Trump demanding investigation into whether FBI infiltrated campaign

Stefan Halper – Latest character in Russiagate drama spied for the CIA in the 80s

Stefan Halper – Latest character in Russiagate drama spied for the CIA in the 80s

President Donald Trump has asked the US Department of Justice to investigate whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation spied on his 2016 election campaign for "inappropriate purposes" on the orders of people in the Obama administration.

In an analysis of Trump's Sunday tweets and Rosenstein's subsequent announcement at DOJ, CNN's Stephen Collinson on Monday morning argued that while the president's demand does not appear to be illegal in itself, "some critics believe that Trump's repeated pattern of leaning on the Justice Department and the FBI over the Russian Federation investigation could come close to showing intent that could amount to obstruction of justice".

After Trump's tweets on Sunday, the Justice Department formally asked the inspector general to expand its review to include tactics used against Trump campaign aides and advisers.

Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has asked the DOJ to turn over documents disclosing why the FBI launched an investigation into the Trump campaign.

Nunes, who has repeatedly been blamed by Democrats for being the leaker, was referring to reports by the New York Times and the Washington Post, describing the informant as someone who supposedly had contacts with members of President Trump's campaign.

The Washington Post called him "a longtime United States intelligence source" and said he met with a third campaign adviser - am Clovis - as well as Page and Papadopoulos.

"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI", Comey told the panel.

Meanwhile, House Democrats stood by the Justice Department following the President's demand for an inquiry into the department's actions regarding the Trump campaign. Trump tweeted yesterday afternoon.

Trump's intervention appeared to go beyond his already intense anger about the Mueller probe, his hypersensitivity to suggestions his election win was not legitimate, and the efforts to tarnish Mueller.

"It bothers me that they may be an informant in one of the campaigns unless there is a damn good reason", Graham said.

How has the White House responded?

Benjamin Wittes, a senior governance fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor-in-chief of Lawfare, posted a tweet that called Trump's move "a nakedly corrupt attempt" to derail the investigation and predicted that forcing a probe would prompt both Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign.

Trump's directive to open a politically motivated probe "could genuinely produce a crisis" for law enforcement, writes Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution.

Trump's power play injected fresh intensity into his escalating political offensive against the Justice Department and renewed worries he is barging across long-held boundaries between the judicial system and the Oval Office. "What I think the President is finally doing, thank goodness, is saying 'enough of this nonsense'".

Other Democrats have scoffed at the claims of a "spy" within the Trump campaign.

The inspector general is being asked to determine "whether there was any impropriety or political motivation" on the part of USA agents who conducted counter-intelligence operations of "persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election". Giuliani said Sunday the two sides "were getting closer" to agreeing on the parameters on a potential interview but would not put the odds of it happening at better than 50/50.