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

The Hill logo The Hill 6/7/2018 Brett Samuels

Video by Wochit News

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) on Wednesday went after President Trump 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 (DOJ) officials for information on the informant, raising questions about improper behavior at the bureau.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill In response, congressional leaders and a few other Republicans received a closed-door briefing on the matter. Following the meeting, Rep. Trey Gowdy (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 Ryan (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."

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