Democrats say briefings did not support Trump's claim of Federal Bureau of Investigation 'spy'

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 27, 2018

A top congressional Democrat is urging the Justice Department and the FBI to launch a criminal investigation into how a confidential informant's name made its way into media coverage.

Republicans had requested the information for weeks, issuing a subpoena and warning top DOJ officials that if they refused they would hold them contempt of Congress.

The Obama administration placed wiretaps all over the Trump campaign, and we are just now learning that it now appears as though wiretaps put in place by foreign countries were part of the operation.

The president intensified his attacks on the probe this week, calling it "spygate" and tweeting Thursday that it was "Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in United States history". He says, "James Comey was one of them".

Trump - without citing evidence - named his latest attempt at discrediting special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe "Spygate".

"They were spying on - a term I don't particularly like but - what the Russians were doing", Clapper said.

News reported late a year ago that "in the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russian Federation, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign".

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.

But Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a stalwart Trump supporter and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, declined to speak to reporters about whether the material reviewed at the briefing supported the president's statements.

The presence of a White House lawyer, Emmet Flood, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly at the outset of the briefings raised immediate alarms from Democrats, who said they were concerned officials could use information from the meetings to the president's legal advantage.

An investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the disclosure of onetime Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame shook the George W. Bush White House.

Democrats had asserted it was inappropriate that Nunes and Gowdy be granted their own briefing, though that was largely before Schiff was allowed to attend the earlier briefing.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read a statement for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. "That is why we have insisted and will continue to insist on Congress's constitutional right to information necessary for the conduct of oversight".

Trump could order the department to turn over documents, though some fear that could provoke a potentially catastrophic confrontation - with Justice Department leaders quitting in protest or refusing the order and forcing Trump to fire them. Lindsey Graham of SC and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas - also tried to push for access to the materials. 13 Angry Democrats, and all Dems if you include the people who worked for Obama for 8 years. A second briefing, which took place two hours later in a secure space on Capitol Hill, included the Gang of 8 - minus Speaker Ryan, who cited a scheduling conflict.

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