing the 2016 Trump campaign.
"I think James Comey’s got a lot of problems," Trump said. "If you look at what he did. If you look at the lies, the tremendous lies, if you look at all that’s going on. I think James Comey’s got a lot of problems. At some point they have an IG report, and then let’s see what James Comey has to say. And I assumed he’s covered by the IG report."
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 of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, over comments he made on ABC's "The View" on Tuesday about Russian efforts 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 "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 was fired by Trump 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 the words: "WITCH HUNT!"
According to an NBC News count, that is the 45th time Trump has tweeted the phrase since his inauguration.