- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Department of Justice will again meet with top lawmakers on Thursday to review documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and claims U.S. Intelligence spied on President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

A Justice Department official said the latest gathering was at the request of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, and will answer questions raised during last months meetings.

On May 24, officials from the Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided two briefings to lawmakers. The first meeting, at the Justice Department, including top Republicans in the House and Senate and Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the lone Democrat. A second briefing that day at Capitol Hill, included the so-called Gang of Eight, a select group of House and Senate members who have access to sensitive classified information.

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The scope of the documents reviewed and what was revealed about the alleged confidential source in the Trump campaign is not known. But documents reviewed during the May 24 meetings will be reviewed again, according to a letter Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent Mr. Nunes on Tuesday afternoon.

The May 24 meetings were held after Mr. Trump ramped up calls for the Justice Department to investigate the FBI’s use of a confidential information was part of a conspiracy against him. Democrats have dismissed the president’s claims as an effort to undermine Mr. Mueller’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

After the meeting, lawmakers from both sides remained unconvinced the Justice Department did place a spy in the Trump campaign.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, who attended last month’s briefings, said afterward the FBI was doing its duty.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got,” Mr. Gowdy told Fox News. “And that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said Mr. Gowdy’s “initial assessment is accurate” and he has seen “no evidence to the contrary” of what his Republican colleague said. But Mr. Ryan did say there were more documents to review.

Democrats were harsher, countering that Mr. Trump’s claims were nothing but empty allegations.

“Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a ‘spy’ in the Trump campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff in a joint statement immediately after the May 24 briefing.

Prior to last month’s meetings, Mr. Trump had taken to Twitter to blast the FBI for the spying allegations, calling it “one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history.” The president also tweeted the FBI had been caught in “a major SPY scandal” and claimed former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had admitted spying on his campaign.

Mr. Trump’s allegations came after it was revealed that Stefan Halper, a 73-year-old professor emeritus of Cambridge University set up meetings in the summer and fall of 2016 to discuss foreign policy with Trump campaign aides Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.

All of those campaign aides have been linked to Mr. Mueller’s Russia collusion probe. Mr. Halper appeared to be working as an FBI informant as part of earlier bureau probe into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

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