Giuliani says informant info key to giving Mueller interview

May 30, 2018, 05:20
Giuliani says informant info key to giving Mueller interview

And Trump's lawyers may take the information to the Justice Department as part of an effort to scuttle the ongoing special counsel probe.

In recent days, Trump has been zeroing in on and sometimes embellishing reports that a longtime US government informant approached members of his campaign during the presidential election in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election.

The argument that Halper was a spy planted in Trump's campaign, though, early on suffers from two significant flaws.

The Justice Department announced it will host the first briefing at noon on Thursday with those two Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., followed two hours later by the bipartisan briefing. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC was not in the meetings but, in a radio interview Friday, broke with the president to say a "confidential informant is not a spy", though he cautioned about investigations into campaigns. The second, which lasted slightly longer on Capitol Hill, went to the Gang of Eight, which includes the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence committees.

Flood and White House chief of staff John Kelly attended the start of the briefings before leaving.

It remained unclear what, if any, spying was done. The White House has given no evidence to support Trump's claim that the Obama administration was trying to spy on his 2016 campaign for political reasons. So far, four Trump associates have been charged in Mueller's investigation; three have pleaded guilty to lying to the authorities. Trump and his allies have focused on the use of the informant.

He went on to debut the term "Spygate" on Wednesday, despite its previous associations with a 2007 National Football League scandal over videotaping coaches.

But little stood in Trump's way on Monday when he pressured intelligence and law enforcement officials in a White House meeting.

Nunes, at least officially, was requesting the documents in his role of Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which has the power to conduct oversight over the intelligence community. "Because that was happening before the FBI actually opened an investigation". Trump has always been angered by his decision to appoint Mueller as a special counsel, and particularly enraged by Rosenstein signing off on an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid of Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Mueller's lawyers had redacted information from two affidavits used to get search warrants in the Manafort investigation.

On Twitter, Trump suggested that the tables had turned on those investigating his campaign for possible collusion with Russian Federation, writing: "What goes around, comes around!"

Thus, if Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because he didn't trust him or because he wanted his own person in that job, that was his presidential prerogative, but Trump's objective was corrupt if he fired Comey because Comey would not deny that the president was the subject of a criminal investigation - a basis for firing surprisingly offered publicly by one of the president's own lawyers.

Trump responded, "How is he going to explain to his grandchildren all of the lies, the deceit, all of the problems he's caused for this country?"

Comey said he could not comment directly on the claim, floated this week by Trump and Republican supporters in Congress. The Justice Department had resisted sharing information, saying it jeopardized the source.

"SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!"

Well, let's give that "demand" the "What if Obama." test: What if Obama had demanded an investigation of investigators who happened to be investigating him for possible wrongdoing?

Reiterating what he writes in his book, Clapper said Wednesday that he thinks that the Russians "did have a profound effect on the election" given how close the electoral college results were and the "massive" effort Russia mounted to sow discourse among Americans using social media.

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