Breaking News

Trump demands review of Justice Dept., FBI actions in Russia probe

President Trump is demanding a review of the FBI and Justice Department's Russia probe tactics. He wants to know if investigators infiltrated or surveilled his campaign.

“He wants them to turn over the information that exists about the informant to the House and Senate committees — all the memos they have,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said of the meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. between the president, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

The documents, Giuliani said, will "indicate what the informant found." Then, the memos "should be made available to us on a confidential basis," he added. "We should be at least allowed to read them so we know this exculpatory evidence is being preserved.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the meeting and said in an email that the “focus is on the response to congressional requests.” She added that the meeting was scheduled last week. DOJ referred a request for comment to the White House.

Trump’s lawyers also want to interview the FBI officials who made the decision to connect the informant with the campaign.

“It’s the FBI who has the onus for having invaded the campaign,” Giuliani said.

Trump’s demand could place both Rosenstein and Wray in an untenable position: being ordered to breach long-standing DOJ precedent and reveal to Congress details about a secret source.

Justice Department officials have previously argued that such a disclosure to lawmakers would endanger national security and risk lives.

The precise origins of the Russia probe remain unclear. Officials have previously pointed to comments Trump adviser George Papadopoulos allegedly made about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton as touching off the investigation in July 2016. A House GOP memo released earlier this year affirmed this timeline.

But reporting over the weekend in The New York Times and Washington Post said an informant was also talking to Papadopoulos and other Trump figures in 2016. The details have raised questions about what prompted those contacts.

The revelations come amid a tense dispute between the Justice Department and House Republicans who have been seeking details about the informant’s role. Trump referenced that standoff on Saturday, tweeting: “Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!”

The FBI’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump figures would eventually be taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. The intelligence community, and Senate Intelligence Committee, have since declared that Russia did seek to interfere in the election, largely to boost Trump over Hillary Clinton.

No comments