Trump Responds to FBI Spying Bombshell: 'Bigger Than WATERGATE'
President reacts to NYT revelations undercover agents spied on his campaign
President Donald Trump responded to the bombshell revelations that the FBI sent an undercover investigator to spy on a member of his 2016 campaign team, calling the news "bigger than Watergate."
President Trump praised The New York Times for its reporting, while his reelection campaign lit into investigators.
Vice President Mike Pence also spoke out, describing the bureau's actions “very troubling.”
“Finally, Mainstream Media is getting involved - too 'hot' to avoid,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Pulitzer Prize anyone? The New York Times, on front page (finally), ‘Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign.’ @foxandfriends This is bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!”
Finally, Mainstream Media is getting involved - too “hot” to avoid. Pulitzer Prize anyone? The New York Times, on front page (finally), “Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign.” @foxandfriends This is bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019
The Thursday Times report at the heart of the news reveals that a woman, sent by the FBI, identified herself as an assistant to a Cambridge researcher to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, whom she met with in London in 2016.
The woman was allegedly sent to spy on Papadopoulos as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign following allegations of ties to Russia.
On Friday, VP Pence demanded a probe of the FBI in light of the revelations.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of how all this started,” Pence said in an interview on Fox News.
“The American people have a right to know how this investigation even began.”
Pence was responding to a question about the New York Times report that the FBI sent an undercover agent to meet with Papadopoulos and spy on the Trump's team.
The investigator who met with Papadopoulos at a London bar two months before the election, the Times reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the operation.
The effort reportedly “yielded no fruitful information,” but the revelation may provide further ammunition for President Trump, who has blasted the Obama administration for “spying” on his campaign.
According to the New York Post, Attorney General William Barr echoed that characterization in testimony during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, saying he would look into the “genesis” of the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election that was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The 22-month investigation led to charges against 34 people, including Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the feds and pledged to cooperate, eventually serving 12 days behind bars.
“As the attorney general said when he testified before Congress, there was spying,” Pence said Friday.
“We need to understand … whether there was a sufficient predicate.
"We need to get to the bottom of how this all began and if there was a violation of the rules, if the law was broken, the people that were responsible need to be held accountable.”
The vice president also defended Barr’s decision to blow off testifying before the House Judiciary Committee a day after he was questioned by members of its Senate counterpart.
The AG told the House committee Wednesday that he wouldn’t attend the hearing to testify about Mueller’s report on the Russia probe because he only wanted to be questioned by members of the panel, not also by staff attorneys.
On Friday, Pence noted that when he served in the House, he sat on the Judiciary Committee for 11 years and could not recall an instance when staff lawyers were required to ask questions of a witness along with House members.
“Members of Congress should all do their job and ask questions,” he said.