President Donald Trump suggested that the FBI failed to stop the horrific Parkland, Florida school shooting because it was “spending too much time” investigating Russia’s involvement in his narrow 2016 election victory.
The claim is both demonstrably false and hypocritical, given his own frequent demands for investigations of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump made the argument in a tweet late Saturday night:
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
While the bureau has acknowledged that it did not follow up on a tip about the Parkland shooter, as the Washington Post noted, the FBI resources being devoted to investigating any coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s regime “should not have had any direct effect on the FBI’s response in Florida” as bureau sources said the tip was “reported to a call-center supervisor” but “never reached agents who would do an investigation.” The agents working on the Russia investigation would not likely have otherwise been staffing the public tip-line.
Moreover, Trump’s sudden concern with “the basics” flies in the face of his demands throughout the 2016 campaign and his presidency that another investigation should be launched into Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
If I win-I am going to instruct my AG to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation bc there's never been anything like your lies.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Indeed after Trump publicly chastised his own attorney general for not launching an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and its relationship with the Democratic National Committee last November and after Trump’s legal team demanded an investigation into the widely debunked Uranium One conspiracy theory last December, the FBI reportedly did begin an investigation into the dealings of the Clinton Foundation — even though a previous investigation was closed in 2016 due to lack of evidence. Trump has yet to denounce that inquiry nor claimed they are “spending too much time” on it. And his December claim that he has an “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” would indicate that he could have directed more resources to the public tip-lines.
If Trump was really concerned that the FBI was distracted by its political investigations, the outrage was short-lived. Less than eight hours later, he fired off yet another tweet, complaining that the FBI did not investigate the Obama administration’s payment of an arbitration claim to Iran.