GOP senators want invite to Justice Department meeting on classified information

Three senators on the Judiciary Committee are trying to get an invite to Thursday's meeting with House Intelligence C...

Posted: May 23, 2018 5:50 PM
Updated: May 23, 2018 5:50 PM

Three senators on the Judiciary Committee are trying to get an invite to Thursday's meeting with House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy about documents related to a classified intelligence source and the Russia investigation.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn sent a letter Tuesday to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking to also attend a meeting to receive the same information as their House counterparts.

"On Sunday, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein stated, 'If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.' We agree," the senators wrote. "We write to express our interest in attending such a meeting and in support of providing Congress with documents necessary to conduct oversight of these issues."

Kelly arranged the Thursday meeting for Nunes and Gowdy with FBI Director Chris Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O'Callaghan, in an effort to end the standoff between the Republican lawmakers and the Justice Department.

Nunes issued a subpoena for documents related to the confidential source, but the Justice Department has said that revealing the information could put lives at risk.

The news about a confidential source speaking with members of President Donald Trump's team during the campaign, however, has fueled accusations from Trump and others that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign, although US officials have told CNN the confidential source was not planted inside the campaign to provide information.

On Wednesday, Grassley said he would go to the meeting if he was invited.

"If I'm invited, I'll go, and if I don't, I'll be satisfied that the information ... ought to be made public," Grassley said. "What they need to know and what can be made public ought to be made public, but obviously we're not going to make public anything that violates national security."

The upcoming meeting has been a source of tension on Capitol Hill after Democrats, such as House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff of California, were not invited to join their Republican counterparts at Thursday's meeting.

"It's inconceivable that the White House could expect that they can brief only Republicans on anything related to the Russia investigation. That can't happen," Schiff told CNN.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he and Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, previously declined a similar briefing for information about the confidential source. Warner argued that the disclosure of such classified information to Congress should be restricted to the "Gang of Eight" - the chairmen and top Democrats on the two Intelligence Committees and the four House and Senate party leaders.

"If this kind of discussion is going to take place, we have a process - it's called the Gang of Eight," Warner said Wednesday. "My hope is that any such briefing needs to bipartisan, and my hope and prayer is that the FBI or the Department of Justice would not in any way be forced to reveal confidential information that would go against 75 years of practice."

Burr has declined comment on the confidential source and the upcoming meeting with House Republicans.

Asked Wednesday why he wanted to be briefed on the confidential source documents when Burr had declined, Cornyn said: "Oversight."

Both Grassley, on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Nunes, on the House Intelligence Committee, have pursued investigations that have been critical of the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia written by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. They have also focused on the start of the Trump-Russia investigation in July 2016, including the latest request for documents on the confidential intelligence source.

But Grassley does not have the same subpoena power as Nunes, as the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of top Democrat on the panel, Dianne Feinstein of California, to issue subpoenas.

That hasn't necessarily stopped Grassley from getting the same information, however. In a separate letter sent to Rosenstein on Monday, Grassley reminded Rosenstein that he had "personally assured me that the Senate Judiciary Committee would receive access to the same information provided to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 147382

Reported Deaths: 3763
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
Covington119737
Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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