President Donald Trump continued his feud with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday, claiming incorrectly online that Clapper “has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign.”
“Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal,” Trump continued. “Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE - a terrible thing!”
The president also criticized former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who have both been a consistent targets of Trump.
“Not surprisingly, the GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership found within the top ranks of the FBI,” the president wrote in a second post. “Comey was a terrible and corrupt leader who inflicted great pain on the FBI! #SPYGATE”
Clapper, the director of national intelligence under former President Barack Obama and one of the most outspoken critics of Trump from the previous administration, has made a slew of media appearances in recent days where he has been asked to comment on reports that the FBI’s Russia investigation included an informant who contacted the president’s 2016 campaign.
Trump and his allies have characterized the FBI’s use of an informant as the Justice Department spying on the president’s campaign, potentially for political reasons, while Clapper has argued that it was Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, not Trump’s team, that were the subject of intelligence operations.
Despite the president’s insistence that Clapper has conceded that the Justice Department spied on his campaign, the former director of national intelligence has been emphatic that such activity did not occur. Clapper told CNN on Wednesday that an earlier Trump tweet relied on a “distortion of what I said.” Asked specifically if the government had spied on Trump’s campaign, Clapper said, “no, we did not.”