Congressional Democrats, after first staying they were not interested in reviewing the information about a spy placed in the Trump campaign by the FBI, will now be at a briefing today after the allegations have gone viral.
The White House is offering the bipartisan meeting for House and Senate leaders to receive classified information related to the Mueller investigation. The move comes after Democrats changed their minds and began complaining on cable TV they were excluded from what they previously didn’t care to attend which led to the lack of an official invite.
The Democrats will now join Republicans. Known as the Gang of Eight, they will meet with officials representing the Justice Department, law enforcement and intelligence on Thursday afternoon — two hours after the same group of officials will hold a solo meeting with Republican lawmakers.
Thursday’s planned meeting with only House Republicans “will proceed as previously scheduled,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said.
That meeting is expected to cover the use of a spy in the early months of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.
In a new development revealed by the DOJ on Wednesday night, White House chief of staff John Kelly will attend both meetings. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had previously said that he would not attend, although he was brokering the original meeting.
White House officials organized Thursday’s briefing for GOP lawmakers after Trump demanded the Justice Department investigate allegations that the FBI planted a “spy” on his 2016 campaign. New evidence expected to be revealed may show the “spy” has direct connections to the Obama administration and may have been place there on behalf of helping the Hillary Clinton campaign.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), has subpoenaed documents he believes could substantiate those claims.
The “Gang of Eight” includes the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate as well as both parties’ leaders of the House and Senate intelligence panels.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to the Justice Department on Wednesday requesting a briefing for the full “gang,” but they wanted it in lieu of the GOP-only briefing.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the initial decision to leave Democrats out was because they had not requested the information and therefore did not deserve to be “randomly invited.”
Trump’s critics had feared that if only Republicans were allowed to view the information, they could use it for political purposes.
The dueling briefings are highly unusual in intelligence oversight and signal the depths of partisan rancor on the House intel panel.
–From wire services