Friday, 22 June, 2018

Justice to hold bipartisan briefing Thursday

ImageRod J. Rosenstein the deputy attorney general ImageRod J. Rosenstein the deputy attorney general
Gerardo Duncan | 26 May, 2018, 03:03

The briefings were convened to allow the lawmakers to review classified information relating to Trump's unsubstantiated allegation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration "implanted" a spy for "political purposes" into his 2016 presidential campaign to help Clinton.

Trump's firing of Comey has spawned an investigation into whether he obstructed justice by removing the head of the FBI as it investigated his campaign.

A number of GOP lawmakers and USA intelligence officials will meet Thursday to review classified information about the source.

Ryan said he told the administration that whatever briefing is held for Republicans should also be given to Democrats.

The first of Thursday's meetings was originally intended for two Republicans, Nunes and Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy.

"Inherent in the committee's work is the responsibility to ask tough questions of the executive branch", Ryan said.

The details continued to be fluid Thursday.

Trump's lead lawyer countering Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, Emmet Flood, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were also allowed to attend the opening of both briefings, a move Democrats decried as a disturbing breach of protocol.

The meeting scheduled for Thursday was encouraged by Trump and brokered by the White House.

It is unclear what information will be shared during the briefing.

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A congressional source told ABC the network that Flood and Kelly delivered remarks at the top of the second meeting, "it was expressed to them how inappropriate their presence was".

Some Republicans in the House are calling for another special counsel to be named to investigate special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe and for the informant to be identified.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, held two unusual classified briefings for senior lawmakers of both parties in the wake of the Republican president's claim.

This outraged Democrats, who demanded that at least one member of the opposition party be included in the first meeting, so as to ensure that the administration was sharing the same information with Nunes as it was with the Gang of Eight.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who sat in on the meeting on Capitol Hill, confirmed the White House's account. "They're the same briefing", he said.

However, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, eventually joined them after an outcry that the meeting would be partisan.

The Republican senators did not comment publicly.

"Everyone knows there was a spy, and in fact, the people who were involved in the spying are admitting that there was a spy.Widespread spying involving multiple people", Trump said quoting Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway, in a tweet.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump argued that this could be "one of the biggest political scandals in history". Information about Papadopoulos' contact with people linked to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign triggered the FBI counterintelligence investigation that Mueller took over. Clinton and many other Democrats are convinced James Comey, as President Barack Obama's FBI chief, actually helped Trump by disclosing a renewed criminal investigation into Clinton's handling of emails close to the 2016 election while keeping quiet about the nascent investigation of Trump aides at that time.

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