Democrats must love the squabbling going on between Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Trey Gowdy, who take pains to insist that the Trump campaign was not being spied on, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, who’s looking to cut through the nuance.
While Gowdy stressed that President Donald Trump was not the target, he went so far as to say the FBI “did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do” in reacting to concerns about Russian interference, but DeSantis, a fellow member of the House Oversight Committee, pushed back Thursday in an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“Deploying surveillance powers, counterintelligence powers, against an opposition party’s campaign, that is not normal and I think that is not what Americans want the FBI to be doing,” said DeSantis, who is running for governor in Florida.
While everyone appears to agree that an FBI informant was deployed to interact with select individuals in the Trump campaign, there’s a splitting of hairs over whether it is the equivalent of spying on the campaign.
But, as DeSantis pointed out, if Trump was not the intended target, why wasn’t he made aware of the concerns. He said what the bureau did “was not trying to protect then-candidate Donald Trump.”
“If you had a problem with somebody on the periphery of the campaign, the obvious thing to do is to go brief the campaign and brief Donald Trump,” DeSantis said.
“Instead, they deployed this informant to spy on the campaign,” he added.
The Florida lawmaker even suggested that there may have been more than one FBI informant targeting the Trump campaign.
President Trump tweeted a similar narrative Thursday morning, quoting a comment from talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
RUSH LIMBAUGH “If the FBI was so concerned, and if they weren’t targeting Trump, they should have told Trump. If they were really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign (hoax), then why not try to stop it? Why not tell Trump? Because they were pushing this scam.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
The response from critics was to note that Trump didn’t quote Limbaugh accurately — see paraphrasing due to Twitter character restrictions.
Limbaugh’s actual words: “If the FBI was so concerned and if they weren’t targeting Trump they should have told trump. if they’re really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign then why not try to stop it? Why not try to tell Trump? Well the answer is perfectly clear to me. They were running this whole story. They were pushing this scam.”
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