Washington Free Beacon senior writer Elizabeth Harrington on Monday discussed recent revelations that the FBI had an informant inside Donald Trump's presidential campaign, saying the Justice Department under President Barack Obama was "spying on people associated with the Trump campaign."
Fox Business host Neil Cavuto commented to Harrington on the way the media has characterized a Justice Department informant who was reported to have been embedded in the Trump campaign.
"What's weird about it is they're not calling him a ‘spy' – an investigator or fact-finder – I don't even know what it is. But it sounds like a spy planted in the campaign to get some dirt, get some information," Cavuto said.
Harrigton said it wasn't a good sign for the media that it was getting in the "semantics game."
"The New York Times, you know the media is in a tough spot when they get to the semantics game: ‘Well it's not a spy, its just an informant, investigating,'" Harrington quipped.
"Also, let's put aside the informant," Harrington said. "We also had the FISA application renewed four times against Carter Page, never mind that it was based on opposition research from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton. The textbook definition of the FISA court is for surveillance, to spy. Either way, the Justice Department was spying on people associated with the Trump campaign."
The New York Times reported last week that the FBI used an informant in 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign.
In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia.
President Donald Trump ordered in a Sunday tweet the the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI or the DOJ spied on the Trump campaign for political purposes.
"I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Cavuto asked Harrington how the Justice Department will follow Trump's order.
"Well, they will start just like there is an inspector general report about to come out handling of FBI with the Clinton email investigation," Harrington said. "Now they're instructing the inspector general to do the same thing with the start of this, what we know is a, very thorough counterintelligence investigation from Obama's Justice Department. Many elements into the Trump campaign, at least four people, so that is how it will start."
Harrington said it was "remarkable" the media has reacted to the news about the informant by saying there's "nothing to see here."
"And it is really remarkable that … [after] almost two years of the breathless coverage in the media about Trump and Russia, not finding any evidence, the biggest bombshell to date – that they had a informant, flying people out to London to spy on the campaign – [and] the media says ‘oh, no big deal, nothing to see here,'" Harrington said.