Trump called the FBI ‘scum’ and hit out at the report that discredited his theory the Russia probe was a deep-state plot at a wild Pennsylvania rally
President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night lashed out at the FBI, calling staff of the agency “scum.”
He also doubled down on discredited conspiracy theories following the release of a report that undermined the president’s claims that the Russia probe was a “deep state” plot meant to damage his presidency.
Trump repeated claims the FBI had “spied” on his 2016 campaign. The report, released the day before by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, had found such a characterization to be groundless.
“When the FBI uncovered evidence showing that we did absolutely nothing wrong, which was right at the beginning, they hid that exonerating, you know that, they hid it,” Trump said.
That comment seemed to refer to a finding in the report that there were significant “omissions” in the FBI’s application for a wiretap of Carter Page, a Trump campaign official.
“They hid it so nobody could see it and they could keep this hoax going on for two more years,” Trump said. “They knew right at the beginning.”
The report in fact found that the Russia investigation was launched on the basis of multiple contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians.
“The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign,” the president said.
“Look how they’ve hurt people. They’ve destroyed the lives of people that were great people, that are still great people. Their lives have been destroyed by scum. OK, by scum.”
While Trump and his allies have often characterized the FBI’s surveillance as “spying,” the long-anticipated report found that the FBI followed its rules in opening an investigation into contacts between Russia and Trump officials and concluded that top officials were not driven by “political bias or improper motivation” in doing so.
It did, however, did find an improper handling of applications for surveillance warrants, such as Page’s.
Attorney General William Barr has criticized the report’s conclusions, a highly unusual move. Barr has tasked the Pennsylvania prosecutor John Durham with conducting a separate investigation into the origins of the Russia inquiry.
“I look forward to Bull Durham’s report, that’s the one I look forward to,” Trump said, referring to the 1988 baseball movie starring Kevin Costner in a riff on Durham’s name.
“And this report was great by the IG, especially since he was appointed by President Barack Hussein Obama,” Trump said. Using Obama’s middle name is often associated with a movement by the far right to falsely suggest Obama is Muslim.