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Trump demands ‘total transparency’ about FBI informant

President Trump has stepped up his campaign to discredit the Russia probe. He tweeted on Wednesday that elements of the Justice Department are part of the "criminal deep state...caught in a major spy scandal," after recently demanding an inquiry into whether the FBI illegally infiltrated his 2016 campaign. Judy Woodruff reports House GOP leaders will get a rare, classified briefing on the issue.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    First, President Trump's stepped-up campaign to discredit the Russia investigation.

    The newest focus is on claims that the FBI spied on his campaign, something that he's now calling spy gate.

  • President Donald Trump:

    So, what I want from Rod, from the FBI, from everybody, we want transparency.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Leaving the White House, the president pressed again for full disclosure by the Justice Department and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

    The president has already demanded Justice investigate whether the FBI illegally infiltrated his 2016 campaign.

  • President Donald Trump:

    All you have to do is look at the basics and you will see. It looks like a very serious event. But we will find out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This issue didn't come up this afternoon, as the president and Rosenstein sat mere feet from each other at a roundtable on immigration in New York.

    But earlier, Mr. Trump tweeted that elements of the Justice Department are part of the — quote — "criminal deep state caught in a major spy scandal."

    Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo contradicted the president's long-running deep state accusations while testifying today on Capitol Hill.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    You know, this term deep state has been thrown around. I will say this. The employees that worked with me at the CIA nearly uniformly were aimed at achieving the president's objectives and America's objectives.

  • Rep. Ted Leiu, D-Calif.:

    Thank you. And that's your experience also when you interact with colleagues at the FBI and the Department of Justice as well?

  • Mike Pompeo:

    Yes. There are always exceptions to every rule. I have never led an organization that didn't have bad actors. I don't think any government organization is exempt from having malfeasance as well.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All of this after reports that an FBI informant named Stefan Halper did meet with three Trump campaign officials in 2016. At least two, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, were already on the FBI's radar for contacts with Russians.

    Tomorrow, Republican leaders of the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees receive a rare classified briefing on the issue from Justice Department and intelligence officials.

  • President Donald Trump:

    When they look at the documents, I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happened. I hope it's not so, because if it is, there's never been anything like it in the history of our country.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But Democrats, including Congressman Joaquin Castro on the House Intelligence Committee, pushed back today, after no Democrats were invited to the briefing.

  • Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas:

    This very much is a departure from standard operating procedure, and it makes it seem more like a Trump legal defense team meeting than anything else.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president today also went after James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, for saying any informant would have likely been looking for Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  • President Donald Trump:

    If you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday, inadvertently. But I hope it's not true. But it looks like it is.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    For his part, Clapper disputes that, defends his long career, and offers a tough assessment of President Trump in his new book, "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence."

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