President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial ‘quickly’ in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it’s possible agents acted in ‘bad faith’ in Trump probe MORE spent a large part of a campaign rally Tuesday evening hailing a new Justice Department Inspector General report and blasting House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
Trump claimed the newly released report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz showed that the FBI “spied” on his presidential campaign during the 2016 election.
He suggested the bureau launched an investigation into associates of his campaign to “hurt us politically,” despite Horowitz’s inquiry finding agents were not motivated by political bias in the decisions they made investigating links between the campaign and Moscow.
“The FBI failed to disclose the nature of the political hit job to the FISA court, they hid it … and they lied,” Trump said, referring to an application the FBI filed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
“Folks, they spied on our campaign,” Trump said. “Never happened before in the history of our country and we’re really wise to it.”
Trump also mocked ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, claiming text messages exchanged between the two showed that agents who worked on the Russia probe were motivated by bias — directly refuting Horowitz’s findings.
“They write that there was no bias, and yet he’s saying, ‘no, no, darling, we’ll stop it,’ ” Trump said, paraphrasing a text message Strzok sent to Page.
The inspector general sharply criticized the FBI for inaccuracies and omissions in its application to surveil Carter Page. He also referred to an FBI lawyer who altered a document for possible criminal prosecution.
Horowitz, however, did not find evidence agents were driven by political bias and said the FBI was justified in opening the investigation.
Trump claimed without evidence on Tuesday that the FBI deliberately “hid” exonerating evidence against him in order to continue the investigation.
“They knew right at the beginning that it was all a frame up, a set up,” Trump said.
Trump also spent the outset of his remarks at the Pennsylvania rally railing against the impeachment inquiry.
Trump lashed out at House Democrats the same day they unveiled two articles of impeachment against him, describing it as a partisan effort to defeat him in 2020 and claiming any lawmaker who votes for impeachment would be “voting to sacrifice the House majority, their dignity and their career.”
Trump mocked House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial ‘quickly’ in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be ‘huge mistake’ MORE (D-Calif.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCBS’s Major Garrett: Democrats walking away from bribery, extortion allegations against Trump ‘in full public view’ The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles MORE (D-Calif.) and other Democrats, calling them out by name during his remarks.
“The congressional Democrats are pushing the impeachment witch hunt having to do with Ukraine,” Trump said. “But that’s already failing.”
Trump also claimed that “people are saying” the two articles of impeachment unveiled by House Democrats “not even a crime.”
House Democrats at a news conference Tuesday released articles accusing Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations and obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the inquiry.
“People are saying they’re not even a crime,” Trump told the crowd. “This is the lightest, weakest impeachment.”
“They’re impeaching me. You want to know why? Because they want to win an election,” Trump said.
The articles are expected to be put to a vote in the coming days, setting up Trump’s likely impeachment by the House. The president is widely expected to be acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate in an impeachment trial.