President Trump pointed blame directly at former President Barack Obama Wednesday for the previous administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016, all but daring a government watchdog to implicate his predecessor.
“It was a corrupt election,” Mr. Trump said at a White House press conference. “Maybe it goes right up to President Obama. I happen to think it does.”
In his most pointed comments yet about Mr. Obama’s possible knowledge of the FBI’s actions, the president said he is eagerly awaiting the outcome of a Justice Department inspector general’s report on the origins of the FBI’s decision to monitor Trump campaign officials for possible collusion with Russia.
“I’m waiting for the report like everybody else, but I predict you will see things and you won’t even believe the level of corruption,” Mr. Trump told reporters earlier in the day. “Whether it’s President Obama himself, let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that [in the report].”
Told by a reporter that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Mr. Trump is making the “biggest mistake” of his presidency by withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, the president unloaded on his frequent ally. He said Mr. Graham should spend his time investigating Mr. Obama and the origins of the FBI probe, instead of worrying about the Middle East.
“I think Lindsey should focus on Judiciary. … That’s what the people of South Carolina want him to focus on,” Mr. Trump said. “The people of South Carolina want to see those troops come home. I won an election based on that. Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next 1,000 years.”
Earlier, Mr. Trump said there is “nothing wrong” with his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani investigating U.S. election corruption that he believes originated in Ukraine.
Warning that Democrats’ impeachment effort will come back to haunt them, Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House that Mr. Giuliani “was seeking out corruption” in his probe and his discussions with Ukraine officials.
“There’s nothing wrong with seeking out corruption,” Mr. Trump said. “People want to find out, why was it so corrupt during that  election? And I want to find out more than anybody else.”
He said he’s still asking the FBI to find Hillary Clinton’s private server and her 33,000 erased emails. Mr. Trump said it’s believed to be held by a company whose ownership is primarily Ukrainian.
“Let’s see what’s on the server,” Mr. Trump said. “Republicans want to see it.”
He said the House impeachment inquiry will result in Republicans winning back the House majority. And he warned that Republicans “can do the same thing in reverse” if there is ever a Democratic president, referring to an impeachment that he calls illegitimate.
The president told reporters that former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton is “a good man” whose tenure there “just didn’t work out.” Some House Democrats say they want to subpoena Mr. Bolton in the impeachment inquiry.
A former NSC official, Fiona Hill, has told House Democrats in private testimony that Mr. Bolton considered Mr. Giuliani “a hand grenade” who would blow up the rest of them with his back-channel investigation in Ukraine.
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