May 24, 2018

Trump doubles down on "Spygate"

President Trump is keeping up his attacks on the FBI for placing an informant inside his campaign to investigation possible Russian collusion.

Fact check: James Clapper did not say the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign during an appearance on ABC's The View last week: "No, they were not. They were spying on, a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence which is what they do."

Where it's coming from: "Trump told one ally this week that he wanted 'to brand' the [FBI's 2016 campaign] informant a 'spy,' believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public," AP reports.

  • CNN's Brian Stelter points out: "In many of President Trump's comments about an alleged 'spy' in his presidential campaign, there's a tell. Usually it's the word 'if.' Sometimes it's the word 'maybe.' Or 'possibly.' Or the word 'or!'
  • "The caveats give him some wiggle room while he's promoting a full-fledged conspiracy theory."

Go deeper: Trump's torch-it-all media strategy.

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