Democrats will be allowed inside the top secret White House meeting where law enforcement and intelligence officials plan to reveal information about the use of an FBI informant during the 2016 campaign.
The White House gave into demands from party leaders to be in the room and is expected to invite the ‘Gang of 8,’ a bipartisan group of House and Senate leadership to attend, ABC News reported.
The details are still being worked out and the gathering may happen after the next congressional recess, which ends on June 4, instead of Thursday.
Representatives Devin Nunes, chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, and Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, will be briefed on Thursday as scheduled, CNN reported, while the bipartisan meeting will happen when Congress returns to Washington DC next month.
‘This meeting is completely improper,’ said Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi before the White House decided to include Democrats in the briefing.
The ‘Gang of 8,’ which includes the Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate as well as the top party members from the House and Senate intelligence committees, will be invited to the meeting on the use of an FBI informant during the 2016 campaign.
The ‘Gang of 8’ includes the Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate as well as the top Republican and Democrat from the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Democratic leaders had blasted their party’s exclusion as ‘completely improper.’
‘This meeting is completely improper in its proposed form and would set a damaging precedent for our institutions and the rule of law,’ wrote Senate minority leader Charles Schumer of New York and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
The meeting comes after Trump went all-in on his claims of FBI ‘spying’ on his campaign, which he called ‘spygate.’
His own angry tweets followed revelations the FBI relied on a confidential informant who made contact with the Trump camp to probe connections between the campaign and Russians.
‘It looks like a very serious event. But we’ll find out when they look at the documents. I think people are going to see a lot of bad things happened. I hope it’s not so. Because if it is, there’s never been anything like it in the history of our country,’ Trump said Wednesday.
Trump spoke about what he calls ‘spygate’ at the White House
YOU’RE INVITED! House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), whose panel wrapped up its Russia probe, will be at the meeting
Some Senate Republicans also want in on the meeting. They include Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Majority whip Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
The senators wrote in a letter, obtained by the Washington Post, that their ‘interest in attending such a meeting and in support of providing Congress with documents necessary to conduct oversight of these issues.’
Trump’s closest conservative allies in Congress have been clamoring for access to the classified documents. The lawmakers have accused the FBI and Department of Justice of political bias against Trump in favor of Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his successful presidential campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan are expected to attend the briefing, according to White House spokesman Sarah Sanders. She said Chief of Staff John Kelly, who set up the meeting, was not expected to attend.
At least 18 Republican lawmakers signed onto a resolution calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate the department and the FBI, accusing them of misconduct as Trump campaigned two years ago against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined comment.
Conservatives have been criticizing the department, the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the election for months. Their rhetoric intensified after Trump suggested on Friday that the FBI might have planted or recruited an informant in his presidential campaign for political purposes.
Moscow denies election meddling and Trump denies any collusion between Russian officials and his campaign, calling investigations a political witch hunt.
On Monday, the Justice Department agreed to investigate ‘any irregularities’ in FBI tactics related to Trump’s campaign. The agreement was made during a meeting between Trump, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Wray.
‘It is time for transparency and it is time to allow the American people to know the truth,’ Representative Mark Meadows, the Republican who leads the conservative Freedom Caucus, told a news conference announcing the resolution.
Representative Lee Zeldin, who led the push for the resolution, said it would be introduced later on Tuesday.
Zeldin, Meadows and about a dozen other Republicans in the House of Representatives insisted at a news conference announcing the resolution that Trump had not requested a new counsel.
They also called for access, for Democrats as well as Republicans, to all documents related to the case.
There was no immediate response from House leadership aides on whether the measure might come up for a vote. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said repeatedly, however, that he believed Mueller should be allowed to continue his work.