US President Donald Trump pressed the Justice Department on Monday to investigate whether his agents or the FBI politically monitored his election campaign in 2016, and got those agencies to commit to sharing information about him. issue with Congress.
Trump received at the White House the “number two” of the Department of Justice and in charge of overseeing the investigation on Russia, Rod Rosenstein, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI, in English), Dan Coats.
The meeting led the Justice Department to ask the inspector general of that agency to “expand its current investigation to include any irregularities in the tactics of the FBI or the Department of Justice in relation to the Trump campaign,” said the House spokeswoman. Blanca, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff (John) Kelly will immediately schedule a meeting with the FBI, the Department of Justice, the DNI and Congress leaders to review the Top Secret and other information that the congressmen) have requested, “Sanders added in a statement.
According to several media, the FBI had an informant in charge of contacting Trump’s election campaign in 2016, a US professor who teaches in Britain.
But, according to these reports, the FBI source did not infiltrate the Trump campaign, but only maintained superficial contacts with three advisers to the Republican candidate, with the aim of shedding light on the incipient federal investigation into possible ties with the Republican candidate. Russia in the environment of the tycoon.
An ally of Trump, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Republican congressman Devin Nunes, has been demanding documents for that informant for weeks.
But the Justice Department had so far refused to provide them on the grounds that it could harm the operations of the FBI, a position that, apparently, they have been forced to change due to pressure from the president.
Trump insinuated on Saturday that Congress should obtain those documents, and on Sunday demanded in a tweet that the Justice Department examine whether his agents or the FBI “infiltrated or monitored” their electoral campaign in 2016 “for political reasons”, and if they did it by order of the government of ex-president Barack Obama.
Those demands put the Justice Department and the FBI in a complicated position, which historically have operated independently of the political influence of the White House and have not allowed the presidents to get into their investigations.
Still, Rosenstein announced Sunday that he had asked the inspector general of the Justice Department to review the issue.
“If someone infiltrated or monitored the participants in an election campaign for inadequate reasons, we have to know and take appropriate action,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
Trump seems to have seen in the existence of an FBI informant a possible basis for discrediting the investigation into Russia by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, which has already lasted a year.
A Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said on Thursday he would study whether the alleged infiltration of the FBI into the campaign allows Mueller to “challenge the legitimacy of the investigation.”