President Trump lashed on at the “crooked” FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) on Saturday, asking why they didn’t inform him “of the phony Russia problem” during his campaign, despite multiple reports showing the FBI did, in fact, warn the Trump campaign that Russia was trying to meddle in the election.
“With Spies, or ‘Informants’ as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or ‘Justice’ contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?” Trump tweeted.
With Spies, or “Informants” as the Democrats like to call them because it sounds less sinister (but it’s not), all over my campaign, even from a very early date, why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or “Justice” contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
It was reported by NBC News in late 2017 that the FBI did, in fact, warn the Trump campaign that “that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign” in the weeks after he became the Republican nominee.
The warning to his campaign came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials and was nearly identical to a briefing that was given to Hillary Clinton. Multiple government officials familiar with the matter told NBC News that the briefings, which are commonly provided to presidential nominees, “were designed to educate the candidates and their top aides about potential threats from foreign spies.”
Earlier this month, The Washington Post and New York Times first reported that an FBI informant met with at least three Trump campaign advisers in 2016 who it suspected of having ties to Russia, and took place in the early days of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the presidential election.
Trump and his allies have suggested in recent days, without any evidence, that the bureau’s informant was used to “spy” on his campaign for political reasons.
Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper fired back on Trump’s false allegations, saying that the informant was deployed as the intelligence community sought to determine whether Russia was taking active measures to influence the election.
Trump’s early morning tweetstorm came hours after Yahoo News’s Chief Investigative Correspondent, Michael Isikoff, reported that the FBI had obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, the Putin ally who met Don Jr. at the NRA convention.
Yahoo News reports:
The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016, a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.
José Grinda, who has spearheaded investigations into Spanish organized crime, said that bureau officials in recent months requested and were provided transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer. On the wiretaps, Romanov refers to Torshin as “El Padrino,” the godfather.
“Just a few months ago, the wiretaps of these telephone conversations were given to the FBI,” Grinda said in response to a question from Yahoo News during a talk he gave at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. Asked if he was concerned about Torshin’s meetings with Donald Trump Jr. and other American political figures, Grinda replied: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”