FBI Had No ‘Clear Criminal Predicate’ for Trump Campaign Snoops

Lester Mason
May 25, 2018

No reporter asked Trump about that.

Democrats said the meetings were conducted in part to assure lawmakers that no intelligence sources or methods were exposed while probing whether an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant spoke with Trump campaign advisers in 2016.

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.

"I've got to find out how high this went because when you look back at the text messages between Peter Strzrok and Lisa Page you see them continuing to reference the (Obama) White House by saying 'The White House is running this, ' and 'The White House wants to know everything, '" he said.

The original meeting was scheduled for just Nunes and Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but the Justice Department relented and allowed additional lawmakers to come after Democrats strongly objected.

Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has been criticized for not reining in House Republican attacks on the Russian Federation inquiry and federal law enforcement, defended the unusual meetings.

Inherent in the Intelligence Committee's "work is the responsibility to ask tough questions of the executive branch", he said in a statement.

The details continued to be fluid Thursday.

Democrats fought successfully to be included after the White House said Wednesday it planned only to brief two top Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and make the bipartisan group wait until after the Memorial Day recess. A White House lawyer, Emmet Flood, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly showed up for both briefings, although the White House had earlier said it would keep a distance, drawing criticism from Democrats.

Separately on Wednesday, Mueller's prosecutors asked a federal judge to start the process of sentencing former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who has been a key witness in the investigation since his plea past year to lying to the FBI. Neither Kelly nor Flood was present for the meetings themselves, according to the White House.

Lawmakers remained uncertain Thursday morning about what material would be shared. Republican allies of Nunes were downplaying expectations that they would be satisfied, and Democrats continued to press for the exchange to be called off.

"For the President of the United States to pressure the Justice Department to reveal details and documents pertaining to an active investigation of the President's campaign, for the goal of denigrating it, is a gross and unprecedented abuse of power", Schumer said in a tweet.

President Donald Trump has branded his latest attempt to discredit the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation as "spygate", part of a newly invigorated strategy embraced by his Republican colleagues to raise suspicions about the probe that has dogged his presidency since the start.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a roundtable on immigration policy at Morrelly Homeland Security Center on May 23 in Bethpage, N.Y.

"Flood actually attended the meetings but did make brief remarks before the meetings started to relay the President's desire for as much openness as possible under the law", Sanders said.

"What is the point of the separate briefing if not to cause partisan trouble?" he said.

This was two years before Donald Trump launched his campaign for President, but not long after Flynn left the Obama administration after criticizing its failures to identify and fight the war Islam has declared on America and the West, as outlined in his must read book The Field of Fight.

The Republican senators did not comment publicly.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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