Russia Probe

Trump has weaponized the government against his political opponents

Reacting to reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post earlier this week saying that the FBI sent an informant to talk to his campaign about its possible ties to Russia, President Trump took to Twitter this Sunday to announce that he’s ordering the Department of Justice to investigate whether the FBI targeted him for political purposes — and if former President Obama had anything to do with it.

“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 tweeted.

Trump and his allies have claimed, with zero evidence, that the informant was actually a secret “spy.” Various reports say the informant made contact with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Sam Clovis in 2016.

According to MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst Matthew Miller, Trump’s tweet “crossed a red line” to where he’s now using the government as a tool against his political enemies.

“There it is,” Miller wrote, highlighting Trump’s tweet. “He has finally crossed the red line and ordered up a DOJ investigation of his political opponents, as well as career law enforcement agents. Moment of truth for Rosenstein and Sessions and moment of danger for the country.”

The genesis of the Trump-Russia investigation was with Papadopoulos, who drunkenly blabbed about being approached by a Russia-linked professor who said the Kremlin had dirt on Hillary Clinton. The person who was on the receiving end of Papadopoulos’s loose lips happened to be an Australian diplomat, who promptly informed the U.S. government what he’d heard.

The Trump camp has seized on the story, but as the NYT reports mentions, there’s no evidence to suggest that the FBI informant was a secret spy.

Speaking to NBC News, former head of FBI counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi said the claim of “fully embedded government operatives inside a campaign is hard to imagine under these circumstances.”

“What is easier to imagine is the FBI trying to flesh out information on Russian intelligence operatives by making approaches to campaign staffers if the reasonable suspicion was there and the approvals were in place,” he added.

But Trump has taken the story full throttle, saying it’s “bigger than Watergate” if true. What’s true is that Trump has weaponized another non-fact, and he’s going to pollute the ether with its distractive qualities as long as he can.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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