White House Lawyer Joins Secret Briefings About FBI Informant

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC was not in the meetings but, in a radio interview Friday, broke with the president to say a "confidential informant is not a spy", though he cautioned about investigations into campaigns.

The woman who oversaw the Obama White House's response to the Russian election attack said she was never briefed on the FBI's use of an informant to investigate the Trump campaign and that it was "ridiculous" for President Trump to claim that the matter amounted to "one of the biggest political scandals in USA history". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News he had learned "nothing particularly surprising", but declined to go into detail.

What happened: Trump continued hammering away at the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over his unproven claim that a "spy" had been embedded in his campaign "for political purposes".

For over a year, Donald Trump has maintained that the Robert Mueller probe is a "witch hunt" concocted by the Democrats to stain the integrity of his administration. Trump and his allies have focused on the use of the informant. The invite list evolved up until hours before the meeting - a reflection of the partisan distrust and the political wrangling. Democrats immediately criticized the move, accusing the GOP of politicizing intelligence by initially excluding Democrats from the classified briefing.

"I haven't seen any yet but maybe there is, and if it's there, we'll find it and we want to know about it", said Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican.

Also attending the meeting were FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Edward O'Callaghan, a top Justice Department Official.

Giuliani adds the White House may urge the Justice Department "to re-evaluate" the investigation.

In recent days, Trump has been zeroing in on and sometimes embellishing reports that a longtime USA government informant approached members of his campaign during the presidential election in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election.

Trump intensified his attacks Thursday, tweeting that it was "Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history".

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In the interview, he conceded that one of the technology companies' major objections to giving USA authorities special access - that it would then have to do the same for governments in Russia, China and elsewhere - was "reasonable". They brought documents to Capitol Hill but did not share them, and made several remarks about the importance of protecting intelligence sources and methods.

"If they insist upon carrying out this farce, the White House and its Republican allies in the House will do permanent, longstanding damage to the practice of bipartisan congressional oversight of intelligence", Warner said. For months, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, and other Trump allies in Congress had been really pressing the Justice Department and the FBI for some very, very sensitive materials related to the Russian Federation investigation.

He defended Flood's attendance at the briefings Thursday.

Kelly is expected to go to the Justice Department to lay the groundwork of what the goal is of the meeting and to make sure there is some sort of resolution so that the members are satisfied.

To ease concerns that the meeting was merely a fishing expedition to help Trump discredit the Mueller investigation and defend himself from potential legal jeopardy Sarah Sanders assured reporters on Tuesday that no one from the White House would attend the meeting with Nunes.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Nunes and the other members of the intelligence committees are simply doing their work as appropriate. Trump has routinely broken norms about how the White House interacts with the Justice Department, which is supposed to have a degree of independence. The request for the latest documents are the latest in a series of subpoenas to the Justice Department for sensitive information.

Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday on CBS that he also hasn't seen evidence that there was an embedded spy in the Trump campaign.

Trump on Friday issued a string of accusatory Twitter messages asserting that the use of the informant was part of a political plot against him.

It remains unclear what, if any, spying was done.