MAJOR: Lawmakers, Intel Community To Hold Classified Briefing On Russian Investigation

Lawmakers in Washington will soon know all the facts of the Russian investigation as members of the intelligence community are planning a classified briefing later on Thursday.

The meeting is expected to serve as a critical meeting point between legislators who are looking to get more involved with the investigation and members of the intelligence community who have been ridiculed for their handling (and mishandling) of the investigation.

Per Associated Press:

House and Senate lawmakers from both parties are set to meet with top intelligence officials Thursday as President Donald Trump raises new suspicions about the federal investigation into his 2016 campaign.

Trump is calling his newest attempt at discrediting special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation “spygate.” In recent days, he has been zeroing in on — and at times embellishing — reports that a longtime U.S. government informant approached members of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election.

Besides sharing information, this meeting could go a long way in restoring trust in the intelligence community which has been criticized by congressional members and President Trump.

Trump has often repeated that he believes the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” and recently commented that the FBI scandal, or “spygate could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”

Here’s more from Trump:

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Associated Press has even more:

Trump’s latest broadsides set the stage for the unusual decision by the White House to arrange a briefing Thursday about classified documents for just two Republican House members, both Trump allies, as Trump and his supporters in Congress pressed for information on the outside informant.

After Democratic complaints and negotiations that went into the late evening Wednesday, the Justice Department said it would host a second classified briefing the same day and invite the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” — a group that includes the top Republicans and Democrats in each chamber and the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

According to the report, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will attend the meeting, though they were initially left off of the attendee list.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight and House Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats were also invited to attend.

In a second briefing held by the intelligence officials, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will reportedly attend.

And, per the report:

Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter, had originally requested the information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation. And Trump took up the cause as the White House tried to combat the threat posed by Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and possible obstruction of justice.

The back and forth between Congress and the Justice Department over the Nunes request — one of many over the course of the Russia investigation — has simmered for weeks.

The department originally rejected Nunes’ appeal, writing in a letter in late April that his request for information “regarding a specific individual” could have severe consequences, including potential loss of human life. Negotiations over the information stalled, but restarted when Trump demanded in a tweet Sunday that the Justice Department investigate “whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.”

The Justice Department agreed by expanding an open, internal investigation to determine whether there was any politically motivated surveillance. And the White House said Kelly would organize the meeting with House lawmakers to discuss the documents.

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