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Trump outraged about quote he made up

Desperate times, desperate measures.

Trump on Tuesday night. (CREDIT: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)
Trump on Tuesday night. (CREDIT: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images)

On Wednesday morning, President Trump posted a string of tweets trying to drum up outrage about an FBI informant making contact with members of his presidential campaign who had suspicious contacts with Russia — or, as Trump calls it, “SPYGATE.”

At one point, Trump took issue with a quote purportedly made by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about how the president should “be happy that the FBI was SPYING” on his campaign.

There’s just one problem — that’s not at all what Clapper said.

Trump’s tweet alludes to an interview Clapper did with Tuesday’s edition of The View. During it, Clapper denied that the FBI “spied” on the Trump campaign, but argued that the intelligence community had good reason to be curious about Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

“So I ask you, was the FBI spying on Trump’s campaign?” host Joy Behar asked Clapper.

“No, they were not,” Clapper replied.

“With the informant business, well, the point here is the Russians,” Clapper continued. “Not spying on the campaign but what are the Russians doing? And in a sense, unfortunately, what they were trying to do is protect our political system and protect the campaign.”

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“They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said. “Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence which is what they do.”

Behar responded by asking Clapper, “Well, why doesn’t he like that? He should be happy.”

“He should be,” Clapper said.

Watch:

In another tweet posted Wednesday morning, Trump suggested the mere fact Clapper used the word “spy” is a scandal in its own right — ignoring the fact Clapper used it to deny Trump’s allegation that his campaign was the target of improper surveillance.

Trump has falsified quotes on a number of occasions already this year. In a tweet posted in March, he twisted former FBI Director James Comey’s words in a  misleading effort to make it seem like Comey lied under oath. On separate occasions in February, Trump doctored quotes by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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Trump also has a history of manipulating Brennan’s words for his own ends. Last year, Trump repeatedly cited Brennan’s comments during a Meet the Press interview about how he was not aware of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia as evidence that he was exonerated of wrongdoing.

But as Clapper quickly clarified, his comment merely reflected that he wasn’t looped in about the FBI’s active investigation into the Trump campaign. Nonetheless, even after Clapper clarified, Trump administration officials kept citing his Meet the Press comments as though they exonerated the president.

Clapper has since said that in his view, the scandal surrounding Trump’s connections with Russia is even bigger than Watergate.