Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Over the past week, President Trump has done a great many things that have raised alarm within the national security establishment. He has attacked his attorney general’s recusal from the Russia investigation, approvingly quoted a column describing the “Stormtrooper tactics” of the Mueller investigation, and, most recently, declared his right to pardon himself. But though the news moves quickly these days, it’s worth taking a look back at a controversy from a few weeks past: the president’s demand that the Department of Justice investigate the circumstances behind the FBI’s alleged use of an informant to infiltrate the Trump campaign. The news cycle may have moved on, but the incident—and the response—reveals a great deal about differing views of executive power and political accountability.
On May 20, Trump tweeted:
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018