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Trump now communicating with the FBI over Twitter

Trump’s tweet is strange for multiple reasons.

 

Andrew Couts

Tech

President Donald Trump is now communicating with the FBI over Twitter as part of his effort to justify his unsubstantiated claims that the Obama administration spied on him ahead of the 2016 election.

In a tweet posted Monday morning, Trump quoted reporting from Fox News regarding “electronic surveillance” of the president and his associates. At the end of the tweet, Trump tagged the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Twitter account.

Trump’s tweet is based on reporting from Fox News senior correspondent Adam Housley, who appeared on the network Monday morning. “[T]here was electronic surveillance of Trump and the people close to Donald Trump, including some supporters for up to a year before inauguration,” Housley said, citing multiple anonymous sources.

Trump’s tweet is peculiar for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is that the president has access to any information within the federal government he chooses to obtain. As such, his tagging of the FBI in a tweet had many wondering what exactly he was doing.

https://twitter.com/colincampbell/status/848881208356466689

The second strange aspect of the president’s tweet is that the report was based on anonymous sources—the same type of government leaks that Trump has condemned. Just the day before, Trump claimed “surveillance and leaking” were the “real story,” an allusion to the ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and ties between Trump associates and Moscow being conducted by the FBI, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

In a series of tweets posted on March 4, Trump claimed that former President Barack Obama had his “wires tapped” at Trump Tower ahead of the election. Since then, Trump’s claims have been refuted by the leaders of both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as other U.S. lawmakers from both parties.

The issue came to a head late last month when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that he had viewed evidence that Trump associates, and potentially the president himself, had been caught up in “incidental” surveillance. Reports later revealed that Nunes received information from White House staffers. Nunes’ handling of the situation effectively derailed the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

FBI Director James Comey revealed during the first day of the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing that the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference, which he said remains ongoing, includes potential ties between the Trump team and Russia. As such, it is unclear whether Trump’s tweet constitutes a violation of Department of Justice guidelines regarding communications between the White House and the DOJ that concern ongoing investigations.

Both the DOJ and the FBI declined to comment on the president’s tweet.

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