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Behind Trump's Demand For A DOJ Investigation48:14
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President Donald Trump listens during a swearing-in ceremony for incoming Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel at CIA Headquarters, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Langley, Va. (Evan Vucci/AP)
President Donald Trump listens during a swearing-in ceremony for incoming Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel at CIA Headquarters, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Langley, Va. (Evan Vucci/AP)
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With Ray Suarez

President Trump demands the Justice Department find out if the FBI spied on his campaign. We’ll look at the evidence.

Guests:

Matt Zapotosky, national security reporter for the Washington Post, where he covers the Justice Department. (@mattzap)

Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law, and professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. (@COFinkelstein)

Philip Mudd, former deputy director, FBI’s National Security Branch and senior intelligence advisor, 2005-2010. Former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, 2003-2005.

From The Reading List:

The Washington Post: "White House to convene GOP lawmakers to review classified information on FBI source" — "The White House and the Justice Department have put off a high-stakes confrontation over the FBI’s use of a confidential source to aid an investigation into the Trump campaign, after top law enforcement and intelligence officials met with President Trump on Monday to discuss the brewing controversy.

A White House spokeswoman said Chief of Staff John F. Kelly plans to convene another gathering between the officials and congressional leaders to 'review highly classified and other information' about the source and intelligence he provided.

That could be viewed as something of a concession from the Justice Department, which had been reluctant to turn over materials on the source to GOP lawmakers demanding them. But it also could be a bureaucratic maneuver to buy time and shield actual documents.

Earlier this month, the department temporarily defused a similar standoff with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is seeking internal records and FBI reports on the source and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt. The department had Nunes over for a classified briefing but provided no documents, and Nunes decided not to attend a later briefing the department offered.

The Monday meeting, which included Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, lasted about an hour. Trump personally called to confer with the officials, two people familiar with the request said, though White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the meeting was put on the books last week.

The gathering came a day after the Justice Department asked its inspector general to investigate Trump’s claim that his campaign may have been infiltrated by the FBI source for political purposes. The officials planned to discuss that, as well as the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents on the origin of what is now special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election."

After reports that an FBI informant talked to three campaign advisers, President Trump concluded the Bureau infiltrated his campaign for political purposes. He’s ordered the Justice Department to investigate the FBI… he’s ordered an investigation into an agency that just happens to be investigating him. Is it squarely within his powers as president? Or crossing a line? We’ll check history and the letter of the law.

This hour, On Point: Watching the detectives.

- Ray Suarez

This program aired on May 22, 2018.

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