GOP rep: Trump knows claim FBI planted spy in campaign is 'not true'

GOP rep: Trump knows claim FBI planted spy in campaign is 'not true'
© Getty Images

Rep. Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneyHouse Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (R-Fla.) on Wednesday went after President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE for his repeated claims that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign, suggesting the president spread the theory despite knowing it was false.

"What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none?" Rooney told Politico.

"It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true,' " he continued. "Maybe it’s just to create more chaos but it doesn’t really help the case."


Trump has in recent weeks repeatedly alleged on Twitter and in person that the FBI embedded a spy in his campaign. He has, without evidence, suggested it was done by the Obama administration for political purposes, and dubbed the matter "spygate."

The FBI had an informant in 2016 who reportedly met with three Trump campaign officials.

GOP lawmakers have pressed Department of Justice officials for information on the informant, raising questions about improper behavior at the bureau.

In response, congressional leaders and a few other Republicans received a closed-door briefing on the matter. Following the meeting, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE (R-S.C.) told CBS News that he had seen no evidence to support Trump’s claims that a “spy” was improperly inserted into his 2016 campaign.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose RNC chair on election: We are on track to win the White House Kenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) backed up Gowdy on Wednesday, although he added that there are “some more documents to review” and “some unanswered questions.”

Rooney, who is retiring at the end of his current term, defended Gowdy's take on the meeting even as some conservatives remain skeptical about the FBI's practices toward the Trump campaign.

"If you want to disagree with what we were briefed on and say that it was a spy? That’s fine, I guess," he told Politico.

"We would just disagree with that," he said. "And if that makes us RINOs because we have a different opinion about what the FBI was doing, then I guess we’re RINOs."

RINO is commonly used to refer to "Republicans in name only."