House conservatives call for second special counsel to probe DOJ, FBI

Gerardo Harmon
May 23, 2018

Just two Republican lawmakers will be allowed to review classified information about a confidential FBI source who aided the investigation into the Trump campaign at a meeting Thursday with Justice Department and intelligence officials, a White House spokeswoman said Tuesday. The individuals that are expected to attend are Chairman [Devin] Nunes, Chairman [Trey] Gowdy, FBI Director [Christopher] Wray, DNI [Director of National Intelligence] Director [Dan] Coats, and DOJ official Ed O'Callaghan.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the meeting on Tuesday with House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy.

On Sunday Trump demanded an investigation following initial reports about the informant, leading the DOJ to direct Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate whether agents surveiled the campaign for political purposes, and if they were instructed to do so by the Obama administration.

Meadows and others have said the Justice Department has been unconscionably slow to furnish records related to the FBI's scrutiny of Trump's campaign, even under subpoena. His demand came after reports that the FBI's investigation of alleged links between Trump and the Kremlin relied partly on informants who were connected with the campaign. Trump's motivation-discrediting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of ties between his campaign and the Russian government-was clearly political.

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"It's clear that they're only taking the position of the FBI on this and the Democratic Party... which is that Trump is trying to block the investigation into his alleged collusion with Russia", Lauria told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. She said the officials will "review highly classified and other information they have requested", but did not provide additional detail.

Trump and Vice President Pence's re-election campaign alluded to their pressure on the Justice Department in a fundraising email on Monday: "This could be the greatest political scandal in American history", the campaign wrote to supporters.

Without substantiation, Trump tweeted in March 2017 that former President Barack Obama had conducted surveillance the previous October at Trump Tower, the NY skyscraper where Trump ran his campaign and transition and maintains a residence.

Conservatives have been criticizing the department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the election for months.

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Mueller, a registered Republican, was appointed by Republican deputy attorney general Rob Rosenstein to investigate Russia's actions in the presidential election.

"It's even worse when the president and his campaign are subject to that investigation". In response, the Justice Department moved to defuse the confrontation by asking its watchdog to investigate whether there was inappropriate surveillance. They are now contemplating contempt and impeachment proceedings for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller's probe, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Either way, Trump appears to have accomplished what he wanted from this dust-up. Asked if he would take part, he told CNN: "I presume I am, but I don't know exactly what they have in mind".

In the 1960s, it was NY mobster Joe Valachi who peeled back the inner workings of the crime families who employed him.

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It isn't clear how much the IG report could touch on the Russian Federation investigation, which was still in its earlier stages at the time when much of the action on the Clinton case was taking place in 2016. The release of the full document is likely to invite new calls for potential criminal charges against McCabe and possibly former FBI Director James Comey.

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