Trump uses NY Times to falsely claim 'effort to spy on Trump campaign' was 'bigger than Watergate'

Trump uses NY Times to falsely claim 'effort to spy on Trump campaign' was 'bigger than Watergate'
Putin/Shutterstock
Putin/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump for more than two years has been falsely claiming President Barack Obama had the "wires tapped" at his Trump Tower campaign headquarters.


Later, he falsely claimed, "the Trump Campaign for President was illegally being spied upon."

It's been a regular staple of Trump's attacks, and he's accused President Obama or the Obama administration of spying on his campaign dozens of times.

But under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Dept. of Justice investigated and found zero evidence Trump's campaign was wire tapped by the Obama administration.

The lie would not die, and recently Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress he believes the federal government spied on the Trump campaign.

The word "spy" is fraudulent at best.

As many who closely follow the news know, Robert Mueller was hired as Special Counsel after top DOJ officials were terrified that Trump might be a Russian agent or unwittingly a Russian asset.

That's not "spying," that's a counterintelligence investigation, with search warrants approved by judges – all by the book.

(As recently as February former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said "it's possible" President Donald Trump is a Russian asset. "I think it's possible. I think that's why we started our investigation.")

Trump on Friday reignited his false claims, this time by apparently citing a New York Times story from Thursday: "F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016."

The phrase “Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign” appear nowhere in the Times story.

And in fact, The Times reported in May of last year, "F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims."

Highlighting the Times story is not helpful for President Trump.

"The decision to use [an investigator] in the operation aimed at a presidential campaign official shows the level of alarm inside the F.B.I. during a frantic period when the bureau was trying to determine the scope of Russia’s attempts to disrupt the 2016 election," the Times reports. It also acknowledges it now "could also give ammunition to Mr. Trump and his allies for their spying claims."

The Times adds that "F.B.I. officials have called the bureau’s activities in the months before the election both legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances."

Bottom line: The Trump campaign was not "spied" on, but a legal counterintelligence investigation was conducted.

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