Tapper on 'Spygate': Frequent Liar Trump Engages In Conspiracy Theories

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In a monologue on the Wednesday edition of his CNN show, host Jake Tapper lists past dubious claims Trump has made. Tapper said he could go on, "but this is just an hour show."

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: We begin with the politics lead today and President Trump pushing a brand-new conspiracy theory, one seemingly grounded more in suspicions and his desire for a counternarrative than it is based on established facts.

Tweeting, in one of his five tweets today on the subject of this confidential FBI source who spoke with at least three Trump campaign members in 2016 -- quote -- "Spygate could be one of the biggest political scandals in history."



And, this afternoon, the president went on to say this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: What proof do you have that your campaign was spied on?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All you have to do is look at the basics and you will see. It looks like a very serious event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


TAPPER: Well, we have looked at the basics.

What we know is this. The FBI, conducting a counterintelligence investigation in 2016 into whether Russians were trying to influence the election or just what they were up to, sent a confidential FBI source to speak with members of the Trump campaign.

U.S. officials tell CNN that that source was not planted within the campaign. He wasn't a campaign staffer, as far as we know. There is obviously a lot we don't know. But there is no evidence as of now that this was done for political purposes, as the president is alleging.

We're told that the FBI was trying to figure out just what the Russians were up to and whether they were getting help from any Americans.

Now, while we await the investigation into this matter by journalists and by the Justice Department inspector general, it is worth remembering that while we're sticking to the facts and telling you just what we know, President Trump apparently has no such constraints, since he simply makes stuff up.

He frequently lies and has a long and well-documented career engaging in conspiracy theories about all manner of subjects, with no concrete evidence ever provided.

Just a small sampling, for years, he perpetuated the myth that President Obama wasn't born in the United States. He's claimed with no evidence he saw thousands of Muslims on TV celebrating 9/11 on rooftops in New Jersey. No evidence of that.

He bizarrely suggested Senator Ted Cruz's father might have been involved in the assassination of JFK. Nope. Explained his popular vote loss by blaming three to five million illegal votes. Again, zero evidence for this.

He pushed a conspiracy theory that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was somehow involved in the tragic death of one of his staff members. Again, zero evidence. He said that former President Obama had his wires tapped in Trump Tower. No evidence of that either.

I could go on, but this is just an hour show.

We should get to the bottom of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Russian election interference and whether anything was done improperly by law enforcement, as well as those who are guilty of whatever they might be guilty of.

The FBI is certainly not above criticism and without question there needs to be a healthy and robust oversight of the intelligence agencies.

But that is not what the president is pushing for here. He is focused on propelling a counternarrative to try to undermine the special counsel investigation. It is a fable in which he is the victim and law enforcement officials are the bad guys.

The president frequently seeks to undermine those who look to uncover uncomfortable facts about him.

This week, for example, "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl revealed that then candidate Donald Trump told her during an off- camera conversation she had with him in the summer of 2016 -- Stahl says she asked Donald Trump why he continues to attack the press. And, according to her, this was his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESLEY STAHL, "60 MINUTES": He said: "You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so, when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)


TAPPER: Chilling, really, and yet wholly unsurprising.

And the president is now doing the same thing with special counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department and the FBI.

And, as this new counternarrative is being born, one that is being repeated already by the president's obedient supporters on the Hill and his vassals in conservative media, we here will continue digging for the truth, despite this bombardment of falsehoods.

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