Trump Embraces Controversial FBI Spy Theory

Allegations of informant inside campaign being used to discredit Mueller investigation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2018 1:06 PM CDT
President Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – It's something Trump has said would be "bigger than Watergate" and the "all time biggest political scandal" ever if it pans out to be true. What he's referring to: a report in the New York Times this week that the FBI planted an informant to spy on his campaign during the 2016 election. Politico notes the president and his allies are now using this report to sow doubt about the validity of Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the election, as well as possible ties between Russia and Trump associates. "This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit," Trump quote-tweeted Fox Business Network anchor David Asman Friday morning. "Really bad stuff!" he added as his own take. More from around the internet:

  • The original Times story notes that current and former FBI officials have said "at least one government informant" met up multiple times with Trump associates Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, which has led some in Trump's camp to cry attempted entrapment. Still, sources in the DOJ and FBI say agents weren't nearly as aggressive as they could have been. The article also notes the Russia investigation's initial code name: Crossfire Hurricane, taken from the lyrics of the Rolling Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
  • Earlier this month, the Washington Post noted a "rare moment of alignment" between Trump and the Justice Department he's been battling with: an agreement not to turn over sensitive DOJ info to House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes for fear of outing a "top-secret intelligence source" and putting lives at risk. Now that it's been revealed that source spilled info to Robert Mueller, some administration officials fear Trump may soon reverse course and give Nunes what he wants.

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