Updated May 18, 2018 07:27:09
US President Donald Trump has lent credence to reports that FBI informants infiltrated his presidential campaign, saying "if so, this is bigger than Watergate!"
Mr Trump made the comment on the anniversary of Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to head the Justice Department investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump campaign officials.
Mr Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a "witch hunt".
"Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI 'SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT'," Mr Trump tweeted.
"Andrew McCarthy says, 'There's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.' If so, this is bigger than Watergate!"
Mr McCarthy, a contributing editor at the National Review, wrote an article published last week headlined "Did the FBI Have a Spy in the Trump Campaign?"
The New York Times reported separately this week that at least one government informant met several times with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, both former foreign policy advisers on Mr Trump's Republican campaign.
The newspaper attributed the information to current and former FBI officials.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said if the reports are proved true, "it should certainly be looked into".
The Watergate scandal in the early 1970s occurred following a break-in by five men at Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington and subsequent attempts by the administration of President Richard Nixon to hide its involvement.
Mr Nixon, a Republican, ultimately resigned from office as a result of the ensuing investigation.
Mr Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that the President still wants to testify in the Russia probe.
Speaking Thursday on Fox and Friends, the former New York mayor said Mr Trump would only sit down with Mr Mueller if "we feel there's a way to shorten this thing".
He added Mr Trump remains eager to offer his "side of the case".
Mr Giuliani has been urging Mr Mueller's team to wrap up the investigation now that the probe has reached the one-year mark.
His team has been weighing whether to allow Mr Trump to sit for an interview with Mr Mueller.
He said the legal team was "pretty comfortable, in the circumstances of this case, that they wouldn't be able to subpoena him personally".
While the Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on the subject, it appears that a sitting president could be forced to testify.
First posted May 18, 2018 07:25:49