DOJ offers new briefing as lawmakers dispute Trump spy claim

Ryan 'Obviously' Trump shouldn't pardon himself

Greg Nash

Joe Scarborough praised House Speaker Paul Ryan Thursday morning for showing a "sign of life" by pushing back on President Donald Trump's claim that he can pardon himself. In a joint statement, the four Democrats who attended said "there is no evidence to support any allegation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any intelligence agency placed a "spy" in the Trump Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols". He demanded a Justice Department inquiry of the matter and dubbed the matter "SPYGATE" in repeated posts on Twitter.

Ryan's comments align him with the House Intelligence Committee Republican report on the Russian Federation investigation, in which the GOP lawmakers said they uncovered no evidence of collusion between Trump's team and Russian Federation, just some bad judgment.

That did not stop the President's supporters from subsequently going after Gowdy, a fact which clearly rankled Ryan who has largely avoided contradicting Trump since clashes early on in his presidency.

Ryan told reporters he's seen "seen no evidence to the contrary" of Gowdy's assessment that no such spy was planted. The full Gang of Eight - which includes the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence committees - received the same briefing later the same afternoon.

The Justice Department official said the new briefing would happen Monday or Tuesday, depending on members' schedules, and that DOJ is prepared to "brief members on certain questions specifically raised by Ryan and other members".

Scott Pruitt's abuses of power, ranked
The EPA justified round-the-clock security by saying Pruitt "has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him". Multiple senior White House officials told ABC News that the president will continue to back the EPA chief.

Even after Gowdy said there's nothing to Trump's allegations, the White House has sought to keep the waters muddy. Gowdy is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Gowdy, from SC, and the House Oversight Committee chairman, said last month's briefing persuaded him the FBI's actions were appropriate. Ryan and Gowdy attended the first briefing with Nunes and Schiff.

"That will not change", Giuliani said of his insistence on seeing the documents.

He added: "We want to see the documents - this matters far more to my client than to any member of Congress".

The FBI was looking into Russian interference in the U.S. election and that line of inquiry led them to Trump, he said.

"I have no disagreement with the description Trey Gowdy gave", Burr said. That's according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I don't know the last time they practiced criminal law.

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