U.S. President Donald Trump is due to meet with the deputy attorney general and the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday at the White House, following his demand that the Justice Department look into whether the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his campaign for political purposes.
After Trump’s demand Sunday on Twitter, the Justice Department said it is asking its inspector general to explore whether political motivation played a role in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation of the Russian interference, said, "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’s Monday meeting includes FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Trump on Saturday alleged that the FBI and Justice Department infiltrated his campaign through use of the informant. Several news agencies have identified the informant as Stefan Halper, a 73-year-old American-born professor at Britain’s University of Cambridge, who had worked decades ago in three other Republican administrations.
Ned Price, who served on the National Security Council under Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, told VOA that Trump’s charge is dangerous to American democracy. Price said the president is "officially knocking down the firewall between policy and law enforcement — an indispensable element of the rule of law. And he’s doing so for his own personal ends."
Former NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor tweeted, "This is crossing a massive red line. Trump is forcing DOJ to conduct a politicized investigation – something he himself conceded he shouldn’t do."
It is not clear whether Trump, when he makes the formal request for the investigation Monday, will ask for a general investigation or specifically call on the Justice Department to make public certain materials about the FBI’s counterintelligence process or the identity of sources.
Trump further complained Sunday about the yearlong investigation into whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia and if he obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe.
"Things are really getting ridiculous," Trump complained in one of the Twitter remarks, asking at what point the investigation will end, calling it a "soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt," although the cost appears to be much less.
He contended investigators have "found no Collussion [sic] with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption" in the campaign of his Democratic challenger two years ago, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump said the investigation by special counsel Mueller "has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the world" and its connections to the Trump campaign.
He said Mueller "should easily be able" to extend the inquiries into the congressional elections in November, where he and his team "can put some hurt on the Republican Party."
He added, "Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam."
Mueller has indicted numerous Russian individuals and entities for interference in the U.S. election through the creation of fake news stories commenting on contentious American issues. He has also secured guilty pleas from three Trump campaign associates who are cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation.