On Friday morning, President Donald Trump told Fox & Friends that spygate — the Obama administration’s surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election based on the false pretense of Trump being in league with Russia — will be “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.” He said Attorney General Bill Barr’s investigation of FISA abuses and U.S. Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation will prove “historic,” and he predicted that the investigations will implicate former President Barack Obama himself.
“Now, what you’re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country, political scandal,” Trump said. “You have a FISA report coming out which the word is, it’s historic, that is what the word is. That’s what I hear. And if it’s historic, you will see something. And then perhaps even more importantly you have Durham coming out shortly thereafter. He is the U.S. Attorney and he is already announced it’s criminal.”
“You know, a lot of people say deep state. I don’t like to use the word ‘deep state.’ I just say they’re really bad and sick people,” the president added.
Peter Doocy noted that Trump had previously suggested “that this might go much higher than the Department of Justice or the FBI during the Obama Administration.” He asked the president if spygate “could actually go up into the West Wing of the Obama administration.”
Trump said it traces back to “the highest levels of government. They were spying on my campaign. That is my opinion.”
“How high did it go, Mr. President? How high did it go?” Doocy pressed.
“I think personally, I think it goes all the way,” Trump responded.
“I hate to say it. I think it’s a disgrace. They thought I was going to win and they said, ‘How can we stop him?’ They wrote up the phony, fake dossier, the disgusting fake dossier, and they tried to have it put out prior to the election just to show you how incompetent they were,” he said. “They spent millions and millions of dollars, Hillary Clinton paid for it, and the Democrats.”
Trump went on to suggest that Ukraine has a Democratic National Committee server that CrowdStrike refused to hand over to the FBI, but he did not name a source for that disputed information. Many have denounced as a conspiracy theory the president’s claim that the server is in Ukraine. Whatever the merits of his claim, the Barr and Durham investigations indeed seem likely to be historic.
During the interview, the president also hit on the texts between former FBI staffers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
“I can only say that we have a lot of information that a lot of bad things happened. And when you look at Strzok and Page with the insurance policy where, you know, the two lovers, the two great lovers from the FBI, where he is saying, ‘Oh, she is going to win 100 million to nothing, but just in case she loses we have an insurance policy,'” Trump said. “That means, you know, we’re going to take him down, we’ll take down the president. You wouldn’t even believe this is possible. But the insurance policy, that was a very big find.”
As Andrew McCarthy explains in his book Ball of Collusion, it was patently absurd to think Trump was in league with Russia during the 2016 election, because the only evidence showed a meeting between Carter Page — a very marginal Trump figure — and a very marginal Russian figure. Yet the Obama administration launched a counter-intelligence investigation without notifying Trump or alerting him to the danger of Russian efforts in his campaign.
Furthermore, Obama rightly insisted that Russia could not undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election — right up until the point when Trump won. Before that, Obama thought Clinton was going to win, and he didn’t want to undermine her legitimacy. There is good reason to suggest spygate traces all the way to the top.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.