President Donald Trump met Monday afternoon at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray a day after he tweeted that he would “demand” the Justice Department investigate whether his 2016 presidential campaign was improperly “infiltrated or surveilled” for political purposes.
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Beforehand, a senior administration official told ABC News the president’s demand for an investigation into the alleged use of an FBI informant to contact Trump campaign associates would “absolutely” come up at the regularly scheduled meeting.
In his Sunday tweet, the president said he would make the order official on Monday but offered no further details about what form he would expect such an inquiry to take.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Trump added that he’d ask whether “any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration.”
Later Sunday, Rosenstein 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.”
“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,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
“As always the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” Flores said.
The tweet is the latest escalation by the president in fueling an assertion that the Trump campaign may have been spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the DOJ. President Trump has sent out a series of tweets in recent days advancing the accusation first voiced by some conservative commentators that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign.
The Washington Post and New York Times have reported in recent days that the FBI sent an informant to talk to several Trump campaign aides during the 2016 election. The Times cited unnamed sources that these contacts were made only after the FBI had gathered information that the informant’s targets had made suspicious contacts with Russians during the campaign.
The reports do not assert that there was an informant embedded inside the campaign or that the informant ever acted improperly.
On Saturday, the president in a tweet also called for the congressional review or release of classified DOJ documents that have been sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., “regarding a specific individual,” according to a letter the Justice Department sent to Nunes rejecting his demand for the information earlier this month.
If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal. Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2018
In rejecting Nunes’ request, the Department of Justice warned that the disclosure of such information “can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives.”
ABC News’ Mike Levine and Matthew Mosk contributed to this report.