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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348496

Reported Deaths: 7556
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24427446
DeSoto23439283
Harrison21066330
Rankin15704292
Jackson15597252
Madison11114227
Lee10855179
Jones9181169
Forrest8960160
Lauderdale8008244
Lamar719489
Lowndes7167151
Lafayette6604125
Washington5629140
Pearl River5336153
Oktibbeha500998
Bolivar4989134
Warren4803128
Panola4801112
Marshall4725106
Pontotoc451473
Hancock438088
Union437179
Monroe4361137
Neshoba4351181
Lincoln4212116
Pike3711113
Leflore3668125
Tate354688
Alcorn353974
Sunflower350794
Adams345388
Scott344676
Yazoo342476
Copiah329868
Simpson325191
Itawamba316780
Coahoma314985
Tippah312568
Prentiss301863
Covington300184
Marion288681
Leake287875
Wayne280043
George276751
Grenada271388
Newton265964
Tishomingo240370
Winston237884
Stone234138
Jasper233148
Attala228173
Chickasaw220860
Holmes202274
Clay201154
Clarke188180
Tallahatchie185442
Calhoun183032
Smith182635
Yalobusha173141
Walthall149049
Lawrence145226
Greene141835
Amite138643
Noxubee136735
Perry135638
Montgomery133744
Carroll126831
Webster122632
Jefferson Davis118734
Tunica115827
Benton107225
Claiborne105731
Kemper103529
Humphreys101733
Franklin88324
Quitman85619
Choctaw82819
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson71928
Sharkey51818
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 589110

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson856031591
Mobile49268864
Madison37603533
Shelby27362257
Tuscaloosa27208465
Montgomery26252627
Baldwin25567329
Lee17260181
Calhoun15429334
Morgan15199291
Etowah14981370
Marshall13136235
Houston12112293
Elmore10946219
St. Clair10793252
Limestone10750158
Cullman10566205
Lauderdale10266254
DeKalb9517192
Talladega8972188
Walker7817288
Autauga7585114
Jackson7406117
Blount7382139
Colbert6721142
Coffee6382132
Dale5673117
Russell481343
Chilton4785117
Covington4763125
Franklin459081
Tallapoosa4525156
Escambia443883
Chambers3968125
Dallas3749163
Clarke371663
Marion3465107
Pike333079
Lawrence3267100
Winston299373
Bibb290965
Geneva285983
Marengo262767
Barbour252061
Pickens245762
Butler241472
Hale235978
Fayette227265
Henry214845
Monroe203041
Randolph201944
Cherokee199548
Washington185239
Macon170752
Crenshaw169458
Clay166559
Cleburne161545
Lamar151238
Lowndes145855
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa118429
Perry110828
Sumter110433
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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