2016 ELECTION/FBI/JUSTICE DEPARTMENT/OBAMA ADMIN/ROBERT MUELLER/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump and his supporters are circulating an explosive theory: The FBI, they say, may have planted a mole, or ‘spy,’ inside the 2016 campaign to bring him down. The unverified allegation has lit up conservative media and earned space on Trump’s Twitter feed just as special counsel Robert Mueller enters his second year in the Russia probe. But where did the allegation come from? The AP takes a look at what we know so far and how Trump has used similar claims in the past to try to discredit the Russia investigation. Trump and his supporters have long floated the idea of an opposing ‘deep state’ at the Justice Department and the FBI, including allegations that President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps on his phones during the election. The Justice Department denied such a wiretap, and House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter, later confirmed that an Obama-ordered wiretap never existed. But like many conspiracy theories, it appeared to grow out of a less sensational truth: U.S. surveillance on foreign officials — a common practice in the world of spycraft — likely picked up what’s called ‘incidental’ communications with Americans in Trump’s orbit. That included former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition.”

-Anne Flaherty, “AP Explains: What’s behind Trump’s FBI spy theory?,” The Associated Press, May 18, 2018 11:58 am