The Russia Investigation Was Illegitimate From The Start

Posted May 26, 2018

House and Senate lawmakers from both parties were meeting with top intelligence officials Thursday for classified briefings as President Donald Trump has raised new suspicions about the federal investigation into his 2016 campaign.

"Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols", Adam Schiff, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has branded his latest attempt to discredit the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation as "spygate", part of a newly invigorated strategy embraced by his Republican colleagues to raise suspicions about the probe that has dogged his presidency since the start. Democrats were furious that Emmet Flood, President Trump's lawyer in the Russian Federation investigation, attended both meetings, along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. The briefings were organized by the Justice Department and the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

Even more stunning was White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee's response when asked why Flood, who is not a government employee, and likely does not have a security clearance, was allowed in the room. Giuliani said it would be appropriate for Trump to be briefed about the findings.

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As noted by The Hill, which obtained an audio recording of an unedited audio version of the interview, Bannon's remarks arrive "amid increasing pressure on Rosenstein from Trump and his allies" and as the president has increased what legal experts warn is a troubling pattern of interference with the Justice Department.

Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, expressed concern that many Republicans in Congress are willing to join with Trump's attack on these institutions in a bid to protect Trump and his administration.

Sanders said no White House staffers - including Kelly - will be present at Thursday's meeting.

Initially, the White House had planned for only House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes - its longtime co-conspirator in ginning up politically useful conspiracy theories - to receive this briefing.

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Mr. Ryan, who has been criticized for not reining in House Republican attacks on the Russian Federation inquiry and federal law enforcement, defended the unusual meetings. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr was also invited, along with the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Sen.

In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan wouldn't say what he learned, but said he looked forward to the "prompt completion" of the House Intelligence Committee's work now that they are "getting the cooperation necessary".

The "Gang of 8" includes the Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate as well as the respective party leaders from the House and Senate intelligence committees. "There is not much you can say to this faction, because they refuse to consider the proof".

"If the spying was inappropriate, that means we may have an entirely illegitimate investigation", Giuliani said of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. No evidence has emerged to show that Obama-era authorities placed an informant inside the Trump campaign.

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"Accusations that the FBI was "spying" on the Trump campaign - rather than spying on foreign spies, which is its job - erase the important distinctions between counterintelligence and criminal investigations", Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent who now teaches at Yale Law School, wrote in an op-ed last Sunday in the Washington Post.