White House: GOP lawmakers meeting Justice officials Thursday


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats met Monday with Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Reps. Schiff and other committee Democrats were furious and argued that Republicans had not subpoenaed many witnesses they considered essential to the committee's work.

Sanders said Democrats weren't included in the meeting because they hadn't requested the records themselves, and suggested reporters ask them why they should be "randomly invited".

House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., warned Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that revealing the source's identity or other information "could compromise the investigation". There's a bipartisan mechanism called the Gang of 8.

In the meantime, Trump and closely aligned Republicans in Congress have flipped the tables on the politically damaging Russian Federation probe by calling for a new investigation - this time into whether the FBI spied on his presidential campaign in its own bid to sway the 2016 election.

The meeting on Thursday is the latest development in the escalating row between Trump, the DoJ and Republicans over the FBI's use of a confidential source to make contact with Trump campaign advisers during the presidential election. Trump and his allies have sought to cast that as inappropriate political spying. "If they had spies in my campaign, during my campaign for political purposes, that would be unprecedented in the history of our country". "That would be one of the biggest insults anyone has ever seen".

During a meeting Monday with Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray also reiterated an announcement late Sunday that the Justice Department's inspector general will expand an existing investigation into the Russian Federation probe by examining whether there was any improper politically motivated surveillance. Justice Department officials have been reluctant to turn over the materials, though on Monday, after meeting with Trump at the White House, they reached an agreement to have another gathering where lawmakers could review information.

"Trump has engaged over the past year and a half in a series of incremental transgressions of the norms of DOJ independence", says John Bies, who worked in the Justice Department for almost a decade under President Barack Obama and is now chief counsel at American Oversight. Conservative House Republicans unveiled a resolution Tuesday insisting on the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate their growing list of grievances.

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Representative Lee Zeldin, who led the push for the resolution, said it would be introduced later on Tuesday.

Some conservatives are skeptical that Nunes or Gowdy will leave Thursday's meeting with real information.

He dubbed the move to obtain the information "a dramatic and new and destructive low, I think, for the Congress of the United States basically to ignore the warnings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department and potentially risk people's lives".

"If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action", Rosenstein said in a statement announcing the move. "Another meeting without evidence and without actually seeing the documents is worthless".

The Justice Department probe began in March at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and congressional Republicans.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further at a Tuesday news conference, calling on the president to orchestrate Mueller's termination.

All of this puts pressure on special counsel Robert Mueller to conclude his investigation in what has become the most politically charged atmosphere in Washington in decades. The fallout from his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey may have convinced him it is not always wise to act on his angry impulses. "I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing, and I am very frustrated by it".