GOP lawmakers get access to classified information regarding Russia probe
WASHINGTON (SBG) - The White House announced Tuesday that Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, will get to see classified information related to the Russia probe in a meeting scheduled for Thursday.
Also in attendance: FBI Director Chris Wray, DNI Director Dan Coats, and DOJ Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O'Callaghan.
This meeting comes after President Donald Trump asked the Justice Department to investigate a possible FBI informant speaking with members of his 2016 presidential campaign.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee say it’s a step in the right direction.
“We want to see the documents. They’ve offered in the past to say we’ll brief you on them -- that’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a House Intelligence Committee member.
Stewart added he believes lawmakers should be a check on law enforcement.
“Do we want to create a DOJ or FBI and give them unfettered power and tell them go surveil, go listen to people’s phone calls, go plant spies into people’s campaigns and then not have any way of holding them accountable?” he asked in an interview Tuesday.
Democrats on the Intelligence Committee have a different take.
“It has always been true in this country that law enforcement has been unwilling to share information around an investigation with anybody. This is clearly being asked for, for a political purpose to defend the president,” said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., in an interview Tuesday.
Himes added he is concerned information will be leaked and more people’s identity made public.
“Today all over the world, CIA, FBI are trying to recruit sources and now those sources are thinking to themselves, my identity won’t be secure,” he said.
And in yet another development, House Republicans are now calling for a second special counsel to look into what they call misconduct at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
They want someone to investigate the investigators over alleged FISA abuses, potential classified information on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and other alleged abuses including and the alleged FBI informant.
“If the FBI and DOJ knowingly got involved in terms of surveiling a presidential campaign and the previous administration knew that that is fundamentally wrong,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
Critics say this is politics at play.
"This cannot be a conduit to supply investigatory materials to the Trump legal defense team. That would be a terrible abuse of power," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.