Rubio: FBI didn’t target Trump campaign, only suspicious individuals in it

There was no political witch hunt, as President Trump has claimed.

CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took to the Sunday morning shows to push back on the Trump administration’s narrative that the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign was a political witch hunt. To the contrary, Rubio said, it was a totally appropriate investigation into suspicious individuals involved in the campaign.

“As far as what I have seen to date, it appears there was an investigation not of the campaign, but of certain individuals who have a history that we should be suspicious of that predate the presidential campaign of 2015/2016,” he told ABC’s This Week. “And when individuals like that are in the orbit of a major political campaign in America, the FBI — who is in charge of counterintelligence investigations — should be looking at people like that. But they’re not investigating the campaign; they’re investigating those people.”

Rubio stopped just short of saying Trump was “wrong” in his “spygate” characterization of the investigation.

“I have seen no evidence that those people were a part of an investigation on the campaign. If that exists, I would want to know about it. We should all know about it, and that would be wrong and we should do something about it. But up to now, what I have seen is evidence that they were investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia that were concerning. And that was appropriate if that’s all that happened.”

In a separate interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, Rubio similarly insisted, “If there are people operating in this country trying to influence American politics on behalf of a foreign power, it is the FBI’s job to investigate those people.”

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The Mueller investigation — which assumed several of the FBI investigations — has already resulted in several related indictments for people who were part of the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been indicted for their work related to a Russia-affiliated political party in Ukraine, while Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to making false statements about their contacts with Russia.

Rubio is not a member of the “Gang of Eight,” which was briefed Thursday about the FBI’s use of an informant in its investigation of the Trump campaign. The Democratic lawmakers who were briefed similarly defended the FBI’s approach to the investigation.