President Donald Trump said on Twitter Sunday afternoon that he will instruct the Justice Department to look into whether the FBI planted an informant in his presidential campaign.
“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!” Trump wrote.
The tweet follows a barrage of similar tweets earlier Sunday in which he attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, Hillary Clinton, and The New York Times.
Following Trump’s tweet, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores issued a statement to Axios that stopped short of backing Trump’s demand.
“The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” she told Axios.
“As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also issued a statement, saying, “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”
After the president tweeted that accusation on Friday, his new attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN: “I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one.”
Neither Trump nor Giuliani provided any evidence of government infiltration into Trump’s presidential campaign.
The New York Times reported on Friday that the FBI used the informant to investigate Russian ties to the campaign.
The bureau reportedly sent an informant to speak with Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page because of their suspicious connections to Russia.
This is not the first time that Trump has accused the Department of Justice and FBI of seeking to undermine his campaign for political purposes. In March 2017, Trump tweeted that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones the month before the election.
Trump did not offer any evidence to back up his claim, and was widely derided for making the baseless accusation. The Justice Department said it had “no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets.”