Tuesday 19 March 2019

White House seizes on claim of FBI spy inside campaign

Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading the probe into the Trump presidential campaign. Photo: Getty
Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading the probe into the Trump presidential campaign. Photo: Getty

Philip Rucker in Washington

US President Donald Trump marked the first anniversary of the special counsel's Russia investigation by repeating accusations the FBI had a confidential informant inside his 2016 campaign.

He tweeted: "Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI 'SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.' Andrew McCarthy says, 'There's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.' If so, this is bigger than Watergate!"

Mr Trump appeared to be reacting to recent news reports there may have been a top-secret source inside the Trump campaign providing intelligence to the FBI as it began its investigation into Russia's interference in the election process.

But claims by Trump allies there was an informant embedded inside the campaign have not been substantiated.

Mr McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, appeared on 'Fox and Friends', the Fox News Channel morning show Mr Trump regularly watches, shortly before the president's tweet speculating about FBI informants inside Trump's campaign.

Mr Trump - as well as his attorney Rudy Guiliani and White House officials - have seized on the matter to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

In a second tweet, Mr Trump said: "Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History... and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction.

"The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!"

Mr Trump's lawyers have been in negotiations with Mr Mueller's team for months about whether the president would sit for an interview.

Mr Giuliani said on Wednesday that the special counsel's team had informed the president's attorneys recently that prosecutors do not believe they can charge a sitting president with a crime under Justice Department guidelines, signalling they would leave it to Congress to address any possible findings of wrongdoing by Mr Trump.

Yesterday, Mr Giuliani called for an end to the investigation.

On the allegations of an FBI informant, Mr Giuliani said he was "shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign of a major-party candidate, maybe two spies".

He added: "Maybe a special counsel, special prosecutor, never should have been appointed." (© Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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