In a strong rebuke of Presiden Donald Trump’s efforts to discredit the Russia investigation by linking the the FBI’s failure to act on a tip about the accused Florida shooter, GOP Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) issued a blunt statement Sunday, saying that the school shooting is “a separate issue” from the bureau’s focus on the Russia probe.
“I think we have to separate the issue, without any question. The first issue is, in fact, that the FBI missed an opportunity to weigh in heavily and perhaps prevent something from happening. That is a tragedy that should be investigated,” Scott told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Descending into a tweetstorm Saturday, Trump claimed that the FBI is “spending too much time” on the Russia probe, suggesting it could be why the bureau did not follow up on a tip about the accused shooter who allegedly killed 17 people last week at a South Florida high school.
“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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!”
The FBI in a statement last week acknowledged it did not follow “protocols” after a tip was phoned in last January. The tip was received about the accused shooter never made it to the bureau’s Miami field office.
“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the bureau said.
Scott said Congressional oversight of the FBI’s failure will probe where the bureau went wrong.
“A separate issue is how they spend their time, and whether or not the time is well spent on this Russian situation,” Scott said. “I will tell you that from my perspective, that so many folks in the FBI are doing all that they can to keep us safe, the reality of it is that they are two separate issues.”