The Department of Justice has decided to expand its probe into Trump-Russia electoral collusion. And in this case, the development is agreeable to the Commander-in-Chief.
On Friday, President Trump inferred the FBI may have recruited or placed an informant in his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump referenced unidentified reports suggesting at least one representative was “implanted.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the agreement to broaden the Russia investigation occurred during a meeting between Trump, FBI Director Christopher War, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In a statement, Sanders conveyed:
“Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump Campaign. It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”
Some speculated the meeting resulted from the President’s post to Twitter Sunday:
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
However, as reported by NBC, the meeting had been planned before the tweet:
Just In: @PressSec tells me POTUS to meet at 3pm w/Rosenstein, Coates and Wray. Mtg was scheduled before POTUS called on the DOJ to investigate reports of an "informant" who contacted his campaign in 2016 but will be a likely topic.
— Kristen Welker (@kwelkernbc) May 21, 2018
Furthermore, The New York Times claims the FBI used an informant — a professor, in fact — not a spy:
“In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia.”
In a press release, Rosenstein said any improper surveillance on the part of the FBI will result in “appropriate action”:
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action," Deputy AG Rosenstein says
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 20, 2018
The investigation continues, branching into what seems to be a neverending, monstrous takeover of the President’s first term and, perpetually, the news cycle. And yet, there has been no discovery pointing to collusion. With Trump still in office, will this chapter ever come to a close?
Multitasker: check out what else The Donald’s been up to while in the eye of a ceaseless investigative storm. He can compartmentalize with the best of ’em; case in point: his throw-down with Kim Jong-un.
And here’s an idea: follow Alex Parker on Twitter.