Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Don't miss what Donald Trump is doing with his 'spy' allegations

Don't miss what Donald Trump is doing with his 'spy' allegations

Haines said the Federal Bureau of Investigation briefed the National Security Council "on a regular basis" about what she termed "counterintelligence issues" but that it had not told the council that any formal probe of the Trump campaign had been initiated.

The president aggressively shot back at critics who have slammed his decision to cancel the planned North Korea summit, as well as his use of the term "animals" when referring to violent gangs entering the USA illegally, a term the White House has consistently defended.

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the F.B.I.'s role in the Russian Federation inquiry, during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Washington.

And in a surprise development, the president's new lawyer handling the Russian Federation investigation, Emmet Flood, attended and participated in at least part of the briefings as did White House chief of staff John Kelly, sources confirmed to ABC News. And Trump took up the cause as the White House tries to combat the threat posed by Mueller's investigation.

President Donald Trump's legal team wants a briefing on the classified information passed on to lawmakers about the origins of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation and may take it to the Justice Department as part of an effort to scuttle the probe, an attorney for the president said Friday.

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"His presence only underscores what Rudy Giuliani said: the President's legal team expects to use information gleaned improperly from the Justice Department or the President's allies in Congress to their legal advantage", Schiff said. "The White House has every right to know, the president has every right to know as commander-in-chief".

Whether Trump will agree to be interviewed as part of the probe remains uncertain.

Senior Justice Department and intelligence officials met with the lawmakers Thursday in a bid to end the standoff between House Republicans and the Justice Department over a confidential intelligence source in the Russian Federation investigation. He previously had said that a decision would not be made about an interview until after Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a meeting the president cancelled Thursday but the White House is open to reviving. Trump canceled that meeting on Thursday, but it may still take place. He said, "Giuliani is just wrong on this point".

An initial Thursday briefing at the Department of Justice was meant to be only for Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

The two House lawmakers - Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy - will attend both briefings, as will Kelly, Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr was also invited, along with the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Sen.

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Democrats have argued that the briefings never should have happened in the first place, charging that Republicans were seeking information in order to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

The meetings are the result of a subpoena Nunes issued earlier this month demanding classified documents related to the source, a request the Justice Department denied over national security concerns. Ryan didn't attend that meeting.

"The Democrats are now alluding to the concept that having an informant placed in an opposing party's campaign is different than having a spy, as illegal as that may be".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NPR after the meeting that he still supports the Mueller investigation and another one by the Justice Department's inspector general into FBI actions during the election.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, joined Gowdy and Nunes in the initial briefing at noon, at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's request after Democrats were initially excluded by the White House.

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In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan wouldn't say what he learned, but said he looked forward to the "prompt completion" of the House Intelligence Committee's work now that they are "getting the cooperation necessary". The FBI director at the time was James Comey, and while we heard plenty about Clinton's emails before the vote, we had no idea that such a mature investigation of the Trump campaign was underway.

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