Trump suggests FBI failed to look into Florida shooting suspect because it was ‘spending too much time’ on the Russia investigation

U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One departing for travel to Florida from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2018.

caption
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One departing for travel to Florida from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2018.
source
Reuters/Leah Millis

  • President Donald Trump said the FBI “missed” warning signs about the suspected Florida shooter and was “spending too much time” on the Russia investigation.
  • The bizarre theory has been floated by prominent far-right Twitter users in recent days.
  • The FBI employs roughly 35,000 people and works on multiple investigations simultaneously.

President Donald Trump made a stunning suggestion Saturday that the FBI “missed” warning signs about the Florida high-school shooter because the agency was instead investigating Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable,” Trump said in a late-night Saturday tweet. “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!”

Trump isn’t the first to suggest the bizarre theory – prominent far-right Twitter users have speculated for several days that the FBI was too busy undermining Trump to follow up on investigating potential threats.

The FBI employs more than 35,000 people and works on multiple investigations simultaneously, as FBI Director Christopher Wray reminded lawmakers at a Senate hearing in recent days.

Trump, in his tweet, was apparently referring to the FBI’s remarkable admission on Friday that it failed to follow protocol in investigating a tip on 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who allegedly gunned down 17 people at his former high school on Wednesday.

Someone close to Cruz contacted the FBI’s tipline to report details about Cruz’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” the FBI said in a statement.

The agency was supposed to assess the information as a “potential threat to life” and forward it to the FBI Miami field office, but failed to do so. There is no evidence the FBI’s protocol failure was caused by the Russia investigation.

Trump’s tweet also came one day after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities with carrying out “interference operations targeting the United States.”

Trump and his allies were quick to declare his vindication, as deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that there was “no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity” and no allegation that the alleged Russian interference “altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Trump tweeted later on Saturday night that his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, had neglected to make the latter point clear during his speech at an international conference in Munich, Germany, earlier that day.

McMaster had said in the speech that Russian meddling in the US election was beyond dispute.

“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted. “Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”