Media accuse Trump of lying about ‘SPYGATE’ despite Clapper admission

Several prominent members of the mainstream media are accusing President Trump of lying about former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitting that there were spies in the campaign two days after Clapper said there were spies in his campaign.  

Clapper admitted informants were “spying,” but said the focus was on Russians and their potential ties to the campaign — which many insiders claimed was splitting hairs.

“They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence which is what they do,” Clapper said Tuesday on ABC News’ “The View,” when asked if FBI informants were spying on Trump’s campaign.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar fired back, “Well, why doesn’t he like that? He should be happy.”

“He should be,” Clapper responded.

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle said Trump was “lying” because Clapper “never” admitted there was spying in his campaign, and quoted Trump’s Thursday morning tweet that said, “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE - a terrible thing!”

“THIS IS A LIE. @realDonald Trump is Lying. James Clapper NEVER said this,” Ruhle tweeted.

Trump’s tweet says, “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign,” and Clapper literally said they were “spying” inside Trump’s campaign.

Trump did not disclose in this particular tweet what information the FBI was seeking to obtain by infiltrating his campaign — so is it fair to label the president a liar based on this tweet?

The phrase “in my campaign” is not the same thing as “on my campaign,” but Ruhle isn’t the only member of the anti-Trump media to run with this narrative.

NPR’s headline stated ”FACT CHECK: No, Clapper Has Not ‘Admitted That There Was Spying’ On Trump Campaign,” while Vox wrote, “Trump tweets James Clapper admitted to spying on his presidential campaign. He didn’t.”

The Vox subhead stated, “Trump lied in a tweet, saying the former director of national intelligence admitted there was a spy in his 2016 campaign,” and the body of the story featured the same tweet that Ruhle quoted.

The New York Times published a headline, “Trump Repeats Claim That James Clapper ‘Admitted’ to Campaign Spying. It’s Still Wrong.” The Times’ story included the very same tweet.

Earlier this week, Trump sent tweets with other accusations and details about his proclamation that the FBI spied on his campaign — including that a spy was “put there by the previous Administration for political purposes.”

While that theory has not been admitted by Clapper, Americans will have to decide for themselves whether the president was being truthful during Thursday's Twitter storm.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.