Trump won't say if he has confidence in Rosenstein

Mae Love
May 23, 2018

The FBI and Department of Justice will brief lawmakers Thursday on classified material they have requested relating to the FBI's actions during the 2016 campaign, the White House announced Tuesday.

She said that Kelly's role in the meeting is "coordinating and making sure it took place" but that he didn't plan to attend. The individuals that are expected to attend are Chairman [Devin] Nunes, Chairman [Trey] Gowdy, FBI Director [Christopher] Wray, DNI [Director of National Intelligence] Director [Dan] Coats, and DOJ official Ed O'Callaghan.

Trump asked White House chief of staff John Kelly to set up the meeting, which comes after Justice officials have for months been reluctant to hand over any information on the matter to Republican members. He noted he didn't want possession of these emails, thinking they might be classified documents. "If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country", Trump told reporters Tuesday.

Moscow denies election meddling and Mr. Trump denies any collusion between Russian officials and his campaign, calling investigations a political witch hunt.

Sessions and the lawmakers urged Inspector General Michael Horowitz to review whether Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department officials abused their surveillance powers by using information compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, and paid for by Democrats to justify monitoring Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to Trump.

Mr. Zeldin, Mr. Meadows and about a dozen other Republicans in the House of Representatives insisted at a news conference announcing the resolution that Mr. Trump had not requested a new counsel.

The move stoked some consternation in Congress. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said previously that he expected to be invited and said Democrats being shut out was "another serious abuse of power". He said earlier Tuesday the Justice Department's independent inspector general should have the latitude to follow the investigation "where it needs to go".

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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.

Trump and his supporters say the stories amount to suggestions that President Barack Obama's administration improperly spied on the Trump campaign. It remains unclear exactly what the lawmakers will be allowed to review or if the Justice Department will be providing any documents to Congress. They are now contemplating contempt and impeachment proceedings for Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller's probe, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

White House officials also won't participate.

"But you can't be the one to fire him because we've got some weak-kneed Republicans out there who will come after you for firing the guy who needed firing", he recalled while holding a photo of himself whispering in Trump's ear last summer.

"And he knows that if Americans are fixated on collusion, they aren't concentrating on much else".

"Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here", Trump said, sidestepping the question.

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