Republicans, no Democrats, invited to see
documents on U.S. election probe
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[May 23, 2018]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Republican
lawmakers, and no Democrats, are expected to attend a meeting scheduled
for Thursday to review classified information relating to U.S. President
Donald Trump's suggestion the FBI might have used an informant to gather
information on his 2016 election campaign, the White House said on
Trump's closest conservative allies in Congress have been clamoring for
access to the classified documents. The lawmakers have accused the FBI
and Department of Justice of political bias against Trump in favor of
Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his
successful presidential campaign.
The meeting attendees will be Representatives Devin Nunes, chairman of
the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, and Trey Gowdy,
chairman of the House Oversight Committee, White House spokesman Sarah
Sanders told the daily news briefing.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan
Coats and Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed
O'Callaghan are also expected to attend, she said.
Earlier on Tuesday, a group of Republican lawmakers called for the
appointment of a second special counsel to investigate the probe into
Trump's campaign, Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, as Trump ramped up
his own criticism of the Department of Justice.
At least 18 Republican lawmakers signed onto a resolution calling on
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to
investigate the department and the FBI, accusing them of misconduct as
Trump campaigned two years ago against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined comment.
Conservatives have been criticizing the department, the FBI and Special
Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the election
for months. Their rhetoric intensified after Trump suggested on Friday
that the FBI might have planted or recruited an informant in his
presidential campaign for political purposes.
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks at
the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National
Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Moscow denies election meddling and Trump denies any collusion
between Russian officials and his campaign, calling investigations a
political witch hunt.
On Monday, the Justice Department agreed to investigate "any
irregularities" in FBI tactics related to Trump's campaign. The
agreement was made during a meeting between Trump, U.S. Deputy
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Wray.
"It is time for transparency and it is time to allow the American
people to know the truth," Representative Mark Meadows, the
Republican who leads the conservative Freedom Caucus, told a news
conference announcing the resolution.
Representative Lee Zeldin, who led the push for the resolution,
said it would be introduced later on Tuesday.
Zeldin, Meadows and about a dozen other Republicans in the House of
Representatives insisted at a news conference announcing the
resolution that Trump had not requested a new counsel.
They also called for access, for Democrats as well as Republicans,
to all documents related to the case.
There was no immediate response from House leadership aides on
whether the measure might come up for a vote. House Speaker Paul
Ryan has said repeatedly, however, that he believed Mueller should
be allowed to continue his work.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Doina
Chiacu and Eric Walsh; editing by Grant McCool)
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