DOJ asks watchdog to probe Trump campaign surveillance claims

Source: The Hill | May 20, 2018 | Brett Samuels

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked its inspector general to look into whether or not the FBI surveilled President Trump’s campaign for “inappropriate purposes.”

“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a separate statement that “the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct.”

The expanded probe, she said, will “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.”

The DOJ announcement comes just hours after Trump tweeted that he planned to demand on Monday that the department look into whether federal agents spied on his campaign for “political purposes.”

The original probe into alleged FBI surveillance abuse was announced in late March, and was focused on whether the department abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) when it obtained a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

That investigation sprung from claims among some House Republicans that federal officials inappropriately used the so-called Steele Dossier to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. 

Trump has spent the last few days sounding the alarm on Twitter about claims that an FBI informant was embedded within his campaign. He has alleged, without evidence, that the FBI sought to spy on his campaign for political purposes, which Trump argued would be a scandal “bigger than Watergate.”

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