Justice Department asks for expanded probe of how FBI investigated Trump campaign: White House

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump was set to meet at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
  • The meeting comes a day after Trump demanded the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump campaign officials.
White House demands DOJ investigate FBI tactics on Trump campaign

A meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday ended with the Justice Department asking its internal watchdog to expand an existing probe into any "irregularities" in the "tactics" used by both the department and the FBI in investigating the Trump campaign, the White House said.

Participants at that session with Trump also agreed that White House chief of staff John Kelly will "immediately set up a meeting with the FBI," Department of Justice, and the director of national intelligence, "together with Congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested," White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has been asking for documents from the FBI about a source who told the FBI about conversations he had with Trump campaign operatives in 2016.

The meeting came a day after Trump demanded the Justice Department investigate whether it and the FBI infiltrated the Trump campaign "for political purposes."

Trump met Monday spoke with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, according to the White House.

FBI Director Christopher Wray arrives at the West Wing of the White House for a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on FBI investigations into the 2016 Trump presidential campaign at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

"Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's or the Department of Justice's tactics concerning the Trump Campaign," Sanders said.

The sit-down had been scheduled last week.

But the session came less than 24 hours after the Justice Department asked its Office of the Inspector General to investigate whether there were improprieties in the use of an alleged FBI source who provided authorities with information about several Trump campaign operatives.

Trump called for the Justice Department to investigate agency officials amid a blistering series of tweets on Sunday morning.

He said he wanted Justice to "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!"


After the president's tirade, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, "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."

"As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct."

FISA refers to "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." The FBI obtained a warrant from a federal judge on the FISA court to surveil Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, in 2016.

Rosenstein said Sunday, "If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."

Trump has been angry since last year about an ongoing probe into his campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The president has repeatedly called that investigation a "witch hunt." And he has suggested that the FBI had improperly surveilled his campaign while letting his opponent, Hillary Clinton, off of the hook for a probe related to her use of a private email server while secretary of State.


Trump's ire on Sunday seems to have been ignited by a New York Times article on Saturday that revealed the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., three months before the election had met with an emissary for two rich Arab princes, an Israeli social media expert and a Republican, who were offering to help the Trump campaign.