The Obama White House, President Trump allegedly told author Doug Wead, was engaged in a “treasonous” act when it was “spying on my campaign.”
“What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous,” Trump told Wead in comments reported by the Washington Examiner and included in Wead’s upcoming book, “Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency.”
“The interesting thing out of all of this is that we caught them spying on the election,” said Trump. “They were spying on my campaign. So you know? What is that all about? I have never ever said this, but truth is, they got caught spying. They were spying. Obama.”
Trump’s accusation echoes the language of Attorney General William Barr, who famously described the Obama administration’s surveillance of Trump associates as “spying” before slightly walking back the claim.
“I think spying did occur,” Barr told congressional investigators in testimony in April. “But the question is whether it was predicated — adequately predicated. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.”
Trump, who has blasted Obama repeatedly in the past for “tapping his wires,” told Wead that evidence has since proven that he was correct about them “spying” on him — and suggested that his administration has since discovered that it was even worse than they initially thought.
“It turned out I was right. By the way,” Trump told the author. “In fact, what I said was peanuts compared to what they did. They were spying on my campaign. They got caught and they said, ‘Oh we were not spying. It was actually an investigation.’ Can you imagine an administration investigating its political opponents?”
Trump also blasted the years-long Russian “collusion” investigation, which ended in Special Counsel Robert Mueller debunking the claim, as something that deeply undercut his presidency.
The “spying” comments from Trump are particularly timely as The New York Times reported Thursday that the Justice Department’s review into the origins of the Russia “collusion” investigation has officially become a “criminal investigation.”
“Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter,” the Times reported Thursday. “The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.”
The Times, like many of its fellow left-leaning mainstream media outlets, has framed the development in terms of Trump using “the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies.”
“The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies,” the Times reported. “Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.”