Trump not backing down on 'spy' allegations

Trump not backing down on 'spy' allegations

CNN reported Thursday that investigators have asked associates of Stone, an informal adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign, about his finances, including Stone's tax returns.

House and Senate lawmakers from both parties are set to meet with top intelligence officials Thursday as President Donald Trump raises new suspicions about the federal investigation into his 2016 campaign.

Reversing its earlier position, the White House allowed top Democrats to join Republicans for two meetings Thursday. The response was a highly secretive process that she said was further complicated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to go along with a bipartisan warning about the Russian efforts.

President Donald Trump is twisting the words of his predecessor's national intelligence director as part of his stepped-up effort to trash the credibility of the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation.

Trump's defenders in Congress and in the conservative news media insist that law enforcement and USA intelligence services should stay out of partisan politics.

The guest lists were uncertain even hours before the meetings were to take place.

The action then shifted to the US Capitol where Federal Bureau of Investigation director Chris Wray, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the Russian Federation investigation, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats helped brief the so-called Gang of Eight. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in US history.

"It should be very easy to brief us", Giuliani said. They brought documents but did not share them, and made several remarks about the importance of protecting intelligence sources and methods. "I support both of them, and I don't really have anything to add to this subject based upon the Gang of Eight briefing that we had today, which was classified". Nunes, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, met at the White House.

After Democratic complaints and negotiations that went into the late evening Wednesday, the White House said it would also give a second briefing to a group of lawmakers known as the "Gang of Eight" immediately after the briefing for the two House Republicans.

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Nunes and other Republicans already eager to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation used Trump's complaints to obtain the briefing from the Justice Department, whose leaders have tried for months to balance demands from congressional overseers against their stated obligation to protect Mueller's ongoing investigation into ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

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.

"The White House's plan to provide a separate briefing for their political allies demonstrates that their interest is not in informing Congress, but in undermining an ongoing criminal investigation", Warner said in a statement. He did not attend the second meeting, citing a scheduling conflict.

Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's attorneys, told The Associated Press on Friday that the White House hopes to get a readout of the materials next week.

Democrats objected after Sanders announced Tuesday that they would not be invited, and a trio of influential Republicans - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, Sen.

At Trump's request, the Justice Department asked its inspector general on Sunday to explore the allegation of political spying.

If the Justice Department judges some information to be too sensitive to release, it shouldn't change its opinion simply because the president applies pressure. It is common practice for the FBI to use confidential sources to help advance investigations, and they are not considered spies.

The Justice Department agreed by expanding an open, internal investigation to determine whether there was any politically motivated surveillance.

It remained unclear what, if any, spying was done. The White House has given no evidence to support Trump's claim that the Obama administration was trying to spy on his 2016 campaign for political reasons.

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