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Lawmakers are briefed on Trump ‘spy’ claim

Lawmakers are briefed on Trump ‘spy’ claim

Two much anticipated congressional briefings on the FBI's use of an informant in the investigation into potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016 featured an unusual guest on Thursday: Donald Trump's lawyer Emmet Flood. But, after complaints by both parties, they added a second session for top Democrats and Republicans.

Trump also suggested Comey could come in for problems when the Justice Department's Inspector General issues a report on the FBI's conduct in the Hillary Clinton and Russian Federation probes during the campaign. In fact, I had an aversion to the use of the term, and I thought I made that clear.

The president intensified his attacks on the probe this week, calling it "spygate" and tweeting Thursday that it was "Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in USA history". "James Comey was one of them", Trump said. On the other hand, Trump has an obvious motivation to discredit the special counsel's ongoing investigation into his inner circle - and a long history of fabricating baseless conspiracies as a means of doing so.

Trump's "spy" comments marked his latest attack on the FBI at a time when he feels mounting pressure from the ongoing investigation by Mueller, appointed a year ago by the Justice Department, into potential collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russian Federation and whether he has committed obstruction of justice. Trump tweeted on May 20. Clinton and many other Democrats are convinced James Comey, as President Barack Obama's FBI chief, actually helped Trump by disclosing a renewed criminal investigation into Clinton's handling of emails close to the 2016 election while keeping quiet about the nascent investigation of Trump aides at that time.

Judy Woodruff: "President Trump said this morning, regarding allegation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used an informant during the 2016 campaign, he said: 'I hope it's not so, but if it is, there's never been anything like it in the history of our country.' "He went on to say, 'If you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign, inadvertently".

Neither Kelly nor Flood was present for the meetings themselves, according to the White House.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., attended the briefings and called Flood's presence "completely inappropriate", a sentiment he did not hide from Flood during the briefings.

"If they insist upon carrying out this farce, the White House and its Republican allies in the House will do permanent, longstanding damage to the practice of bipartisan congressional oversight of intelligence, " he said.

Before the noon briefing, Rep. Gowdy told CBS News, without elaborating, "There are certain things you can only learn from documents and certain things you can learn from briefings". After Democrats complained about being excluded, Ryan and Schiff were invited.

The Justice Department let the White House take the lead on arranging logistics, and initially, it seemed the Gang of Eight would be left out or briefed at a later date. Justice officials, though, knew they could not rightfully limit the materials to only Republicans, and at the very least, Schiff would have to be briefed shortly after Nunes, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Late Wednesday night, those involved agreed on a briefing for Nunes and Gowdy, and then a briefing for the Gang of Eight immediately after.

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