Press: Why Trump should thank FBI

We all know it’s too much to ask, but don’t you think we’d all breathe a lot easier if President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE would only check the facts before he makes a wild assertion? Except he never has and never will.

There are by now a long string of outrageous claims he’s made that have no basis in reality. Former President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower? He didn’t. Five million people voted illegally for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House MORE? They didn’t. The crowd at his inaugural was the largest ever? It wasn’t. He won more electoral votes (304) than any president since Ronald Reagan? No, he didn’t. Obama won 365 in 2008 and 332 in 2012.

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To that list we can now add one of his biggest and most unsubstantiated whoppers of all. Trump tweeted early in the morning of May 18: “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president.” And lest there be any doubt what he meant by “representative,” he followed up with: “Apparently the [Department of Justice] put a Spy in the Trump Campaign.”

So what we are to make of this? Absolutely nothing. It’s simply not true, just the latest twist in repeated efforts by the Trump White House to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE in anticipation of a damning final report. Their working premise is that if they call it a “witch hunt” often enough, people will start to believe it.

As both The New York Times and The Washington Post both quickly reported, the FBI did not plant any “spy” inside the Trump campaign. The FBI did, however, send an FBI informant to talk to campaign aides George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosFlynn sentencing move spurs questions about duration of Mueller probe Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe MORE, Carter Page and Sam Clovis about their contacts with Russian officials. Which gets us to the heart of the matter, which most of the media have simply ignored.

All the speculation about a secret FBI “spy” hidden inside the Trump campaign is a waste of time. Here’s what’s really important. Not whether the Justice Department employed a spy, agent or informant, and who it was. But the fact that, as far back as Aug. 16, the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion.

Yes, we now know that during the general election of 2016, at the same time the FBI was investigating the Clinton campaign for possible criminal activity relating to her use of a private email server, the FBI was also investigating the Trump campaign for possible illegal activity relating to improper connections with Russian operatives to influence the outcome of the election.

But here’s the big difference, and it could have made all the difference in the world: James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation Pompeo on Rosenstein bombshell: Maybe you just ought to find something else to do if you can't be on the team MORE chose to tell the world the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton. But he chose to keep it a big secret that, at the very same time, the FBI  was also investigating Donald Trump. Why? Because, Comey says in his book, he didn’t want it to look like the FBI was trying to influence the outcome of the election.

Yet, surely, by keeping the Trump investigation secret, the FBI did influence the outcome of the election. Had Americans known that Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton, was the subject of a criminal investigation, the election might have turned out differently. So, instead of attacking the FBI, Donald Trump should be thanking them. The FBI helped Donald Trump become president.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: Life in the Crossfire.”