President Trump on Friday called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over their political activities in 2016, claiming the American public “deserves it.”
In a series of early-morning tweets, Trump seized on revelations about a joint fundraising agreement Clinton signed with the DNC in 2015 to attack his former campaign rival.
Trump called it “the real story on Collusion.”
Trump’s accusations came in response to Politico’s publication Thursday of an excerpt from former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s new book. She cited the fundraising agreement put into place before she took over as chairwoman as “proof” the 2016 Democratic presidential primary was tilted in Clinton’s favor.
“The funding arrangement with [Clinton’s campaign] and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical,” Brazile wrote.
Trump claimed in a Thursday night tweet the DNC acted “illegally” in setting up the fundraising agreement.
“I’m really not involved with the Justice Department. I’d like to let it run itself, but honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats,” Trump said later Friday at the White House. “A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”
The president on Friday cited criticism of the deal from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom he called “Pocahontas” — a derogatory reference to her claims of Native American heritage.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries!” Trump tweeted. “Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.”
Brazile wrote that the 2015 agreement created an uneven playing field for Clinton, since it gave her team control of some fundraising and personnel decisions at the DNC during an open presidential primary.
Initially, only Clinton chose to fundraise through that partnership, but Sanders eventually signed on.
Trump’s call for an investigation of Democrats comes during the same week special counsel Robert Mueller filed the first charges in his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including whether the Trump campaign cooperated with the effort.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and top deputy Richard Gates pleaded not guilty to a series of charges related to their work for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine. Another campaign aide pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his talks with Russians.
Trump and his aides have used allegations about Clinton stemming from her presidential campaign and tenure as secretary of State to steer attention away from the Russia probe.