White House: US Intel Community to Brief Republicans on Russiagate

Roman Schwartz
May 23, 2018

The meeting, which was not on the White House's public schedule, occurred the day after Trump demanded an investigation over a government informant's meeting with several people connected with his campaign in 2016. Just 26 percent of Republicans said they think the probe is "fair", compared to 79 percent of Democrats. In a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll from April, 84 percent of Republicans said they would vote against a congressional candidate who wants to impeach Trump, and 70 percent of Democrats said they would vote for a candidate who would seek impeachment.

Nunes has demanded the Justice Department hand over records related to the Russian Federation investigation, including the unredacted memo outlining the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's authority and the name of an informant the FBI used when it began a counterintelligence investigation of Trump's campaign in 2016. "That's my guess. We're trying to get clarification from the department", Schiff said. In response, the Justice Department moved to defuse the confrontation by asking its watchdog to investigate whether there was inappropriate surveillance. That situation, they say, "does not result from any explicit constitutional or legislative mandate" but is instead "based on an evolving understanding of prosecutorial independence and professional norms", which serve as "a fundamental check on presidential power".

"What's your next question please?" he said to reporters when asked if he would do so during an extended pool spray in the Oval Office alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in. If he is not careful, the spectacle of an unhinged, unprincipled president treating the DOJ as his personal law firm may yet persuade voters, or even members of Congress, that Trump does not belong in the White House.

Caputo said the Mueller team "never reached out" to his friend to check on the information, or to the contractor.

"It would make probably every political event ever look like small potatoes", he said.

Bruni also expressed his concern the Mueller investigation might not find evidence of collusion between Trump and Russian Federation.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the meeting on Tuesday with House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy.

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"Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here", Trump said, sidestepping the question. The Justice Department has in the past offered classified briefings to Nunes, though they have refused to turn over documents.

"We'll see", Page said.

Trump has reportedly considered firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who now oversees Mueller's probe, or firing Mueller.

The New York Times reported in April Mueller had a long list of questions for the president, including what he knew about any interactions between Kislyak and Flynn, and one of the special counsel's goals was to determine whether or not Trump obstructed justice.

By publicly accusing Rosenstein and Mueller of bias and corruption, Trump could be laying groundwork for firing either of them.

"I think we're going to come out of this meeting feeling a little bit better about where we are", said Rooney, who has not supported calls for a second special counsel in the past.

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