Trump Boosts Pressure on DOJ 05/23 06:12
President Donald Trump is increasing the pressure on the Justice Department,
declining to say whether he has confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod
Rosenstein after the White House negotiated rare access to classified documents
for Trump's congressional allies.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is increasing the pressure on the
Justice Department, declining to say whether he has confidence in Deputy
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the White House negotiated rare access to
classified documents for Trump's congressional allies.
Asked before a private meeting Tuesday with the president of South Korea if
he has confidence in Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel's Russia
investigation, he told reporters to move on to another question.
"Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here," Trump said. "He
doesn't want to hear these questions, if you don't mind."
The comments came just before White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee
Sanders announced that a meeting to allow House Republicans to review highly
classified information on the Russia probe will happen Thursday.
Sanders said FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Intelligence Director
Dan Coats and Justice Department official Edward O'Callaghan will meet with
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight and
Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy.
Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter, has been demanding information on an FBI
source in the Russia investigation, according to the Justice Department. And
Trump has taken up the cause as the White House tries to combat the threat
posed by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties
between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Trump said Tuesday it would be a "disgrace" to the country if it's shown
that the FBI had spies in his campaign, and that would "make probably every
political event ever look like small potatoes."
Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "The spy was there early in the campaign and
yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion."
In a tweet Sunday, Trump demanded that the Justice Department investigate
whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign and "if any such demands
or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"
In response to Trump's tweet, the Justice Department said it would expand an
open, internal investigation into the ongoing Russia probe by examining whether
there was any politically motivated surveillance. The White House then said
Monday that Trump chief of staff John Kelly would organize the meeting to
review the documents.
Sanders said no White House staffers --- including Kelly --- will be present
at Thursday's meeting. She said no Democrats were invited because they had not
requested the information, despite calls from lawmakers for the briefing to be
The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam
Schiff, said the briefing should have been done through the bipartisan "Gang of
8," which includes Republican and Democratic leaders and the top Republicans
and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence panels. That group regularly
receives classified briefings.
The New York Times was the first to report that the FBI had an informant who
met several times with Trump campaign officials who had suspicious contacts
linked to Russia.
The Justice Department's internal probe began in March at the request of
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and congressional Republicans. Sessions and the
lawmakers urged Inspector General Michael Horowitz to review whether FBI and
Justice Department officials abused their surveillance powers by using
information compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, and paid for
by Democrats to justify monitoring Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to
Horowitz said his office will look at those claims as well as communications
between Steele and Justice and FBI officials.