President Donald Trump says the FBI could have prevented the deadly Florida high school shooting if it was not busy trying to prove his campaign was working with the Russian government.
Late Saturday, Trump said on Twitter:
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
How did this happen?
Last month, the FBI received a call to a tip line that indicated the shooting suspect was hinting of a “desire to kill.” He also had access to guns and could be planning an attack, the tipster told the intelligence agency.
But the FBI did not investigate.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversees the FBI, called for a full review of FBI and Justice Department procedures.
“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures,” Sessions said in a statement. “The FBI, in conjunction with our state and local partners, must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better.”
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump supporter, said FBI Director Christopher Wray should resign.
How did the FBI respond?
In a written statement, the FBI blamed a lack of communication for the botched investigation:
On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. The caller provided information 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.
Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.
We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.
Wray said he is working to find out exactly how the tip was missed.
Seventeen people were killed and 15 were injured Wednesday when Nikolas Cruz allegedly used an AR-15 rifle to open fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.
How does this relate to Russia?
Trump and other Republicans have been on the FBI’s case since it declined to charge Hillary Clinton with crimes over her use of a private email server. Trump and his supporters have also complained about what they say is bias in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Earlier this month, Sessions called for “a fresh start” for the FBI to help win back public trust after its handling of the Clinton email controversy.
On Saturday, Trump also tweeted that Mueller’s indictments into the investigation have not proven a connection between his campaign and Russian operatives.
Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018