Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

"Spygate" Has Comey and Clapper in the Cross-hairs

Democratic lawmakers said on Thursday they heard nothing in classified briefings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence officials to support President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated allegation that the agency placed a "spy" into his 2016 presidential campaign to help his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Without mentioning the president's name, Rosenstein proceeded with a couple of pointed remarks, seemingly aimed at Trump's criticism of his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's connections to the Trump campaign.

Trying to placate Trump and keep his job, Rosenstein turned the FBI's handling of the Russian Federation investigation over to an inspector general to probe.

The White House acknowledged that chief of staff John Kelly and a top lawyer for President Trump in the Russian Federation matter had been present for two secret briefings about the investigation on Thursday but hadn't stayed for the substance.

He said that Comey is "corrupt" and that the Yonkers, N.Y. native "can't keep his big mouth shut".

SANDERS: That's something that you would have to ask the Department of Justice. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in USA history. Trump told one ally this week that he wanted "to brand" the informant a "spy", believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public.

"That is kind of in my mind, and maybe I'm a traditionalist, violates a norm and standard of behavior that's always been abided by previous presidents and to me that's bothersome and I think another sign of some erosion of our institutions and our norms and standards", Clapper said. If they don't get them, Republicans can pursue contempt of Congress charges or initiate impeachment proceedings against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or FBI Director Christopher Wray.

"I don't have a great answer for them", Comey said of social media companies including Facebook and Twitter, which were major venues for what US intelligence agencies have said was a Russian-sponsored effort to help President Donald Trump win the 2016 USA election.

Mr. Trump has fired off multiple tweets about the FBI's use of an informant, which he has dubbed "SPYGATE".

If Giuliani files any complaints, they would presumably fall on the desk of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller previous year following Comey's ousting.

And in the Trump State, the idea that there are rules or institutions that stand outside the president-and heaven forbid might even hold him accountable-is unconscionable.

Regardless of the reasons for placing the informant, Meadows says, spying on any political campaign violates some ethical standards.

A congressional aide said conservative allies of the President - including Meadows and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, both of whom appealed to Trump directly last week for help in Republicans' quest for documents - remain concerned that they won't ultimately get their hands on documents they sought Trump's help to obtain, citing fears that the summit this week will not involve an actual review of the records. Some also questioned whether the presence of Flood and Kelly violated Justice Department policy meant to limit contacts with the White House to specific circumstances. "He should know what is discussed", said Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. Chairman Nunes has requested all documents related to this intelligence source.

So far, 19 people, including Trump's former campaign chairman and former national security adviser, have been charged in Mueller's investigation.

Trump has long argued that both the FBI and Mueller's investigations into Russian meddling and possible collusion with his campaign in the 2016 election are "phony", a "witch hunt" "and a "hoax".

The White House had initially said that the Democrats had not formally requested to take part in the briefing, despite calls from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for the meeting to be bipartisan.

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