Trump repeats unproven claim about FBI spy

President Trump gave an exclusive interview to Fox News, repeating unproven claims that the FBI spied on his campaign.

Posted: May 28, 2018 12:06 PM
Updated: May 28, 2018 12:06 PM

Over the last 72 hours, the President of the United States has leaned into a conspiracy theory that goes like this: During the 2016 presidential race, President Barack Obama -- via the FBI -- placed a "spy" within Trump's campaign for purely political reasons.

Trump made that charge plain in a tweet Friday morning:

"Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!"

There's a tendency to write this latest Trump claim off as Trump being Trump. He has proven time and again that he is willing to stray from established facts in pursuit of a narrative that is more favorable to him -- from the size of his inauguration crowds to the idea that Obama ordered a wiretap on him during the last presidential campaign.

But the fact that this is what Trump does shouldn't distract us from the allegations here: Donald Trump is saying his predecessor as president used the leading law enforcement entity in the country to spy on him because Obama/the "deep state" didn't want someone as unconventional as Trump to be president.

To be clear: There is zero public evidence that Trump's claims are anywhere close to the truth.

What we know is that the FBI used a confidential human source to talk to several Trump campaign advisers, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, during the campaign. The bureau did so because it had concerns about conversations those two men had with Russians. The confidential source was deployed to suss out what the Russians had told Page and Papadopoulos so as to gain insight into Russian meddling efforts. The source was never "placed" or "embedded" in Trump's campaign.

That's what we know, according to knowledgeable sources who have spoken to CNN among other media outlets. On Thursday, the Department of Justice held two briefings for a select group of congressional lawmakers to go over classified information about the confidential source and how he was used. After those meetings, none of the Republicans who attended had much of anything to say; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said only that nothing he learned surprised him.

Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff, who attended both briefings, was blunt about the meetings.

"Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign," Schiff told reporters Thursday afternoon.

What appears to be happening here is that Trump has seized on an unfounded rumor circulating among conservative media types and the likes of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, about the allegedly nefarious motives of the confidential source used by the FBI. He has not only maintained his belief in that conspiracy but amplified it over the last few days even as all available evidence continues to suggest that there is simply no "there" there.

The "why" behind all of this is simple: Trump and his allies in the conservative media are in the midst of an extended campaign to discredit the FBI and the broader Justice Department. The reason for that is simple: Trump is concerned about the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and the possibility of collusion between members of his campaign and the Russians.

The more doubt Trump can cast about the DOJ's motives, the easier it will be to dismiss or downplay the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller. This is all the deep state working against us, Trump will argue. They spied on my campaign! They tapped my phones! We can't trust anything they say!

That Trump's strategy is totally transparent doesn't make it any less of a threat to norms of what we do -- and should -- expect from a president. Ignoring established facts because they don't comport with the version you want to be true is dangerous enough. Doing so when it undermines basic confidence in our governing and law enforcement institutions is something else. And, the President of the United States doing so -- repeatedly -- is something that would have been hard to imagine prior to Trump's arrival on the political scene.

What Trump is doing is destructive to the very country he had pledged to make great again. There's just no other way to see it.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 836049

Reported Deaths: 10323
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin98533705
Cuyahoga831801065
Hamilton61931441
Montgomery42028399
Summit33849736
Lucas30524605
Butler30003228
Stark25093419
Warren19083140
Lorain18418212
Mahoning16931337
Lake15592136
Clermont15335105
Delaware1403077
Licking12819132
Trumbull12515307
Fairfield1232480
Greene11729135
Medina11286165
Clark10672264
Wood10081156
Allen9639126
Portage9006107
Miami895273
Richland8910116
Marion7377113
Tuscarawas7177174
Columbiana7164124
Pickaway710350
Wayne6855165
Muskingum678241
Erie5976118
Hancock542990
Ross535287
Scioto527063
Geauga491755
Darke459489
Ashtabula443172
Lawrence439353
Union437028
Sandusky427462
Mercer427387
Seneca417357
Auglaize416259
Huron416138
Shelby413521
Jefferson409066
Belmont403740
Washington375940
Putnam367872
Athens36759
Madison343429
Knox340122
Ashland336838
Fulton328543
Defiance322578
Crawford316371
Preble313836
Brown298819
Logan296529
Ottawa283934
Clinton281243
Williams272866
Highland266018
Jackson259043
Guernsey245325
Champaign244427
Fayette229729
Morrow22574
Perry223318
Holmes220362
Henry213547
Hardin206433
Coshocton199620
Van Wert198744
Wyandot192549
Gallia192126
Adams167415
Pike167417
Hocking165523
Carroll151316
Paulding141121
Noble118740
Meigs105021
Monroe97229
Harrison8598
Morgan79728
Vinton67613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 13°
Angola
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 14°
Huntington
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 13°
Lima
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 18°
Light Snow Overnight, Colder Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events