DOJ offers new briefing as lawmakers dispute spy claim
Trying to combat President Donald Trump’s allegations of misconduct, the Justice Department is offering lawmakers a new look at classified documents next week on the FBI’s use of an informant in the Russia investigation.
The move comes as Republican congressional leaders are publicly disputing Trump’s claims that the government planted a spy in his 2016 campaign “to help Crooked Hillary win” – a reference to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Three senior Republicans who have been briefed on the matter, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have now said they have not seen evidence that the FBI acted inappropriately. Still, Ryan said Wednesday there is “more digging to do.”
Trump has been lashing out at the FBI amid reports that a longtime U.S. government informant approached members of his 2016 campaign to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election. Branding the effort “spygate” on Twitter, Trump said it was “starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history.”
Late Wednesday, a senior Justice Department official said the department and the FBI would offer another briefing to lawmakers – the third briefing after two last month – to the so-called “Gang of 8,” which includes congressional leaders from both parties and the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees. The official said they would provide new materials and also “the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing.”